Believe it or not, what you eat can either cause snoring or make the nightly tirade that is keeping others awake and compromising your health a lot louder!

To put it simply, anything that takes up space in your airway can make you snore. Excess mucus (phlegm) or inflamed tissues within your nose and throat vibrate whilst you are struggling to breathe. What many snorers don’t realize is that food allergies – or even seemingly mild intolerances – can lead to a build-up of mucus in the nose and throat.

Ordinarily, the body produces mucus to line, moisten and cleanse the nasal passages and trap foreign particles and germs to fight infections. But, as with most things, too much of a good thing presents a problem.

Certain foods tend to send mucus-producing cells into overdrive. They secrete antibodies and a substance known as histamine which turns up the blood flow causes inflammation and stimulates mucus production.

The biggest baddies are:

  • Dairy:

    Milk protein (lactose) found in milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice cream and butter is a major culprit. Dairy products not only produce excess phlegm but also make existing mucus thicker and harder to loosen.

  • Animal Products:  Meat (especially pork), fish, poultry and eggs are high in protein and can trigger phlegm production. Choose organic meats from animals that have not been fed antibiotics and or inoculated with formaldehyde which is also a mucus builder.
  • Grains:  Foods containing processed wheat flour (gluten) build mucus, so baked goods, bread, cereals and even sweets and sauces will add to the phlegm problem. Either buy gluten-free products or eat more barley, corn, buckwheat, millet and quinoa.
  • Soy:  If you think vegetarianism is the way to go, watch out for soy which is one the worst mucus-making foods of all.
  • Fruit and Veg:  Bananas, potatoes, corn and cabbage can trigger mucus production.
  • Sugar:  Take it easy on the treats as processed sugar can turn acidic and lead to the overproduction of mucus. As almost all foods are doused with sugar these days, the list of offenders is endless – sweets, chocolates, tinned foods, pastries and pies, soft drinks, and energy drinks.

Of course, the list of phlegm producers doesn’t end there. Caffeine is found in tea and coffee and soft drinks and the many chemicals, additives (think MSG and sulphur dioxide) and colourants used to enhance our foods also trigger unpleasant reactions that heighten snoring problems.

The only way to identify the culprit is by a process of elimination… and whilst you are working your way through your list, you can get relief from Snoremeds, a mouthpiece that gently moves the lower jaw forward, opening the throat and keeping airways clear so that snorers can swallow and breathe normally.