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The Nutrients Behind Healthy Hearing

The Nutrients Behind Healthy Hearing

As we learn more about how nutrition affects health, many folks are taking a functional medicine approach to fine-tuning their diets — eating the right foods to prevent certain conditions. You’ve no doubt heard of heart-healthy foods as well as special diets to manage or prevent diabetes, but did you know that you can also eat for healthy ears? Read on to find out more!

The Nutrients Behind Healthy Hearing

Eating a balanced diet comprised of whole foods is always a good idea and promotes total body health, but certain nutrients are associated with healthy ears, including magnesium, potassium, zinc, folate, B12, and vitamins C, E, and A. Of these, two deserve special recognition for their overall link to hearing health and the fact that a majority of people don’t get enough of them.

Magnesium

This mineral is abundant throughout the body and assists in almost every cellular process. It is particularly important to nerve function, which is good news for your hearing. Hair cells of the inner ear communicate directly with the auditory nerve, sending signals to the brain after a sound wave passes through the eardrum. Keeping these cells healthy and strong offers protection against noise-induced hearing loss. Additionally, magnesium deficiency often causes high blood pressure, anxiety, heart disease, and depression, which are all conditions associated with hearing loss.

Potassium

Like magnesium, potassium is involved in hundreds of cellular processes throughout the body, including nerve function, but it’s most known for regulating fluids. Because it creates positive ions when dissolved in water, potassium is considered an electrolyte. It works in tandem with sodium to ensure the right amount of fluid is moving in and out of cells. If an imbalance occurs, the endolymph in the cochlea may be disrupted, leading to hair cell damage. Boosting potassium is a contraindication only for individuals with kidney disease. It is widely recommended that almost everyone else increase their intake of potassium.

Chocolate Almond Avocado Pudding

Fortunately, some of the tastiest foods in your kitchen are high in magnesium and potassium. For a healthy treat that tastes much more decadent than it is, consider whipping up a batch of this chocolate almond pudding from the mother-daughter duo over at Simply So Healthy. All you need is a blender and the following ingredients:

  • 1.5 c. almond milk
  • 0.5 c. coconut cream
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated Stevia or monk fruit (feel free to substitute your favorite sweetener, but add it to taste, because the quantity needed may vary)
  • 1 medium avocado (6 oz.), peeled and pitted
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • unsweetened coconut flakes for garnish
  • sliced almonds for garnish

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into serving-sized cups, cover, and refrigerate for at least five hours before serving.
  3. Garnish with unsweetened coconut flakes and sliced almonds.
  4. Enjoy!

Each serving provides approximately 405 mg of potassium and 78 mg of magnesium. That’s about 12% and 20% of your daily values, respectively. To bump it up to 23% and 27%, add half a cup of sliced banana!

For more healthy-hearing tips or to schedule a hearing consultation, contact us today!

Illustration of holiday table full of treats

Diabetes and Your Hearing | Diabetes-Friendly Recipe

Diabetes and Your Hearing

Did you know hearing loss and diabetes have something surprising in common?

Sure, they’re both health issues affecting millions of people around the world: Hearing loss affects 466 million worldwide, and diabetes affects 422 million people worldwide, per the World Health Organization. But they have even more in common.

Hearing Loss Is Linked to Diabetes

Hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes. Even among adults with prediabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30 percent higher than those with normal blood-sugar levels. What’s the connection? Researchers are always fine-tuning their knowledge, but poor blood flow to the inner ear does play a role.

Diabetes-related hearing loss can affect one or both ears, may occur gradually or suddenly, and may or may not have related balance problems.

How You Can Fight Back

You don’t have to let diabetes get the best of your hearing — fight back by reducing your overall risk of hearing loss:

  • Keep up the good work managing your diabetes in collaboration with your medical doctor.
  • Avoid loud noise. Use hearing protection if that’s not possible. Excess noise is one of the most preventable causes of hearing loss.
  • Avoid using tobacco, which increases the risk of hearing loss.
  • Stay physically active, because excess weight affects your hearing.
  • Have your hearing evaluated by a licensed audiologist at least once a year — just like regular eye and teeth care — for early testing, detection, and treatment of any problems.

Eating a balanced, nutritious diet, which is crucial for managing diabetes, is also crucial for optimal ear functioning. During the autumn and winter, when we’re all a little more prone to snacking on sweets, is a prime time for this peanut butter and banana oat bite recipe from the American Diabetes Association.

Peanut Butter & Banana Oat Bites

Ingredients
1 egg
1 ripe banana (mashed)
1/2 cups peanut butter (heated in microwave for 30 seconds)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar blend
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup ground flax seed

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together wet ingredients and Splenda Brown Sugar blend.
  • In a small bowl mix together remaining dry ingredients.
  • Add dry mixture to wet mixture and mix well.
  • Scoop batter into 1 Tbsp. balls and place on baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • Cool on wire rack.

Head to the recipe page on their website for nutrition information. Plus, there are plenty of additions, substitutions, and raves below the recipe in their Reviews section!

Take control of your overall health and wellness with an annual hearing exam. Contact us to schedule your appointment today!