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Hearing loss is a common issue as you get older. It’s important to take care of your hearing by avoiding prolonged exposure to loud noises and getting a regular checkup from an audiologist.

But what many people don’t realize that nutrition plays a big part in preventing hearing loss as you age. Eating healthy offers many benefits for all the systems of your body, but there are some specific ways that certain nutrients keep your hearing in good shape.

Antioxidants Prevent Damage

Free radicals are unstable atoms that damage cells. They cannot be avoided, but you can mitigate the damage that they inflict on your body. Antioxidants combat the presence of free radicals which prevents ototoxicity and damage to the inner ear.

Antioxidants are found in dark leafy greens, blueberries, beans and lentils, as well as many other foods that you probably already enjoy.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fat may have gotten a bad name, but the omega-3s found in fatty fish, eggs, and milk are very good for your hearing. Just two servings a week can reduce the risk of age-related hearing loss in people over the age of 50. Omega-3s fight inflammation and boost the way your ears and brain get signals from each other.

Vitamins Which Benefit Your Hearing

Most people know they should eat carrots to get vitamin A for their eyes. One study found that adults over 50 who supplemented their diet with vitamin A reduced their risk of hearing loss. Another source of vitamin A is sweet potatoes, so eat those orange vegetables because they taste great and they’re healthy.

Zinc, which helps heal wounds and prevent colds, also may be effective in treating tinnitus. Zinc can be found in almonds, lentils, dark chocolate, and dark-meat chicken.

Vitamin Deficiencies

Sometimes, it wasn’t what you eat, but what you don’t. When you don’t get enough B12 and folic acid, it can impair your hearing. Good sources of B12 are clams, liver, mackerel, and eggs, but older adults may not have the ability to absorb B12 from natural foods. You may want a supplement. Folic acid is found in dark leafy greens, asparagus, lentils, and citrus fruit.

A lack of magnesium causes the blood vessels in the inner ear to shrink, which deprives it of oxygen and contributes to hearing loss. You can find magnesium in foods like spinach, bananas, and potatoes. Mom was right when she told you to eat your fruits and vegetables.

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