Nancy Dell: Foods to protect hearing

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1. Is hearing loss just part of aging or can diet help protect our hearing? 
Barbara, Hadley

25% of people over age 60 have trouble hearing and the numbers rise to 66% for people in their 70s. However, hearing loss is not an inevitable part of aging. You may protect your ears with diet.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins found people who eat fish 2 to 4 times a week cut their risk of having hearing loss by 20%. The omega-3 fats in fish can improve the blood flow to the cochlea in the ear and protect cell membranes from damage. The beta-carotene in fruits and vegetables may also protect the ear from damage. Good sources are dark leafy greens and orange colored produce like carrots and orange peppers.

Johns Hopkins also found that too much of a nutrient can be a problem. Women who took a supplement of 1000 milligrams or more of Vitamin C a day had a 22 percent greater risk of hearing loss. So until we know more, protect your hearing by eating fish twice a week and filling half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables.

Another way to protect you hearing is to, obviously, avoid loud noises!However, in addition experts say don’t smoke, exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day, control your blood sugar, and maintain a healthy weight.