Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sleep Apnea and a Mediterranean Diet

A widely reported recent study suggests that eating a Mediterranean diet along with engaging in regular physical activity can help relieve some symptoms of sleep apnea.

The study’s findings were published recently in the European Respiratory Journal and indicated that sleep apnea patients who followed a Mediterranean diet experienced fewer breathing interruptions during rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, a stage of deep sleep that typically accounts for about one-quarter of total sleeping time. But just what does a Mediterranean diet entail?

A Mediterranean diet includes staples of meals originating in Mediterranean nations such as Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain. Mediterranean dishes often feature fresh ingredients over processed foods and include more vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains, and less red meat.

Ingredients commonly used in a Mediterranean diet include:

  • Broccoli
  • Chickpeas
  • Eggplant
  • Fish
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Peppers
  • Red wine (in moderation, of course)
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

A Mediterranean diet also favors organic flavorings over artificial ones. This includes the use of fresh basil, oregano, lemon, rosemary and garlic, among others.

In addition to seeming to reduce some sleep apnea symptoms, a Mediterranean diet has other health benefits as well. Foods in the Mediterranean diet tend to be low in saturated fat and high in flavonoids and antioxidants, which are thought to help prevent cancer.

To learn more about sleep apnea treatment options, please contact a dentist who specializes in sleep disorders near you.

posted by Steve at 10:10 AM