This time of year brings all of your favorite foods, right? Whether you like sweet or savory, it seems like the holidays provide the best dinners and desserts. However, if you have sleep apnea, you should watch what you eat because it could help or hurt your condition. Keep reading to discover some of the best foods for sleep apnea as well as what you should avoid for a good night of counting sheep.
Foods That Help
Foods Rich in Melatonin
Many fruits and vegetables contain melatonin, which is a natural sleep enhancer. Asparagus, corn, cherries, grapes, broccoli, and cucumbers all contain this sleepy hormone. And, many recommend tart cherry juice as the best natural source of melatonin. Just make sure to brush your teeth after drinking juice, especially before bed.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help your body produce melatonin (the sleepy hormone described above). Seafood items are the best place to get omega-3 fatty acids, so reach for some tuna, salmon, and shrimp this holiday season!
Tryptophan, famous for being found in turkey, is an amino acid that when consumed, eventually turns into melatonin. Many people blame their Thanksgiving Day naps on the tryptophan in turkey, but you can also find it in fish, chicken, nuts, beans, and a variety of veggies.
Foods That Hurt
Burgers, steak, pork, bacon, lamb, and sausage are all meats that are high in saturated fats. Eating too much of these items can cause inflammation throughout your body, which can lead to cardiovascular problems. This is a big risk factor if you have sleep apnea, so it’s best to avoid consuming these products.
Although bananas are known to be a great source of potassium and fiber, they actually can increase your mucus production in your mouth and throat. This can sometimes dramatically worsen breathing problems, and it can exacerbate your sleep apnea.
High-Fat Dairy Items
Just like bananas, unfortunately dairy products with a high fat content can increase your body’s mucus production. Also, weight gain is a leading risk factor of sleep apnea, which can be caused by eating too much high-fat dairy.
In summation, watch out for fatty foods and try to avoid eating bananas right before bed. Additionally, alcohol can cause your throat muscles to relax more easily and block your airway during sleep, so try to avoid too many libations.
If you’re having trouble with your sleep disorder, talk to your dentist about sleep apnea treatment to get your good night’s sleep back. Use these tips to enjoy the holiday season while still getting a good night’s rest.
Meet the Dentist
A graduate of LSU School of Dentistry in 1980, Dr. James A. Moreau Jr. has been providing quality care for his patients in Covington ever since. He also enjoys giving patients the gift of a better night’s sleep using sleep apnea therapy. He currently practices at More Smiles Dental Spa, and he can be contacted through his website or by phone at (985) 809-7645 for any questions.