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Stop snoring with MFM

New research shows vegetarian diets cut risk of sleep apnoea, a major cause of heavy snoring

Posted : 23 February 2024

Meat-free eating can help with so many things: cutting the risk of cancerhelping with weight lossprotecting us from Covidalleviating diabetessaving the planet and … saving your marriage?

A new study has shown that a vegetarian diet can “prevent or treat” sleep apnoea, a medical condition that affects a tenth of all Britons and puts strain on the heart. It leads to stop-start breathing during sleep, meaning long gaps between inhaling and exhaling, gasping, choking noises, waking up lots and snoring measurable on the Richter scale.

The research, based on the data of 14,210 people from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, found that those with diets highest in fruit and vegetables were almost a fifth (19 per cent) less likely to turn into snuffling hippopotami after lights-out than those with the least healthy diet. Fans of processed meat and junk food aficionados were 22 per cent more likely to rattle the window panes.

The suggestion is that meat free eating can improve life for snorers – and perhaps more importantly, those who have to put up with them – because it reduces inflammation and helps them lose weight, lowering the risk factors for obstructive sleep apnoea … and the potential for divorce. Veggie food was found to have a bigger impact on men in terms of reducing the risk, while a poor diet created more of an apnoea risk for women.

Dr Yohannes Melaku, of Flinders University, in Adelaide, South Australia, the lead author, said the purpose of the study was to address the “gap in our knowledge of how overall dietary patterns affect obstructive sleep apnoea and explore the association between different types of plant-based diets and the risk of obstructive sleep apnoea”. She said previous research had concentrated on restricting calories and losing weight.

Diets rich in anti-inflammatory components and antioxidants, and low in harmful dietary elements, can influence fat mass, inflammation and even muscle tone, all of which are relevant to obstructive sleep apnoea risk,” she added.

Read the study

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