Americans are getting sicker. Seventy percent of the diseases we are acquiring as a nation are caused by behavior, and food choices top the list.
In the past two decades alone, we have observed the overwhelming impact that poor food choices has on our waistlines. It’s not just about our pant size either—these choices have additional repercussions such as increased disease and even dull skin, hair and nails.
Often overlooked are the additional mechanisms in the human body that are affected by the types of foods we are choosing to put into our mouths at each meal. Several studies have uncovered a strong correlation between diet and poor sleep quality.
Getting too few z’s has detrimental effects on our bodies, and our appearance! Simply put, lack of sleep is not pretty! Too few hours in the sack has been shown to increase triglyceride levels, alter hunger hormones and compromise energy levels. Worse yet, it leads to graying, less vibrant skin.
As if that weren’t enough, our lack of sleep causes a vicious cycle of eating more, gaining weight and sleeping less. Could we be more beautiful if, before reaching into the refrigerator, we contemplated which foods would not only satisfy our appetites but improve our nighttime sleep quality as well?
Based on recent evidence, the answer is yes!
The results of many recent studies identify poor diet as an underlying factor of sleep apnea and excessive daytime sleepiness. Approximately 2 to 4 percent of the adult population is affected by obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, a medically diagnosed disorder that causes frequent breathing disturbances during sleep, consequentially upsetting normal sleep patterns. The incidence of sleep apnea is exponentially greater in obese people, demonstrating a direct association between weight and quality of sleep.
A recent study in the European Respiratory Journal found that adherence to a Mediterranean based diet* paired with regular physical activity for six months improved sleep parameters in 40 obese adults with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.
All were advised to follow a low-calorie diet; 20 of which were instructed to consume a prudent based diet (that’s a diet of diet of raw vegetables, fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains and dairy products) while the rest followed a Mediterranean based diet.
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