What was the last meal you truly enjoyed, one that left you feeling satisfied and full of energy, like you’d be eager to take a walk or engage in another activity? More often than not, this kind of meal is one comprised of elements found in to diets: DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the Mediterranean Diet. These two styles of eating have been linked with a wide range of positive health behaviors ranging from disease prevention and longevity to mental health and an overall feeling of well being. New research suggests that there may be one more important effect to add to the list: preventing hearing loss! Though the connection is not yet clearly understood, an exploratory study demonstrated lower rates of hearing loss over the course of only three years for those who had a diet that mirrored the DASH and Mediterranean Diets. Let’s take a closer look at what the study tells us, as well as the ways you can pursue a healthy form of nutrition that might preserve your hearing.
Correlating Hearing Loss and Healthy Diets
The study, conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, took a look at the eating behaviors of women who tended to be in their 50s and early 60s (the average age of the participant was 59 years of age). These women checked in at 19 different testing centers throughout the United States and had a baseline of hearing ability established. Three years later, these women returned to the testing site to have another hearing test. First, the research established a remarkable rate of hearing loss for the entire group. Nearly half of women had some hearing loss in the high range of hearing, and 38% had some loss in the crucial range of hearing that includes human speech. However, the correlation with health diets was even more surprising. Although they did have some hearing loss, those women whose diets over the last 20 years looked more like the DASH and Mediterranean diets demonstrated 25% less risk in the high range and 30% less risk in the mid range. Although this study revealed a striking exploratory result, more needs to be known about the connection. First, researchers do not have a clear picture of the mechanism that connects hearing loss to healthy eating. Further, the research group emphasized white women of a particular age range. Future research can widen that range to include more types of people, possibly holding the clues to how this relationship really works.
DASH and Mediterranean Diets
With such surprising results, you may want to start now with incorporating healthier foods into your diet, but how exactly can you pursue a DASH or Mediterranean Diet? Both of these diets emphasize whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Both of these diets suggest that red meats and sugary desserts are limited. They differ slightly on the use of fats; the DASH diet requires an overall low level of total fats as well as limiting saturated fats, while the Mediterranean Diet includes ample use of olive oil. The Mediterranean Diet also suggests eating seafood about twice a week. For many people, these diets are quite appealing, and you will be pleased to see how many delicious meals you can make with these constraints. These foods leave you feeling energized and ready to take on the next activity in life, as opposed to some other foods that will bog you down, preferring to take a nap. If you think the DASH or Mediterranean Diet is something you would like to pursue, mention the possibility to your doctor at your next regularly scheduled checkup. You can get some help with the specifics of the diet, as well as nutritional needs suited to your own body and lifestyle.
Neighborhood Hearing Aid Center
With a healthy diet of this kind, you will find many positive effects, and preventing hearing loss may be among them! In addition to your checkup with a general practitioner, now is the time to get a hearing test. Even if you don’t think you have a hearing loss yet, you will want to set the baseline for future tests.