October 13, 2020
If you’re among the 22 million Americans who live with obstructive sleep apnea, you know there are several factors that can influence the pauses in breathing, like an unhealthy weight or sleeping on your back. Did you know the foods you eat can also affect the condition? Believe it or not, your diet can either help or hinder your treatment plan. Here are a few foods you’ll want to avoid and some better alternatives to promote a restful night’s sleep.
Sleep Apnea and a Healthy Diet
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most prevalent form of the condition, which causes frequent pauses in breathing from a blockage in the upper airway. Most often, it’s caused by the soft tissues in the back of the mouth or the tongue narrowing the airway. You can experience hundreds of interruptions in breathing in a single night.
Besides a conventional treatment plan, like oral appliance therapy, changes to your diet can also allow you to breathe better. Here are the top 5 foods to add to your meals to help treat sleep apnea:
- Choose Fruits and Vegetables
Choose fruits and vegetables rich in nutrients and fibers instead of sweet treats, like cookies and candy. Fiber helps you feel full longer to decrease the likeliness of overeating to help you maintain a healthy weight. When reaching for a healthy snack, skip grabbing a banana because they increase mucus production that can cause breathing issues.
- Low-Fat Daily Products
Low-fat dairy products are rich in vitamin D and calcium. Not to mention, they will help you feel full for longer, but you don’t want to choose whole milk or high-fat products. To avoid added weight gain, choose low-fat options, like milk, yogurt, or cheese.
- Plant-Based Oils
You need healthy fats in your diet for optimal wellness. Your sleep specialist recommends adding plant-based oils to your plate. Unsaturated fats care excellent substitutes for butter or margarine. There are several great options, like canola, olive, or sunflower oil.
- Whole Grains
Whole grains offer the same benefits as fresh fruits and vegetables because they contain vital nutrients and fibers. It’s best to skip breads and breakfast cereals that have refined carbs. They have a high amount of added sugar, which can contribute to obesity.
- Low-Fat Meats
An important step to treating sleep apnea naturally is decreasing your fat intake. It’s best to eat high-fat meats in moderation, like beef or pork. Salmon and chicken are great lean meats to promote a trim waistline.
Sleep Better with a Healthy Diet
If you suffer from sleep apnea, it’s best to avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine, which can worsen sleep apnea symptoms. A glass of water will keep you hydrated while also supporting a better sleep quality.
About Dr. Robert Dernick
After earning his dental degree, Dr. Dernick continued his training to focus on sleep dentistry. He helps patients who have sleep-related breathing disorders get the relief they need. He embraces non-invasive solutions to help patients breathe easier for a good night’s rest. If you have untreated sleep apnea, contact our office today to schedule your consultation.
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