How a Heart-Healthy Diet Supports Better Hearing

How a Heart-Healthy Diet Supports Better Hearing

In Health, hearing health, Lifestyle, Research by Laurie Duffy, M.S.

Food can bring people together and give you a chance to explore culinary craft and creativity, but beyond the social aspects, food is the fuel that keeps us living. The nutrients in food supports all aspects of our health, affecting skin, teeth, healthy heart, energy levels, and mood. A lesser-known fact is that eating health can also support your hearing. In fact, a recent study shows that a healthy diet supports better hearing. Let’s explore the study and examine the best foods you can eat to encourage healthy hearing!

The Link Between Diet and Your Ears

So what is a healthy diet anyhow?! The World Health Organization reports that “Unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are leading global risks to health.” However, they report that People with diets rich in vegetables and fruit have a significantly lower risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer.” However, not that many people think of a healthy diet can also enjoy improved hearing health. To explore the connection between hearing and diet, researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts examined data in over 3,000 women to take note of what their typical diet consisted of and cross-referenced that with hearing exams. They tested all the patients hearing at the start of the study and then retested all patients hearing after three years, along with a report of their general diet.

The results of the is 2019 study showed that eating a heart-healthy diet supports better hearing. WHO describes a heart healthy diet as including “Fruit, vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils and beans), nuts and whole grains (e.g. unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice)? At least 400 g (i.e. five portions) of fruit and vegetables per day (2), excluding potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and other starchy roots.” In addition, they note that it’s important to avoid processed sugars and foods with excessive levels of salt. The study was able to identify that the women who ate a healthy diet were 25% less likely to develop a hearing loss! 

How Does Food Affect Your Hearing?

A diet which supports your heart is one that is also supportive for your hearing. This is because our ears rely on a healthy supply of blood to the cells which transmit sound to the brain. 

A healthy pumping heart can deliver oxygenated blood throughout the body, including the ear. When this process gets interrupted due to high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes or heart attack or a carotid artery the who body suffers, including the ears.

What Should You Be Eating?

The study identified two diets which prioritized healthy hearing support. Both diets encouraged high levels of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and lean protein, while avoiding processed sugars and foods. The three diets the study was based on included:

  • AMED (alternate Mediterranean diet): A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish, this diet was based off food eaten by people who live near the Mediterranean Sea and the food available there. Other recommended foods in this diet include nuts, whole grains, and legumes are all encouraged, and the diet includes olive oil and fish.
  • DASH (the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension): This diet is designed to combat high blood pressure and promotes fruits and vegetables, along with low-fat dairy and lean meat while limiting intake of salt, sugar, and fat.
  • AHEI-2010 (the 2010 Alternative Healthy Eating Index): Like DASH, this diet encourages eating lots of vegetables and fruits, and emphasizes avoiding sugar, sodium, and animal fat. 

Vitamins and Minerals

The amazing thing about fruits and vegetables is that they not only taste amazing, but they absorb minerals and vitamins from the soil they grown in and transfer the benefits to you. Similarly, when we ingest animals, we also absorb the nutrients they had eaten. Here are just a few minerals and vitamins common in foods you love that can help support hearing health. This includes:

  • Magnesium not only supports heart health and helps regulate blood pressure but is known to fight free radicals which can damage your hearing when exposed to loud noise. Foods rich in magnesium include dark chocolate, nuts and seeds, 
  • Potassium supports healthy cells throughout the body by regulating the amount of fluid in them. You’ll find potassium in spinach, tomatoes, a wide array of fruits and diary.
  • Folic acid reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke by promoting better circulation throughout the body, including the ears. You’ll find folic acid in asparagus, beans, lentils, and organ meats.

Do You Have Hearing Loss?

If you suspect you have a hearing loss, don’t hesitate to schedule a hearing exam today!