What to Eat if You Have Sleep Apnea: 6 Foods to Try


Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Sleep apnea patients experience interrupted breathing patterns during sleep, leading to various health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

While several treatments are available for sleep apnea, including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, an oral appliance or surgery, incorporating certain foods into your diet can also be beneficial in managing symptoms.

In this article, we’ll explore six foods you can try if you have sleep apnea. Incorporating these foods into your diet can improve your sleep quality and overall health.

Recommended Foods if You Have Sleep Apnea

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation can contribute to developing sleep apnea, so consuming fatty fish may help reduce symptoms. Additionally, fatty fish is a good source of vitamin D, which has also been linked to improved sleep quality.

Whole Grains

Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats are good sources of complex carbohydrates, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent sleep disruptions. Additionally, whole grains are a good source of fibre, promoting healthy digestion and reducing the risk of developing acid reflux, a common symptom of sleep apnea.


Walnuts are a good source of magnesium, which has been shown to improve sleep quality. Magnesium is a mineral that helps relax the muscles and promote a sense of calm. This can help reduce the risk of developing sleep apnea and improve overall sleep quality. 

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds that can help reduce inflammation. Inflammation can contribute to developing sleep apnea, so consuming various fruits and vegetables can help reduce symptoms. 


Eggs are a good source of protein, which can help promote muscle growth and repair. This is important for people with sleep apnea, as the muscles in the throat and airway may need to be strengthened to reduce symptoms. 


Soy products such as tofu and soy milk are good protein sources and contain beneficial compounds called isoflavones. Isoflavones have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve overall health. Consuming soy products may help reduce sleep apnea symptoms and promote healthy sleep patterns.

Foods That You Need to Avoid

In addition to the six foods mentioned above, there are several other foods that people with sleep apnea should avoid. These foods can contribute to weight gain, inflammation, and poor sleep quality, exacerbating symptoms of sleep apnea.

High-Fat Foods

High-fat foods such as fried foods, processed meats, and full-fat dairy products can contribute to weight gain, a risk factor for sleep apnea. Additionally, high-fat foods can lead to acid reflux, a common symptom of sleep apnea. Limiting your consumption of high-fat foods and focusing on eating a balanced diet is best.

Processed Foods

Processed foods such as chips, cookies, and snack bars are often high in sugar and unhealthy fats, contributing to weight gain and poor overall health. Additionally, processed foods are often high in sodium, which can contribute to fluid retention in the body. This can increase the risk of developing sleep apnea or exacerbate existing symptoms.


Alcohol can relax the muscles in the body, including the muscles in the throat. This can contribute to the development of sleep apnea or exacerbate existing symptoms. Additionally, alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to poor sleep quality.


Incorporating the recommended foods into your diet can greatly manage your sleep apnea symptoms and improve your overall health. However, it’s important to remember that a healthy diet is just part of a larger treatment plan for sleep apnea. If you are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.

Take a sleep test at a sleep apnea clinic if you think you may have sleep apnea. We can help you find the right treatment for your needs and provide tips on managing your condition. For more information, contact Lethbridge Snoring & Sleep Apnea Clinic today!

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