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