Most of us have been told to eat our carrots for better eyesight. However, did anyone ever suggest foods healthy for your ears or hearing? Not likely. We can now teach our kids what to eat for healthy hearing and ears; advice that’s probably prudent for us to follow as well.

Hearing impairment can be the result of many factors including infections, age and noise. The following foods include nutrients that may help prevent some common causes of hearing loss.

Surprisingly, fish such as salmon or trout that contains omega 3 fats and vitamin D, has been demonstrated in studies to prevent age-related hearing problems. The anchovies many of us hold from our pizza and the can of tuna most likely in your cupboard are also smart sources of fish containing vitamin D and omega 3 fats. Consumed twice per week, any one of these may help you hear better as you age.

Any professionals subjected to loud noises, such as musicians or heavy equipment operators, are at a elevated risk for hearing damage. Foods loaded with the mineral magnesium like artichokes, potatoes and bananas can help safeguard the hearing of people with a job or pastime exposing them to loud noise. Foods rich in the mineral magnesium help protect against noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) although the mechanism is not known.

You’ll probably be happy to learn that dark chocolate is beneficial to your hearing health! Dark chocolate contains zinc, and zinc deficiencies have been connected to age-related hearing loss. Any foods containing zinc will help, so if you don’t care for dark chocolate, try some oysters! instead!

Extreme noise exposure can stimulate the generation of damaging free radicals which are linked to the demise of sensitive inner ear hair cells. Antioxidants and folic acid can help reduce tissue damage from free radicals. Common foods that are rich in antioxidants and folic acid include eggs, spinach, nuts and asparagus.

Today, together with the urging to consume carrots for better vision, we can help our kids and grandkids protect their ears from hearing loss by incorporating basic foods we most likely have in our kitchen.