Snoring is a problem that plagues many people, in all parts of the world. We often write it off as a small problem, thinking of it as more of a nuisance than a real threat to our health.
But the truth is that snoring can be very dangerous—especially in the long-term. Snoring interferes with our quality of sleep, keeps oxygen from being able to reach our brains as easily, and puts us at an increased risk for many different health problems, ranging from stroke, to heart disease, to Alzheimer’s.
But is it possible to curb snoring through your diet?
Dietitian Orla Walsh seems to think so—and in a recent article, published on independent.ie, she shared some of her knowledge about food and how it can actually improve your odds of getting a better night’s sleep.
Here are some of the tips that she shared.
First Tip: Lose Weight
Neck circumference plays a crucial role in how likely you are to snore or suffer from sleep apnea… so the first line of defense against snoring is to watch what you eat in general.
Cutting out excessive fattening foods and drinking more water can really help to shrink your waistline—and will also do a lot of good to help you shrink your neck size as well. Your neck size plays a vital role because a thicker neck means more fatty tissue surrounding the airway.
Snoring is actually usually caused by this fatty tissue, because it can tend to collapse in on the airway when the muscles relax. The trick to halting this problem? Reduce the fatty tissue—which is exactly what happens when you start to lose weight.
Second Tip: Drink Beetroot Juice
Beetroot juice contains extra nitrates (nitric oxide) that can do a lot to help your snoring problem. In sports, these nitrates have been used to reduce the oxygen costs of exercises. They have also been shown to improve exercise and workout tolerance for athletes.
The secret to these benefits is that nitric oxide helps the blood vessels to widen when needed… and oxidative stress has been shown to be elevated within sleep apnea sufferers.
In the long run, this oxidative stress, if left untreated and not dealt with, can do damage that could possibly cause heart disease down the road. But beetroot juice can do a lot to mitigate the ill effects of oxidative stress… by helping to widen the blood vessels, it can help to increase blood flow and the flow of oxygen to the brain—both of which are very, very important.
Third Tip: Try a Low Histamine or an Anti-Inflammation Diet
Sometimes, allergies (such as allergic rhinitis) can make snoring worse. The same is true of inflammation.
A low-histamine diet is usually a diet consisting of fresh foods, but it requires you to avoid pickled foods, alcohol, and even some common fresh-food staples like tomatoes and bell-peppers. The diet is a bit difficult to follow, but it can help a lot if you tend to have allergy problems.
An anti-inflammation diet consists of foods like fresh tuna and sardines, oily fish, salmon, mackerel, herbs, berries, spices, and other foods that provide sufficient antioxidants. Nuts, like walnuts and pecans, can also help, as can adding shellfish to your diet.
Obviously, keeping track of what you eat can do a lot to help you edge your way to a better quality of sleep—but keep in mind that there is no magic-bullet for snoring. Changing your diet, exercising more, buying a quality bed and pillow, sleeping in the right position, and buying an anti-snoring device are all methods that, when combined, can do a lot of good.
But on their own, none of these methods are likely to solve all of your snoring related problems… so it is important that you start making small, healthy changes on a daily basis that will eventually help to take you to better places on your health and wellness journey.