Healthy hearing this Halloween
Halloween is just around the corner and the candy is already out in full force. Ahem — has been out in full force. For weeks. Since October 1 hit it’s been nearly impossible to avoid the orange and black and purple colored candies looming near the front of the grocery stores (and aren’t the big box stores the worst offenders?!), luring you in with their BOGO deals.
We all fall for it. The sugar rush feels good. The sweet caramel of the miniature Snickers. The tangy chew of the single Starburst. The cloying sweetness of candy corn. And the most basic beloved Hershey’s milk chocolate bar — sweet, satisfying, perfect.
Halloween candy is the stinking best and that’s that.
Unfortunately, it’s not the best food for our hearing (as though that should come to a shock to anyone).
The American Diabetes Association cited a recent study stating that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes — the disease in which the body cannot produce any or enough insulin, making it difficult to digest sugar — as it is in those who don’t have the disease Also, of the 86 million adults in the U.S. who have prediabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30 percent higher than in those with normal blood glucose.
The ADA admits that researchers aren’t sure what the relation between diabetes and hearing loss is. “It’s possible that the high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes can cause damage to small blood vessels in the inner ear, similar to the way in which diabetes can damage the eyes and the kidneys.”
Will that one Hershey’s bar or single Snickers or small handful lead to hearing loss? Chances are slim, but it is good to keep in mind there are plenty of good-for-you and good-for-your-ears nutrients found in foods almost as good as candy.
While research has yet to prove a cut-and-dry, definitive menu to prevent hearing loss, researchers have determined specific, key nutrients found in every day whole foods that help strengthen systemic components that enable us to pick up and process sound.
Vitamin B-12 — abundant in dairy products — and folic acid, rich in leafy green vegetables, for example, can protect hearing by as much as 20 percent, according to some studies. Without ample levels of these two nutrients, individuals have a 39 percent increased risk of developing some degree of hearing loss.
In another study, omega-3 fats — found in tofu, brussells sprouts and cauliflower — and vitamin D — high in fish and egg yolks — were both found to be helpful in the fight against hearing loss.
Magnesium — found in bananas, artichokes and broccoli — and zinc — abundant in chocolate (There you go! Your candy awaits…) and oysters — are additional nutrients well known to help prevent hearing loss.
In addition, antioxidants may also play a role in determining the development of hearing loss.
As a checklist, a healthy hearing diet should contain:
- More Omega 3 fat found in fish, nuts and seeds
- Less Omega 6 fat found in vegetable oil, corn oil and margarine
- More fruits and vegetables like kale, bell peppers, blueberries and bananas
- Less protein (2-3 ounces per meal)
- More whole grains
- Less flour-based pasta and bread
Of course, if a little (we mean it, just a little!) candy gets in your diet, who's to notice?
Happy Halloween from everyone at Healthy Hearing.