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26 March 2012
Obstructive sleep apnea can be a significant health issue for men. Online personal trainer Andrew Cate looks at the positive impact that a Mediterranean diet may have on this debilitating condition.
The research A study published in the European Respiratory Journal compared the effects of a Mediterranean diet with a typical healthy diet on a small sample of obese subjects with obstructive sleep apnea, being treated with continuous positive airway pressure. Both groups were asked to eliminate or limit their consumption of junk foods, and to consume two servings per day of low-fat dairy products. The men in both groups were also asked to eat 6300 – 7560 kilojoules a day, and to increase their level of physical activity. However, the Mediterranean diet group were encouraged to consume three times more fruits, vegetables, legumes, non-refined cereals and fish, and 2/3 less red meat compared to the healthy diet group2c. The end result was that there were no significant differences in the changes in sleep parameters between the two groups. However, people following the Mediterranean diet had a reduced number of disturbances during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep. Other notable findings were that the Mediterranean diet group lost more abdominal fat, and showed a greater adherence to a reduced kilojoule intake diet. Practical tips on how to follow a Mediterranean diet A Mediterranean-style diet is not dependent on one single ingredient. Following are some suggestions on the types of foods to eat more of, that are considered ingredients of a traditional Mediterranean diet.
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