How would you answer the following questions: Are you what you eat? Are you thin or overweight because of the food choices that you make? Do you have energy to go out in order to tackle everything and anything? Or are you a lump on a log, and just sit in front of the boob tube stuffing your face with junk food and candy? Unfortunately the majority of Americans do not make healthy choices in what they consume, and thus suffer the consequences. High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and even sleep apnea are some of the health issues that can develop. So what should you do if you need to lose weight and have sleep apnea? What popular diets help sleep apnea?
Sleep Apnea Explained
As a refresher, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleeping disorder characterized by pauses in breathing due to an obstruction of the upper airway. Individuals with OSA literally can stop breathing from mere seconds to as long as minutes, and the instances can be as few as five to over 30 times in any given hour during the night. And symptoms of sleep apnea can be any or all of the following: fatigue, daytime sleepiness, snoring, poor concentration, memory loss and morning headaches.
Which Diets Help Sleep Apnea?
As people are different, so too, a popular diet might not be the magic solution to losing weight or helping to minimize sleep apnea symptoms. But as long as the diet or eating plan involves consuming lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains are made a stable and you avoid saturated fats, you should be able to be healthy and minimize your sleep apnea symptoms.
According to research, a good option for sleep apnea sufferers is the popular Mediterranean diet. Published in the European Respiratory Journal, researchers found that the Mediterranean diet could help improve sleep for individuals with sleep apnea. The Mediterranean diet places a strong emphasis on consuming fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fat, like olive oil. The diet also follows the Food Guide Pyramid and instead of flavoring with salt, the plan stresses the use of herbs.
With this study, researchers divided participants with sleep apnea into two groups with one following the Mediterranean diet and the other a different plan. All test subjects used continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for treatment of their sleep apnea. The results showed that the group following the Mediterranean diet had better quality sleep during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage with fewer breathing disturbances. As an added bonus, this group also had a greater decrease in abdominal fat.
In recent years, a trendy diet that has gained quite a bit of popularity is the Paleo diet. The foundation of this plan is that a person only eats foods that our ancestors would have eaten, that is to say gathered or hunted for said item to be consumed for sustenance. A person who follows Paleo starts out by removing refined sugars, chemical-infused foods, dairy, grains and trans-fat items. Paleo stresses the importance of incorporating a high protein item (such as lean free-range meat) along with simple vegetables and fruits. Ridding the body of processed foods with the Paleo diet is the kick that the metabolism needs to shed pounds and quickly.
South Beach Diet
Depending on how much weight you need to lose, the South Beach diet is a three-phase approach to taking off pounds. In a nutshell, with this plan you replace bad with good in terms of carbohydrates and fats. As you move through each South Beach phase, restrictions of what you can and cannot eat decrease.
You can definitely lose weight with this diet plan and the other two previously mentioned. These diets can help sleep apnea due to the weight loss, which minimize associated symptoms. However it is important to remember that you will receive the best results if you also incorporate exercise on a consistent basis. And even better would be to make sure that your sleep apnea is properly diagnosed and you are being treated for this condition.
If you have trouble sleeping or think you have sleep apnea, please contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a consultation.