Halloween isn’t quite yet upon us, but when it arrives, don’t be too quick to limit yourself to just one chocolate a day: It turns out that chocolate might actually be good for your overall hearing health.
Sure, modern candies are full of sugar and other non-nutritional foodstuffs, but chocolate, particularly the dark kind, has a whole host of antioxidants which can be incredibly beneficial for the human body. But how can chocolate help protect your hearing health?
Antioxidants And Hearing Loss
Antioxidants are substances, normally vitamins and minerals, that can prevent or delay numerous types of cell damage. Many antioxidants, like beta-carotene, Vitamin A, and lycopene, are found in common fruits and vegetables and many are also found in dietary supplements. That being said, you don’t necessarily need to only eat dark leafy greens to stay healthy – other foods, like dark chocolate, are also quite high in these essential vitamins and minerals.
Research shows that high levels of antioxidants in food can help prevent hearing loss and that we can get many of these antioxidants from every Halloween lover’s favorite treat: chocolate.
It might seem counterintuitive to think that chocolate can help aid a healthy lifestyle, but in small amounts, these antioxidants can work wonders for one’s hearing health. Particularly as we age, loud noises can damage our hearing in a number of ways. One of these ways is by the formation of free radicals, which are damaging molecules that are known to cause cell death, particularly when in contact with the inner ear. This cell death negatively affects the overwhelmingly important sensory hair cells in the inner ear, which are critical for the transmission of sound information to the brain.
Chocolate lovers can rejoice in knowing that the antioxidants bind to these free radicals, thereby rendering them harmless. Plus, these antioxidants, particularly in dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa, have also been shown to help improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Since research shows that hearing loss occurs 54% more often in people with heart disease, anything we do to help our heart might be helping our ears.
Thus, that small daily slab of chocolate bar in the weeks after Halloween might actually be guilt-free!
Zinc and Ear Infections
In addition to containing a host of antioxidants that are great for your hearing health, dark chocolate also contains high levels of zinc, which is fantastic for your immune system. A strong immune system is important for a wide number of reasons, especially for people who suffer from frequent or severe ear infections.
Although it’s somewhat rare, some ear infections can lead to hearing loss, so the zinc in chocolate might be able to help prevent these infections in the first place or aid in a speedy recovery.
At the end of the day, it’s about moderation. While pure chocolate contains large quantities of these beneficial antioxidants, most modern chocolate comes in a mix of sugar and other less-nutritious foods. Although some dark chocolate can be beneficial, too much over the long term can have other negative health consequences. It might be hard to stick to in the candy-filled weeks after Halloween, but remember: everything in moderation! It just might be good for your hearing health.