Picture of food in the shape of a heartWhen it comes to protecting your hearing through a better diet, it’s all about the minerals. Eating foods that keep the ears functioning properly can help reduce your risk of developing hearing loss.

Potassium

Potassium helps regulate the fluid that is so critical to the functioning of your inner ear. As we age, these fluid levels tend to drop naturally, so eating foods that are high in potassium can help combat this natural phenomenon. Some healthy foods that are high in potassium include:

  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Bananas
  • Tomatoes
  • Lima Beans
  • Raisins
  • Melons
  • Yogurt

Folic Acid

Folic acid aids the body in generating new cell growth, and it also helps increase circulation. This helps maintain the health of the hair cells, or cilia, in the inner ear. These hair cells help carry sound, and once you lose them, they never grow back. The following foods have high levels of folic acid to help protect those vital hair cells:

  • Fortified Breakfast Cereal
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Liver
  • Asparagus

Magnesium

Magnesium, in conjunction with other minerals such as A, C, and E, has been shown to help protect the ears against high noise levels that cause damage to the inner ear. While further research is needed, scientists suspect that the magnesium helps form a barrier to protect the inner ear’s sensitive hair cells. On the other hand, a lack of magnesium is linked to a shrinking of the blood vessels in the inner ear, which can lower oxygen levels and cause damage. These foods are high in the magnesium you need to protect your hearing:

  • Bananas
  • Artichokes
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli

Zinc

Zinc helps the body’s immune system, and it can also contribute to cell growth that can help the ears. Before you increase your intake of zinc, be sure to check with your doctor to make sure that it won’t interact with your medications. Zinc in supplements can make some people feel nauseous, so it’s best to eat foods like these that are naturally high in zinc:

  • Beef, Pork, and Dark-meat Chicken
  • Cashews, Almonds, Peanuts
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Beans
  • Oysters
  • Lentils
  • Split Peas

Omega 3 Fats

According to research, intake of Omega 3 fats can help reduce blood pressure. This, in turn, can help your hearing because having a healthy blood pressure helps protect the cochleae in your ears and reduces your chances of age-related hearing loss. While more research is needed, there is some evidence that Omega 3 fats also help with brain function, which in turn can help keep the signals between the brain and ear flowing freely. Foods that are naturally high in Omega 3 fats include:

  • Flaxseed Oil
  • Krill Oil
  • Salmon
  • Soybean Oil
  • Sardines

It’s important to do everything you can to protect your hearing. It becomes a little easier when you fill your plate with delicious foods that contain the minerals that work with your body to protect the sensitive inner workings of your ears.