Atrial fibrillation, or a-fib for short, affects over 2.3 million people across America. A-fib can occur when the normal pumping rhythm of the atria begins to break down. So instead of a regular heartbeat, the atria pulses at an irregular and often fast rate. If left unchecked, this could lead to a stroke or worse, heart failure. So it’s important to manage your atrial fibrillation through your diet, because risk factors like high blood pressure, or coronary heart disease can play a role in your longevity or demise. Here are some foods that you shouldn’t consume if you want to stay on track and lead a long healthy life.Maintaining a healthy diet is essential once you’ve been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. In fact, when it comes to dieting, you should avoid any and all foods that can raise your heart blood pressure or heart rate.
Caffeine is, after all, a stimulant. It can trigger atrial fibrillation without warning because caffeine will increase your heart rate and bring about heart arrhythmia.
Alcohol can be a trigger for a-fib symptoms in some people, particularly women. But if you have to drink, remember to limit your intake to just one a day to stave off a more serious medical condition.
If you’re taking the blood thinner, Warfarin, then you need to be especially careful about consuming leafy green vegetables like broccoli, kale, asparagus, or spinach because they contain high levels of vitamin K, which can severely compromise the effectiveness of Warfarin.
But in people with atrial fibrillation, salt can produce high blood pressure, which increases your chances of experiencing symptoms of a-fib. So try to limit your sodium intake to no more than 1,500 milligrams a day.
A recent study in the British Heart Journal shows that tyramine, which is found in foods like fermented cabbage, fava beans, and cured meat can raise your blood pressure and bring about a-fib symptoms.
Avoid consuming items like butter and cheese. Margarine isn’t any healthier than butter as it contains trans fat. Plus the cholesterol in meat and dairy can trigger you’re a-fib too. So if all this makes you wonder what can you eat, speak with a dietician.
Foods like root vegetables, prunes and bananas have high levels of potassium which is essential for your diet. Remember that low potassium levels can actually increase your risk of arrhythmia.
That’s because grapefruit juice contains naringenin, a chemical that can interfere with amiodarone and dofetilide, which are antiarrhythmic drugs often prescribed to patients suffering from atrial fibrillation.
Multivitamins are known to interfere with Warfarin, which is often prescribed to those suffering from a-fib. Now, it’s not that you have to avoid multivitamins forever. It’s just a good idea to check with your doctor so he or she can adjust your dosage of Warfarin.
Foods like barley, brown rice, and oats are rich in whole grain fiber, which is essential in preventing a stroke. But avoid refined grains like white rice, white bread, and pasta, as these contain very few nutrients, protein, or fiber.
That’s because food poisoning often causes dehydration and depletes essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium through vomiting, diarrhea, and even a fever. This could result in a-fib symptoms that could even lead to heart failure. So if you are experiencing food poisoning, it’s essential that you rehydrate your body and restore your electrolyte balance. But in the long run, you can avoid food poisoning by cooking eggs, poultry, and meat thoroughly.
In an effort to maintain a healthy diet and a decent heart rate, try to keep the portion sizes to a minimum and avoid overeating. We know this isn’t always easy. So try to cut the usual portions in half, especially if you eat out at a restaurant, which often serves portions meant for two.
One of the most popular drinks that are high in caffeine, besides coffee, are tea and sodas. So substituting coffee with tea isn’t always a great idea, because although red tea and green tea have some major health benefits, it can be harmful to people with a-fib. Also, soft drinks are as addictive as coffee, and we can’t get enough of it, but consider drinking them in moderation. The same goes for energy drinks and chocolate.
Even healthy foods could wind up turning into an unhealthy diet if you cook it the wrong way. So remember to steam your vegetables, and broil or roast lean beef or chicken. But for your own good, don’t douse your food with too much sugar, salt, or butter. However, if the recipe calls for some fat, make sure and use unsaturated fat like canola or oil in lieu of butter.
Processed grains aren’t any good when it comes to controlling your blood sugar levels or appetite, all of which are important to someone with a-fib. So start your day off with a bowl of whole-grain oatmeal and try to introduce six servings of nutrient rich whole grains to your daily diet to ensure a healthy heart.
Vegetables don’t always taste great, especially things like spinach or Brussels sprouts, but they can maintain a healthy weight and a healthy heart. Remember that fruits and veggies provide a number of vitamins, minerals, and fiber and have very few calories. Plus, fruits are a far better alternative than processed sweets that are high in sugar and fat.
Ideally, you should only consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day. We know, it’s a drag. In fact, just one egg yolk alone contains 210 milligrams of cholesterol, and that doesn’t even include the white part. So when cooking, avoid using more than four egg yolks a week when cooking to keep that ticker in check. Also, avoid foods like shellfish and liver, which are high in cholesterol.
There’s just no way around it. Animal-based foods like butter, whole milk, ice cream, cheese, and fatty meat contain high levels of saturated fat. We know that going cold turkey is tough. But try to limit the amount of saturated fat in your daily diet to 10 perfect. You can do this by trimming any visible fat from lean meats or avoid fried and processed foods altogether.
Researchers discovered that the unsaturated fat contained in fish can protect your heart from abnormal heartbeats and reduce your risk for heart disease. This makes fish a major defense against atrial fibrillation. So try to consume fish at least twice a day, and make sure you brake, steam, broil or grill it. There’s no sense in eating fish to stay healthy if you fry it.
That’s because it contains tyramine, which can cause your blood pressure to rise and lead to some serious a-fib symptoms. So yes, it’s a sacrifice, but it’s worth it to ensure that your heart stays healthy.
Try cooking with olive oil instead. It’s a great way to avoid fattening your otherwise healthy foods when you cook. Also, we can’t stress enough how important it is to broil or roast your lean beef and chicken as well as to steam your vegetables. This not only preserves the natural flavor of what you’re cooking, but also maintains your heartbeat in check.
Since fermented cabbage also contains tyramine, your blood pressure will end up going through the rough and causing a-fib symptoms to manifest themselves.
Yes! Yes! Veggies are suppose to be good for you, but some contain vitamin K, like asparagus. So doctors recommend you stay away from asparagus or it will diminish the effectiveness of your blood thinner.
A healthy heart relies on fruits and veggies, which provide a balanced amount of nutrition, vitamins and so much more. Try to consume five servings of fruits and vegetables per day and avoid sugar and fat to keep your heart rate and medical condition in check.