Diet Guide For Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder! Individuals with it suddenly stop breathing when they sleep. They do start breathing again, but this interruption still affects their sleep! Patients will experience fatigue even after sleeping for eight hours. Many individuals who snore also have sleep apnea! Obstructive sleep apnea causes an individual's throat muscles to relax. When throat muscles collapse like this, individuals stop breathing! Central sleep apnea is a problem with the patient's central nervous system. It means that their brain cannot tell their muscles to breathe!

CPAP for central sleep apnea is a common treatment. Remedies for obstructive sleep apnea also make use of these machines! There are also ways to treat sleep apnea with no CPAP machine. However, this is a discussion that patients must have with their doctor. In addition, there are natural remedies for sleep apnea! One of these remedies is designing the right diet for sleep apnea.

Plant-Based Oils


Individuals who are overweight have excess tissue in the back of their throat. The tissue will collapse while they are asleep. It will obstruct their breathing! Thus, many sleep apnea patients are overweight. One of the first treatments is to lose this excess weight! Plant-based oils are an excellent way of doing this. They are fantastic substitutes for margarine and butter. They are high in healthy unsaturated fats. However, they do not have nearly as many unhealthy saturated fats!

Amazing plant-based oils for sleep apnea patients include sunflower, olive, flaxseed, and safflower oil. Most individuals have at least one of these in their pantry already! These oils are great for salad dressing and to help cook many stir-fries and similar dishes.

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Low-Fat Dairy Products


Dairy products are quite healthy. However, dairy products have a significant amount of fat in them. This causes cholesterol issues, along with weight gain. Weight, once again, is a severe issue for sleep apnea patients. However, there is a fix!  Low-fat dairy products are another excellent addition to an individual's diet if they have sleep apnea. They will manage their symptoms much better with these dairy products. Individuals should drink skim milk instead of two percent! Low-fat cheese is also incredibly beneficial for sleep apnea patients. 

There is no reason to avoid dairy entirely! In fact, dairy is a significant source of vitamin D, calcium, and protein. Low-fat dairy products are especially helpful for individuals who are avoiding meat due to their high-calorie content. They still need protein! Dairy products, including those that are low in fat, keep individuals feeling full for longer periods. 

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Whole Grains


Individuals need whole grains if they have sleep apnea! Brown rice is a popular choice. It gives individuals sustained energy and a high amount of nutrients. Brown rice is also cheap, and individuals can buy it in bulk! Whole wheat pasta is another common and healthy choice. Whole grains are reasonably high in fiber, which keeps an individual's digestive system regulated! They also have many other nutrients. Thus, whole grains also increase energy and keep the body working efficiently. Another great whole grain choice is oats. They have a soluble fiber known as beta-glucan, which has many health benefits beyond helping with digestion. 

It is also well worth noting that whole grains keep individuals satiated. Thus, they consume fewer calories overall. In other words, they will lose more weight. This is a major benefit for sleep apnea patients!

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Fruits And Vegetables


Fruits and vegetables are incredibly healthy! They contain many nutrients, including fiber, and are low in calories. Many doctors recommend fruits and vegetables to individuals who are trying to lose weight. This includes sleep apnea patients! Of course, individuals get the vitamins and minerals they need to function by eating fruits and vegetables. The fiber that these foods contain keeps them feeling full for longer. Thus, they are not going to consume as many calories! Even soft fruits and cooked vegetables are helpful! These foods are fairly gentle on the digestive system. Thus, individuals can start slowly and increase their fiber intake over time.

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Omega-3 fatty acids are incredible for an individual's sleep. This does not treat sleep apnea. However, a full eight hours of sleep will still be very healthy for these patients. Thus, individuals need to include seafood in their diet. Seafood, especially fish, is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Individuals have to consume them, as their body cannot make them itself! 

Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. This fact is what makes them beneficial for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Evidence shows that low levels of omega-3 fatty acids cause sleep apnea to worsen. More research is currently underway to find out more about this connection and if omega-3s influence the onset of sleep apnea. 


    Katherine MacAulay