Obstructive sleep apnea is a common occurrence in obese people and unfortunately the rate of obesity is climbing, not just in developed countries but worldwide. Much has been written about the obesity problem and its solution. The simplest answer and one well within the reach of everyone is cultivating and maintaining healthy eating habits and adding regular exercise.
By improving your eating habits, you can also improve your breathing when you sleep. Really, it's all about nutrition.
This is a very short guide but should steer you the right way.
Take note of these tips:
Lots of fresh green vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins should make your most frequent foods. The idea is to provide sufficient nutrition to your body, without overloading it with the low quality foods that tax your body's abilities to process, digest, eliminate and yes, detoxify.
Snacks should consist of fruits or, if you are really keen, vegetables such as celery sticks and carrot sticks are fantastic alternatives to chocolate bars and potato crisps.
How do you know when you're having enough vegetables in your diet? Look at your plate. Does it have at least half green, leafy vegetables with other colored vegetables around it?
Eat red meat sparingly, around 50 grams per meal maximum is best. Fish, especially deep-sea fish, is recommended five times a week for essential fatty acids and lean protein.
Reduce your portion sizes. Do not super-size. Shrink-size your meals. The emphasis is on quality. It is better to eat three to five smaller meals rather than loading yourself up with two or three meals a day.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so you should steer clear of heavy carbohydrates meals. Have some protein for breakfast, such as eggs. Eggs are a great source of protein but if you feel that eggs are too heavy, then a protein shake made from high quality whey protein isolate is an option.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day – eight to ten glasses each day. Physical labor causing sweating is an obvious reason to stay hydrated, but even working in an air-conditioned office can dry you up too. Air-conditioners de-humidify, and that includes your body.
The more water you drink, the better – except not half an hour before meals and two hours after meals. The logic is simple. Anytime you eat and then drink afterwards, it dilutes the acid in your stomach, slowing down your digestion.
You can reduce your cholesterol intake by simply eating fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources. Cold meats are generally no good and bacon is out of the question. Bear in mind that cholesterol is still necessary to make our bodies function properly. We are bombarded by simplistic media messages that fat is bad for us. The truth is that fat provides a buffer against the harmful chemicals and toxins that we inevitable digest. When the body can not eliminate the toxins, due to a decrease in cellular energy, they are stored and buffered in the body's fat tissues. Your job then is to gradually eliminate some of this fat and the toxins in it.
Beware when choosing so-called 'low-fat' processed foods. Low-fat items are often high-sugar items. If you eat low fat and high sugar foods, your body becomes frenzied with many biochemical switches quickly turning on and off. The reason is the crazy fluctuation of sugar levels in your blood. These foods will pre-dispose you to contract diabetes. In any case, the unused sugar will be turned to fat and stored by your body anyway.
Minimise added sugar products, like jellies, jams, desserts, candy, alcohol, sodas, chocolate drinks, and caffeine wines.
Reduce your intake of salt, with the exception of Celtic sea salt. It comes from ocean water brine and contains all the minerals your body needs to process it. Table salts are stripped of their minerals and act like toxins.
Chew your food. Your jaws and teeth are there to be used. It is always better to chew your food well and eat slowly in moderate quantities. Chew twenty times for every mouthful of food.
The suggestions here will work as is for most people. In some exceptions, you may have an overly acidic body or a 'toxic waist', referring to the toxins stored in the body fat about your middle. In such conditions, it may be necessary to undergo a rigorous cleaning and rejuvenation process first to help the body to shed those unwanted pounds.
You probably already know that fad diets only provide temporary weight reduction. You gain back all the weight plus some more as soon as you come off the diet. Diet is spelled 'DIE with a T' so, please , look after your lifestyle by sensible eating and exercise. Your weight will take care of itself. And your sleep breathing will improve.
By living a balanced lifestyle, you can maintain – and improve – your health and avoid many diseases and morbid conditions. A balanced lifestyle involves a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, protein, whole grains, and less milk products, meat and carbohydrates.
Add regular exercise and you will be on top of your game. We'll look at exercise in the next article.