Have you noticed the leaves in your neighborhood turn from green to shades of deep oranges, sun kissed yellows and dark browns? If that doesn’t paint an image of fall then maybe the sweet smell of pumpkin bread baking in the oven does or perhaps it’s your family’s ageless recipe for the most scrumptious sweet potato casserole or pie.
Now that your palette is a little bit more seasoned, you’ll be happy to know that the fall foods you enjoy during the season have many health benefits as well. Foods like pumpkin, nuts and sweet potatoes make fun festive fall décor and they contain vitamins and minerals that can help protect your ears and promote better hearing health too.
How can fall foods help my hearing?
Foods that contain nutrients like magnesium, potassium, folate, zinc and omega-3s all have health properties that can help protect your ears. These minerals are a key component to your ear health, according to The National Campaign for Better Hearing. Though consuming these nutrients aren’t a cure-all remedy to hearing loss alone, they do play a critical role in boosting your hearing health.
Take pumpkin seeds for example. These tasty fall treats make a great snack roasted with a little bit of sea salt and butter, but the best part about them is that they’re high in magnesium! In a study with 300 military recruits, those who were given a daily drink that contained 167 mg of magnesium were less affected by noise-induced hearing loss than those who were not. “Magnesium status in humans may be one of the factors determining variations in sensitivity to noise-induced hearing loss.” See how magnesium and other nutrients can make a great addition to some of your favorite fall recipes.
- Magnesium can help to protect the hair cells in your inner ears when exposed to loud noises. Fall foods that are rich in magnesium include dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, and nuts. Try to incorporate these foods into your diet while giving them a fun fall flare.
- Potassium can help regulate the fluid in your body which can contribute to the levels of fluid in your inner ear. Choose potassium-rich foods like bananas, sweet potatoes and apricots to include in your fall recipes this year.
- Folate increases circulation in your body which can help maintain the hair cells in your ears. Foods for ear health like kidney beans, whole grains, lemons, and sunflower seeds contain the folate your ears need to stay healthy.
- Zinc can lower the chance of developing tinnitus and can boost your immune system to help prevent ear infections. Dark chocolate, peanuts and cashews all contain zinc and can make a great fall snack.
- Omega-3s can help delay age-related hearing loss by helping your mind and body function properly as you age. Add foods for hearing health like salmon, sardines, tuna, flax seeds, and brussels sprouts to your fall plate for a more balanced meal. Read more on our recent blog about what you need to know about hearing loss and dementia.
Learn more about different foods that improve hearing.
Fall recipes that promote hearing health
1. Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
- 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the wet ingredients and stir in chocolate chips (you can substitute with dark chocolate for added benefits) in one bowl and the dry ingredients in another. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Pour batter into greased and floured loaf pan. Bake for one hour until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pumpkin bread comes out clean.
Choose from a variety of baked goods to share with family and friends this fall on Allrecipes.
2. Sugar and Spice Nuts
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg white
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 2 cups raw almonds
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk the seasoning and spices together. In a separate bowl, beat the egg white until frothy then add the nuts and spiced sugar. Toss and spread onto the greased baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes and stir once until it browns. Let sugar and spice nuts cool on the baking sheet and stir occasionally.
Get a taste for more and explore different recipes at Food and Wine.
3. Sweet Potato Casserole
- ½ stick unsalted butter, melted
- 3-4 large, sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ stick unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
Peel and cube sweet potatoes then add to a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and let simmer until potatoes are tender – roughly 15-20 minutes. Drain and cool completely then mash the sweet potatoes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then butter a 2-quart baking dish. Whisk butter, mashed sweet potatoes, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and eggs in a large bowl. Pour into baking dish.
Combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl until the mixture is moistened and clumps together. Add the pecans and stir. Spread the mixture on top of the sweet potatoes evenly and bake until golden on top – roughly 25-30 minutes. Best served hot!
Find a variety of recipes to try this season on the Food Network.
Food for thought
Eating healthy is beneficial all year-round. Make this season a bountiful one with nutrient-packed foods that spice up your next dinner party. What are you waiting for? Sharpen your skills in the kitchen and enjoy a variety of fall recipes with family and friends this season–you’ll be happy you did!