Consuming Plant-Based Foods Could Help Lower Snoring

New research suggests that a plant-based diet could be a useful strategy for snoring cessation.

According to a study that was just published in ERJ Open Research, individuals who follow a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts had a lower risk of developing obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

People who have sleep apnea commonly wake up during the night from breathing disturbances and snore excessively.

Sleep apnea can raise the following health risks in addition to fatigue:

stroke, heart disease, excessive blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes

According to the study, those consuming the highest percentage of plant-based foods had a 19% lower risk of developing OSA than those consuming the lowest percentage. A mostly vegetarian diet was also associated with a lower risk.

Although eating a plant-based diet tends to help prevent snoring, food quality seems to be the most important factor.

The study also discovered that individuals with OSA are more likely to follow an unhealthy plant-based diet that is heavy in refined carbs, sugary drinks, high-sugar, and high-salt foods.

In actuality, the risk was 22 percent higher for those consuming a diet heavy in unhealthy plant-based foods than for those eating a diet low in these items.

How does eating a plant-based diet relate to snoring?

Is eating a plant-based diet essential to lowering your chance of snoring?

Not engaged in the study, sleep scientist Dan Gartenberg, PhD, is the creator and CEO of SleepSpace, but he’s not fully convinced.

He notes, “These results are consistent with what is known about the health benefits of plant-based diets, but they do not indicate whether a healthy diet high in meat would be less effective than a healthy diet high in plants in terms of treating obstructive sleep apnea.”

A plant-based diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts may help treat sleep apnea because of how it reduces inflammation.

“These foods are rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help the body fight off damaging free radicals, lessen inflammation, and eventually lessen oxidative stress,” says Gartenberg.

On the other hand, a poor plant-based diet rich in refined carbohydrates, sweetened beverages, and meals high in salt and sugar can lead to throat irritation.

According to Gartenberg, this can result in swelling throughout the body, especially in the head and neck, which raises the possibility of breathing problems, exacerbated snoring, and obstruction of the airways during sleep.

Additionally, choosing healthier foods can help combat obesity, which is one of the main risk factors for sleep apnea.

“A plant-based diet addresses the risks of inflammation and obesity by promoting a healthy weight and reducing inflammation in the upper airway,” says Gartenberg. “As a result, these healthy foods can reduce some of the factors that contribute to airway obstruction, thereby making it easier to breathe during sleep.”

Acid reflux is another potential aspect to take into account, as it has been connected to the severity of sleep apnea.

“Certain foods can leave you prone to or even worsen existing cases of acid reflux,” Gartenberg notes.

But he also notes that studies (Trusted Source) indicate a lower risk of chronic reflux diseases (GERD) in individuals following a plant-based diet.

With this knowledge, he suggests that a plant-based diet may theoretically lower your chance of developing reflux-related sleep apnea.

Dietary Adjustments That Could Lessen Snoring

It’s crucial to keep in mind, though, that this study’s conclusions do not always imply that an OSA-friendly diet high in meat would not have a same effect. Gartenberg asserts that additional study is required to address that issue.

Making healthier decisions, however, appears to have a beneficial impact that could improve your general health and wellbeing.

“Snoring isn’t just noisy and annoying for your partner; it can mess with your health,” points out Dr. Shelby Harris, director of sleep health at Sleepopolis, who was not involved in the study. “It can lead to poor or fragmented sleep, an increased risk of developing cardiovascular issues, daytime fatigue, weight gain, and hormonal imbalances.”

So, if you want to modify your diet to prevent snoring, where should you start?

“Focus on adjusting your diet to include foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and lean proteins,” Harris advises.

“It’s also important to stay hydrated and lead a healthy, active lifestyle,” she adds.

Gartenberg Offers Comparable Guidance

“Pay attention to including foods that are high in nutrients and reduce inflammation in their diet. This comprises an abundance of whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruits as well as vegetables,” he explains.

Meal timing is another important factor. Aim to avoid eating heavy meals right before bedtime. He continues, “This tip is particularly crucial when consuming fatty or sugary foods.

Making better eating choices may become simpler for you as your sleep quality increases and your overall sense of well-being increases.

“This is because eating decisions may be influenced by poor sleep quality caused by snoring, which can worsen obesity and obstructive sleep apnea by increasing cravings for high-calorie, sugary foods and decreasing motivation for physical activity,” notes Gartenberg.