A balanced diet consisting of nutritious foods supports your physical and mental health, but it’s not always easy to eat healthily. Whether catching a bite to eat with friends or stopping by a drive-thru after a long trip, an occasional day of indulgence won’t have lasting effects on your health or waistline; however, unhealthy foods can worsen your sleep apnea symptoms. Here are 4 foods you want to avoid if you have sleep apnea.
1. High-Fat Dairy Products
Dairy products are great sources of calcium, phosphorus, calcium, and many other vital nutrients, but those high in fat may keep you awake at night. High-fat dairy increases mucus production, which can make it difficult to breathe. It’s best to limit full-fat milk, cheese, and cream.
2. Meats High in Saturated Fat
Saturated fats are known to increase inflammation and raise the risk of heart-related problems. However, it can also trigger sleep apnea symptoms. You can support a healthy heart and a good night’s rest by skipping bacon, steak, hamburgers, sausage, and other meats high in saturated fats.
Bananas are a great source of antioxidants and nutrients that can lower blood sugar levels, improve digestion, and curb hunger, but your sleep specialist will recommend grabbing another type of fruit for a snack. While they are healthy, bananas increase mucus in the mouth and throat.
If you enjoy a cold beer on the weekend or a glass of wine after work, don’t drink alcohol too late in the day. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in your body, including those in your throat. This can increase the risk of an obstruction in the airway while you’re sleeping.
Foods that Help Sleep Apnea
The foods and drinks you choose can also decrease sleep apnea symptoms. You can promote your health and sleep quality by adding a few key things to your diet:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help your body build new cells and also regulate levels of norepinephrine, which is a stress hormone that decreases rapid eye movement. Sardines, herring, and mackerel are also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are beneficial to everyone’s health, but vitamins C and E are exceptionally important if you have sleep apnea. Both vitamins have been shown to improve sleep quality.
- Green Tea: Green tea has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can improve certain complications of sleep apnea, like memory loss. Adding honey to your tea can also help you sleep peacefully because it decreases swelling.
Don’t let the foods you eat keep you awake at night. With a healthy diet and the right treatment, you’ll sleep soundly to feel your best.
About Dr. Lance Timmerman
Dr. Timmerman earned his dental degree at Oral Health and Sciences University and has continued his education in advanced services, like cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, and sleep apnea therapy. He is a member of multiple professional organizations, including the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. If you need treatment for sleep apnea, contact our office today to request a consultation.