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Could Eating Right Prevent Age-Related Hearing Loss?

The ravages of old age are well known: Bones become fragile, eyesight becomes cloudy, and hearing becomes muffled. Except…what if it didn’t have to be? It has long been known that calcium, vitamin D, and exercise can help keep bones strong. And now, new research suggests that at least some age-related hearing lost (ARHL) could be caused by low levels of a dietary nutrient called folic acid, sometimes called folate.

According to an article in ScienceDaily, 28 million Americans between ages 60 and 74 have at least some ARHL. In a study published in the December  2010 issue of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, scientists discovered that otherwise healthy older people who had low levels of folic acid also had a loss in their ability to hear high-frequency sounds.

It had previously been thought that ARHL was a matter of the ears “wearing out,” the way an old pair of shoes will eventually give out. This discovery is so exciting because it means that there is the possibility that at least some of the most-feared physical problems of old age could be prevented if we eat a healthy diet.

Getting enough folic acid in your diet is pretty easy — as long as you eat generally healthy foods. Some of the best sources of folic acid include:

  • Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, collard greens, kale, chard, and asparagus
  • Other green vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • Legumes, such as lentils, black beans, kidney beans, and peas
  • Fruits that are orange in color, such as oranges, cantaloupe, and pineapple
  • Fortified foods (look on the food label): breakfast cereals, orange juice, pasta, and bread

It’s never too late to start taking care of yourself, to eat right, exercise often, get enough sleep, and try (try) to reduce stress. Even if it seems difficult today, your body will thank you tomorrow!

To read the full article on ScienceDaily, click here: Age-Related Hearing Loss and Folate in the Elderly

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