Why Bananas Are Bad for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea sufferers can eat a wide variety of foods unless they follow a weight loss diet that may limit their consumption of fruits high in sugar or carbohydrates. However, there is one fruit that is a notorious no-no for sleep apnea sufferers, and that’s the banana.
What is it with the banana that doesn’t make it a good snack for sleep apnea sufferers?
Banana actually increases mucus production making breathing problems worse. Mucus, also known as sputum or phlegm is the sticky and slippery substance produced by the body to trap debris and other microorganisms so they can easily be swept out of the body by coughing.
Mucus coats the throat and cavities of the respiratory system. However, too much mucus production can lead to irritation, nasal congestion and difficulty breathing. This is particularly true for those who are allergic to bananas. This is because, in people with this allergy, consumption of bananas can increase histamine levels in the blood.
Histamine is a substance that plays a role in the body’s immune response. Histamine in the bloodstream can cause the body to produce more mucus than normal. If you are allergic to bananas, eating can likely cause the body to respond by producing histamine which in turn causes it to produce more mucus.
Increased mucus in the airways can cause irritation and make it harder for the airways to remain clear, especially while you sleep. All these lead to sleep apnea or an increase in the severity of symptoms.
Bananas are not alone in this category, however. Pineapple, strawberries, eggs and even chocolate can also increase mucus production in people allergic to them, which means these are not good options to eat for dinner or before going to bed for those prone
to sleep apnea.
Does this mean that you have to avoid eating bananas altogether?
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, you may need to if you have a history of banana allergic reactions. To know for sure, avoid bananas for two weeks to determine if the bananas are causing your body to increase mucus production. If you notice an increase in mucus production after eating bananas, the fruit is likely the culprit and you need to make some changes.
It may be best to avoid bananas altogether especially if they increase the severity of sleep apnea symptoms. You can also take an antihistamine before consuming anything that contains bananas especially you are extra-sensitive.
Fruit Alternatives for Sleep Apnea Sufferers
Even if you can’t eat bananas there are other fruits that can serve as ideal substitutes. These include berries, kiwis, leafy greens, tomatoes, broccoli, citrus fruits and the like. Any fruit that does not cause an allergic reaction, no matter how mild, is good for someone suffering from sleep apnea.
Aside from avoiding fruits that you are allergic to, it is equally important to make other changes to lessen the frequency of sleep apnea. Lose weight if you are overweight by going with a weight loss diet.
Incorporate foods that reduce mucus production like salmon, sardines, tuna, garlic, ginger, lemon and switch to decaffeinated coffee or tea.
It is also to engage in physical activity as often as you can. Exercise paired with the right diet can effectively eliminate sleep apnea if excess weight is the main reason why sleep apnea occurs for you.
Use a CPAP machine every night to eliminate sleep apnea while you are asleep or use oral appliances to ensure that your muscles stay open as you open.
Eating healthy is one of the best ways to avoid sleep apnea or at the least, reduce the frequency of episodes. While you may not be able to consume bananas when the urge hits, you can always choose any other fruit that is just as tasty and won’t affect your quality of sleep at night.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs in about 18 million Americans and about a billion people around the world. It is also one of the
most prevalent sleeping disorders in the world today. Sleep apnea happens when a person suddenly stops breathing during sleep. This is an involuntary reaction that usually resolves itself after a few seconds.
Severe cases of sleep apnea may require changes in lifestyle, the use of certain equipment to prevent sleep apnea at night, and special diets, especially if sleep apnea occurs so frequently that it poses a health risk.
Sleep apnea may also increase a person’s risk for strokes, heart attacks, and even heart failure. Because of this, any precaution that can be taken to reduce sleep apnea is a good idea, even if it means changing how you eat and the kinds of food you consume.
Sleep Apnea: Why Does it Happen?
Sleep apnea happens when your throat muscles relax while you are sleeping. It also happens when the brain doesn’t send the proper signals to control your muscles to breathe while you are asleep. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, feeling tired and sleepy during the day, among others.
Your bedmate or roommate may notice that you stop breathing during the night, although these episodes only last for a few seconds, usually 10-30 in most people. However, instances of sleep apnea can occur up to 50 times an hour, which can significantly lower a person’s quality of sleep.
Management of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is managed with the help of a CPAP or a continuous positive airway pressure device. This looks like a mask that is fitted over the nose or the mouth. The device blows air into the airway to keep it open as you sleep. Other devices that can help reduce the frequency of sleep pain include dental appliances that keep the lower jaw and tongue in place.
Surgery may also be an option. Aside from the CPAP device, individuals with sleep apnea may be advised to exercise to lose weight and to make changes in the diet. Studies have shown that a weight loss diet may be effective in curing sleep apnea in overweight sufferers.