Suffering from sleep apnea? Well, the humble banana may prove to be your ultimate saviour, according to a study.
Obstructive sleep apnea sufferers experience recurrent choking when the throat closes during sleep. Therefore, it is a potentially life-threatening disorder.
However, an Australian research team has found that downing an unconventional nightcap of a banana smoothie may help keep sufferers' throats open and reduce the risk of choking.
Preliminary results of a study from the University of New England in New South Wales (NSW) show the phospholipids, or fatty acids, in bananas stay active in the mouth for six hours.
Phospholipids from other sources are known to keep the throat open, and the makeup of the molecules in bananas is similar.
For the study, researchers gave eight healthy women a drink containing 130 grams of ripe banana and checked for active phospholipids at one, two, four and six hour intervals.
The results showed they were still present in the mouth after six hours, considered a satisfactory sleep period.
"Our initial findings suggest that bananas may offer a relatively cheap and tasty alternative as part of the treatment for patients with obstructive sleep apnea," The NZPA quoted researcher Dr Tom Van der Touw, as saying.
In the study, researchers also found that the banana smoothie was most effective when consumed after teeth brushing.
The research will now expand to examine the effects of consuming banana on obstructive sleep apnea sufferers who rely on breathing machines.
Dr Van der Touw said drinking a banana smoothie, made with either milk or water, before bed could reduce the amount of air pressure the machines needed to use.
The preliminary results will be presented at the annual scientific meeting of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand in Darwin this week.