We all know the important role diet plays in good health. You are what you eat. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and live a healthy, well-balanced life. Eat junk and quality of life disappears faster than a bag of pork rinds. Diet and good health have been studied for years. However, recent findings associate diet with something new – your ability to hear.
Sounds like a street cry from the ‘60s but free radicals are serious business when it comes to good health. Free radicals are naturally produced by the body whenever the body or a body part are stressed. A nicked finger will stress the body (a little) and the body reacts by producing free radicals – corrosive little molecules that damage the body at the cell level.
Research shows that, as we age, our bodies produce more free radicals, linking these toxic little molecules to the aging process itself. Today, many researchers believe that free radicals, in fact, contribute to and even hasten the aging process. This can’t be good.
What The Research Shows
A study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison provides compelling results on the relationship between the amount of food we eat and our longevity – how long we live.
And it’s not about what you eat – it’s about how much you eat – your caloric intake.
"This study is the first direct proof [of] a mechanism underlying the anti-aging effects we observe under caloric restriction," said Tomas A. Prolla, a UW-Madison genetics professor and one of the study’s authors.
Here’s what researchers found. An enzyme called Sirt3 lessens the damaging impact free radicals have on the human body.
By eating less than our “normal” intake of calories the body produces increased levels of Sirt3 that combat free radical damage and, if we curb the harmful effects of free radicals, we may, indeed, slow down the process of aging.
Diet and Hearing
The hearing mechanism, located inside your ears, is a complex, delicate collection of the tympanic membrane (ear drum), the three smallest bones in the body, the cochlea and other sensitive body bits that enable people to hear the world around them. Nice.
However, free radicals, associated with aging, damage this delicate marvel of nature leading to age-related hearing loss. Most people, by the time they reach 60, experience at least some degree of hearing loss.
Now that researchers have isolated Sirt3 as a key defense against the impact free radicals have on hearing we all have some choices to make about just how much we eat and quality of life.
The equation is simple. Want to live 10 years longer? Consume 10% fewer calories daily. Now that may sound easy but eating is one of the joys of life and making that sacrifice everyday may get tired fast. On the other hand…
"If we can find drugs or nutritional interventions that activate Sirt3, we may be able to slow down the aging process in mammals," study author Tomas Prolla said.
We’re a long way off from developing that magic pill that’ll combat free radicals but this research demonstrates that eating less extends not only life, but quality of life, including your ability to hear. So, do you cut down on your food in-take? Not an easy thing to do, as most of us have already discovered.
However, you can substitute healthier foods for your fatty favorites to eliminate some of those empty calories consumed at the fast food place. Think about what you eat and consider the quality of life. Eat less and you’ll age more slowly according to the latest research.
Eat less and you’ll hear better longer.