Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Food Allergies Can Cause Snoring

Do you or your partner snore? It could be your diet.

Follow Foods For Long Life on Facebook and Pinterest.
Download my eBook, Health Begins in the Kitchen,
on Amazon and iTunes

Does your Partner Snore?
My husband snores a little. Not much at all, really, but enough to wake me up. Having grown up in New York City, I can sleep through road sounds, subways rolling underground, fire engines blaring, the Costanzas screaming in the next apartment, and other city noises. But now that we live in the country, it's so darn quiet that the slightest noise can wake me up. Unfortunately I don't fall back asleep very easily so quite often I'm sleep deprived.

I've tried to create more white noise to drown out his snoring. I play background records of rain and waves breaking. Our air purification machine also puts out a nice hum, but none of these things really work. I've tried ear plugs but they make me feel like I'm in a sensory deprivation chamber!

Why Sleep is Important
Chronic sleep loss can lead to a number of health problems.
* Lack of sleep lessens your ability to learn, concentrate and remember things.
* Poor sleep can alter hormones that affect our appetite and how the body processes carbohydrates, both of which can cause weight gain.
* Loss of sleep can effect your mood and cause you to be irritable and impatient.
* Sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system. Adequate sleep is needed to fight disease - from the common cold to cancer.

What Causes Snoring?
Some people snore when they have a cold or a sinus infection. Actually, anything that can block the airway can cause snoring - even large tonsils and adenoids.
Too much alcohol can also relax the throat and tongue muscles which can also cause blockage of the airway.
Overweight people have a tendency to snore because it can lead to bulky throat tissue.

Can it be Food Allergies?
For a long time I suspected that Doug's snoring was due to his diet. He eats way too much wheat. He can polish off a loaf of bread in the blink of an eye. He makes 3 small loaves of banana bread for our vacation rental guests - 1 for them and 2 for him. He eats multiple bowls of wheat flakes several times a day or polishes off an English muffin or two for a snack. We often eat cream of wheat for breakfast when it's cold out. And of course pasta is one of our favorite food groups.
Because he can eat all this and still be the thinest and fittest man I know, it was hard to suggest that he kick the wheat habit. Except that I thought it was the reason he snored!

The Big Experiment
I noticed that every time my husband consumed any wheat product, he'd either sneeze or get all stuffy. I gently suggested that he try not eating wheat for a few weeks - "stop eating wheat or I'm moving you into the guest room!". (As previously mentioned, sleep deprivation can make you bitchy.)

So for almost a month now, Doug's been gluten free.
* He switched his morning cereal to oatmeal or gluten-free flakes made from corn, rice, flax, quinoa, or amaranth.
* He now buys gluten-free English muffins (which unfortunately have the consistency of hockey pucks but they are growing on us.)
* We eat a lot of rice (especially now that we've discovered Tamaki Haiga.)
* He always asks for gluten-free soy sauce when we eat at Asian restaurants.
* We only eat Ancient Harvest pasta made from quinoa and corn or Tinkyada Brown Rice pasta.
* We make muffins and baked goods out of oat flour.

The Results
I'm happy to report that Doug has stopped snoring almost completely and I'm getting a lot more sleep. He's getting a lot more sleep too because I'm not poking him in the ribs asking him to roll over and stop snoring.

Other Allergens
A number of foods can cause allergies and lead to snoring. If this is an issue for you or your sleep-mate, you can try eliminating some or all of these common allergens. 
The following foods account for 90% of all food allergies in the United States:

* Peanuts
* Soy
* Eggs
* Wheat
* Tree nuts
* Dairy 
* Fish and Shellfish

No comments: