Food affecting Tinnitus – Making Conditions better or worse

Choice of right diet plays a critical role in our health. It can mitigate the effect of tinnitus on the life of an individual. It is important to know how our eating habits affect our hearing and tinnitus. Decide what to eat according to your body’s requirement.

Making conditions worse

Salt – If it is consumed in a large amount, it leads to increased blood pressure by restricting blood vessels. Blood circulation near in and around our ear becomes poor, therefore creating a negative effect for tinnitus. Try to consume more natural food daily and avoid processed food as much as you can for low salt intake. High Sodium in our body accelerates the symptoms of tinnitus. With the increased intensity of tinnitus, the sound of blood flow and heartbeat can actually be heard.

Sugar – Glucose supply and oxygen in our bloodstream are responsible for the functioning of the brain, eyes, and ear. But the excess of sugar can badly affect this process and adversely affect an individual’s hearing ability. Metabolism of sugar highly affects the functioning of the auditory system is. If the sugar supply in the body is interrupted, there can be a malfunction or damage in the ear. When Diabetic people intake sugary food such as candy, chocolate etc., they tend to notice tinnitus more as compared to people with normal sugar level. 

Sulfite – It is a well-known food preservative which used for fruits and wine. It is present in bacon, red wine, chocolate, trail mix etc, also considered as an antibiotic. It can have an adverse effect on tinnitus as it intensifies tinnitus symptoms. As discontinuing all of them may not be possible, but you must try to do so for improvement in tinnitus.  

Fast Food – An individual has certain reasons to avoid fast food, such as high content of sugar, salt, trans fat, MSG in them. This may intensify tinnitus condition. So try to avoid processed food as much as you can and go for more natural meals in your daily life.

Caffeine – Just like salt does, it also restricts blood circulation and results in high blood pressure. Stress is an accelerator of tinnitus, and high caffeine consumption daily can trigger stress responses. As suggested by a study, caffeine exacerbates the tinnitus condition whereas there are also some people who believe it to be beneficial for treating tinnitus. If your coffee intake is very high, then moderation is required i.e you need to cut down your caffeine intake.

Saturated & Trans Fats – Saturated and trans fat directly affects blood flow while increasing cholesterol level which leads to atherosclerosis, which accelerates tinnitus symptoms. They decrease the blood circulation. It is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. These fats inhibit removal of toxins from the inner ear along with the delivery of oxygen and nutrients. Healthy blood circulation is required for healthy ears and proper functioning of the brain.  

MSG – Monosodium Glutamate also known as MSG is a flavor enhancer. This flavor enhancer happens to be an “excitatory neurotransmitter.” It will increase electrical activity levels in our brain as well as auditory cortex, where the tinnitus noise is perceived. MSG breaks down in our body as glutamate which has equally harmful effects as that of Aspartame and overexcites neurons until they die.

Alcohol- Many tinnitus patients have reported regarding the effects of alcohol consumption on their tinnitus condition. Alcoholic beverages possess high sugar level which leads to dehydration along with high blood pressure. All these conditions together make tinnitus more noticeable for an individual.   

Smoking – Though it’s technically not consumed as a food, still it is included in the list. If you do smoke, then this is the first change required for reduction of ringing in your ear and anything else you may or may not be suffering from. Cigarette smoke consists of Carbon Monoxide (CO) and nicotine, which leads to reduced blood flow in all our body parts including ears. This will result in an incredibly sensitive eardrum, and making cochlea starve for oxygen, which might cause an irreparable damage and even hearing loss. It is noticed that nicotine will somehow confuse neurotransmitters present in the auditory nerve.      

Artificial sweetener – Sugar substitutes are far worse than sugar. Aspartame also sold as Equal, Spoonful, or Indulge is an excitatory neurotransmitter that leads to hyperexcited neurons. It also drains them of nutrients until they die and does not reduce obesity. It also blocks a gut enzyme i.e. intestinal alkaline phosphatase, which prevents the signal to reach the brain to stop eating. Discontinuing this sweetener leads to less food intake and helps to lose weight. People also witnessed an immediate reduction in intensity of tinnitus symptoms following the elimination of sugar substitute.

Making conditions better

Mediterranean Diet – This diet is among the best for everyone, especially for those who are suffering from tinnitus. This diet combines daily exercise with whole grain bread or pasta, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, cheese, as well as yogurt. The person suffering from tinnitus should have Fish, poultry, eggs, and sweets several times per week, as well as red meat several times a month. Wine consumption should be moderate as much as possible. The food should be kept close to its original state. As Fresh food is way better than the processed or packaged food.   

Banana – There are times when fluid build-up in ear causes tinnitus. In this condition, the only way to relieve the symptoms is to get rid of that excess fluid. Banana helps to regulate the flow of fluid throughout our body due to its high potassium content. Other sources of potassium are yogurt, spinach, and sweet potato.

Pineapple – Pineapple can be chosen as an alternate option if you don’t like bananas. They help to reduce inflammation throughout the body including ears. It also helps in reducing the effect of tinnitus for an individual.  

Vitamin B12 and Zinc – When it comes to combating tinnitus symptoms, these nutrients will be on the front line. Vitamin B12 food sources include salmon, mackerel, and red meat. Food with higher zinc content includes yogurt, lamb, cashews, and chicken.  

Garlic- Garlic is really beneficial for a better blood flow which is the basic cause of tinnitus. Hence helping to cure tinnitus. Garlic is also very effective against various infections including ear infections which is the underlying cause of tinnitus. It is an effective anticoagulant that helps in maintaining blood pressure as well as lowers the cholesterol level.

Unsaturated Fat – The source of unsaturated fats are mainly vegetables, nuts, fishes etc. It will lower the level of cholesterol and blood pressure level, hence reducing the inflammation. It reverses the negative effect of saturated and trans fats stored in our body. In the Mediterranean region where heart disease incidences are really low, olive oil is used as the cooking oil on daily basis. Omega-3 fatty acids, mainly found in fish oil helps to reduce inflammation as well as pain. It is most recommended for diabetic people due to its increased insulin sensitivity.  

Magnesium – Magnesium is really effective in maintaining normal functioning of nerve, which includes nerves involved in the hearing procedure. It is known to be a glutamate inhibitor. Glutamate is defined as the neurotransmitter produced by the inner ear hair cells. This happens when the ear is affected by sound waves. Magnesium improves blood flow in and around the inner ear. This will help to transport protective antioxidants to the inner ear of the individual.

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