25 Feb, 2024 @ 10:00
1 min read

Revealed: How cutting meat out of your diet can prevent snoring, according to new study

SWITCHING to a vegetarian diet can ‘prevent or treat’ sleep apnoea, the medical condition that causes heavy snoring, a new study has found. 

Researchers used dietary data from over 14,000 people who participated in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

People who ate more vegetables, fruits and whole grains were some 19% less likely to have sleep apnoea compared to the group who ate the least.

Meanwhile, people who ate more processed meat and junk foods high in sugar and fat were found to be 22% more likely to snore heavily during the night.

Destructive sleep apnoea affects one in ten adults, particularly men who are elderly and overweight.

The study, published in European Respiratory Journal Open Research, a scientific journal, concluded that following a diet with more vegetables and less meat could help to reduce inflammation and obesity, and thus prevent sleep apnoea. 

snoring can give you cancer
Next time your partner wakes you up with their snoring, tell them to eat more veg. Credit: Cordon Press

Sleep apnoea is a respiratory condition that causes breathing to stop and start during sleep, potentially straining the heart.

Symptoms include loud snoring, long gaps between breaths, gasping, waking up a lot, and snorting noises.

The main treatment for sleep apnoea is a device known as a CPAP – continuous positive airway pressure – machine which uses a mask to regulate breathing during sleep.

US President Joe Biden is among those who use the device to treat the condition.

Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and cutting alcohol intake, can also help.

Dr Yohannes Melaku, author of the study, said: “These results highlight the importance of the quality of our diet in managing the risk of obstructive sleep apnoea”.

“This research doesn’t tell us why diet is important, but it could be that a healthy plant-based diet reduces inflammation and obesity. These are key factors in obstructive sleep apnoea risk”.

“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”, he explained.

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Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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