You will agree with me that because atrial fibrillation is so big shock, you will do anything to try and prevent it. Diet tips to prevent afib may only be one of the guns you use to shoot down the AFIB monster, but it is a BIG gun! Here’s the deal.
The best chance you have to beat the afib dragon is……
Know as much as you can about it and then act on it.
We understand that our body is a system and everything is connected, maybe more than we think, THEREFORE!
Can you afford to ignore diet tips to prevent afib?
This post will concentrate on diet tips to prevent afib, with the understanding that your doctor, cardiologist,healthcare worker and healthy lifestyle must always be the center of your management of atrial fibrillation, and most of all.
Diet tips to prevent afib must always be seen as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
- CHECK YOUR CAFFEINE INTAKE. We’re not just talking about coffee! There are mixed feelings and research about coffee and it’s role as an afib trigger. Some studies say moderate coffee intake is unlikely to trigger an afib attack. The fact that most people agree on is that caffeine is a stimulant and it increases your heart rate. The influence and impact of coffee can also differ from person to person.
Many other products also contain caffeine. Very important! Read the food labels.Although I know about the diet tips to prevent afib and what caffeine can do, I made a boo boo! During a cycle training ride, I drank a caffeine-filled energy drink handed to me from a cycling friend. How bad could it be, I thought, but a day after the ride I was in afib.Rooibos tea is a wonderful alternative to drinking coffee.
- AVOID PROCESSED AND FRIED FOODS. They are high in saturated fat, and that can increase the risk of heart diseases and stroke. Their nutritional value is low, and they are linked to obesity.
- EAT A HEART-HEALTHY DIET. This means eating a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruits, whole grains, vegetables and limiting saturated fats.
- EAT MORE COLDWATER FISH. Coldwater fish include salmon,herring, sardines, and mackerel. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids. According to studies theses, healthy fats can protect against heart arrhythmias.
- LESS SALT! Hypertension and high blood pressure can contribute to afib. That is the reason why you should limit your intake of sodium. Processed foods is a big culprit! Read food labels and limit salt when cooking and at the table.
- CHECK YOUR WEIGHT. We all know being overweight is not good for your heart. One of the many reasons is that it contributes to sleep apnea. This in one of the big risk factors for afib.
Obesity and high blood pressure can also increase the risk of atrial fibrillation. This is one of the most important diet tips to prevent afib. That’s not all…
- NOT TO MUCH OF THE OTHER STUFF! (ALCOHOL)
Check your intake of alcohol. Moderate intake of alcohol usually does not increase the risk of afib, but binge drinking does. Many afibbers have stopped drinking alcohol, because of their personal experiences of the alcohol/afib mix. That is not the case with all afib sufferers. I enjoy light beers and red wine from time to time, but always check my intake. The combination of alcohol and dehydration, that usually results from too much alcohol intake, is very dangerous and creates the ideal situation for an afib attack.
There is a possible link between alcohol consumption and vagal tone which can play a role in afib.
The vagus is a large nerve in the neck, and increased vagal activity can lead to atrial fibrillation.
Another study by Yan Liang and others showed an increase in afib among people aged 55 and older, when there was moderate to high alcohol intake. So be careful with alcohol! Drink Rooibos tea!
DRINK ENOUGH OF THE RIGHT STUFF!
Mostly water to stop dehydration. It frequently occurs when traveling
because you are out of your usual eating and drinking habit. Skipping meals usually decrease’s fluid intake. The more dangerous situation is when vomiting and diarrhea occurs. The loss of potassium and the depletion of electrolytes has an enormous effect on the functioning of your heart.
The large volume of fluid loss is not always replaced that quickly.Any person susceptible to AFIB must be very aware of this.A combination of dehydration and exercise or activity where the heart has to work harder (faster heart rate) can trigger an AFIB attack or a worse type of arrhythmia.
Sometimes dehydration is overlooked as an AFIB trigger. Keep water in your diet!
- USE HEART-HEALTHY COOKING. Healthy food can become very unhealthy if you cook them the wrong way. Make more use of methods like roasting and broiling. Steam veggies for maximum flavor(I like mine crunchy).Limit butter, salt, and sugar in the cooking methods. The best part?These diet tips to prevent afib will also be good for your waist!
- WHOLEGRAINS ARE WHOLESOME! They still have their outer shell, and that’s where most of the fiber and nutrients hide. Try whole-grain oatmeal for a starter, and educate yourself on what foods are wholegrain and available in your local shops.
- GRAPEFRUIT AND PILLS? The powerful chemical called naringenin in grapefruit juice can interfere with the effectiveness of antiarrhythmic drugs like amiodarone (Cordarone) and dofetilide (Tikosyn). It can also affect the absorption of medication into the blood stream.
- FEED YOUR BRAIN.
Not only with the most nutritious food, but also with knowledge. Prevention is the best cure! So the more you know about what to eat and what to avoid, the safer you will feel and become. Know what works for you. Alcohol and coffee intake are good examples of knowing what you can handle and what not.Talk to your doctor and ask many questions.With new research there may be new diet tips to prevent afib, so keep up to date with blogs and news on afib.
- KEEP UP THE POTASSIUM! There may be an increase in the risk of arrhythmia if your potassium levels are low. It is an important nutrient for cardiac health, and allows muscles to work efficiently. Enough potassium is usually consumed with a balanced diet. The problem is excessive potassium loss, mostly from vomiting or diarrhea. There are also some other causes of potassium loss.
Many people only think, bananas! When you mention potassium, but there are other foods that have more potassium than a banana. Some of them are:sweet potato, avocado, White beans, yogurt, and spinach. And there are more.
- LOOK OUT FOR TYRAMINE. Tyramine can raise your blood pressure and bring on an afib attack. It can act as adrenaline on the heart and over-stimulate it.These are just some of the foods that have high levels of tyramine: Blue cheeses like Stilton, Gorgonzola, and Camembert. Aged cheeses like cheddar and Swiss cheese. Cured meats that include pepperoni and salami. Fermented cabbage like sauerkraut and kimchee. Certain sauces like soy and fish sauce. Yeast extract spreads such as Marmite and also broad bean pods like fava beans.
Tyramine will not be listed on food labels because it is a naturally-occurring compound.If you want to learn more speak to your doctor, dietitian or Mr Google.
- AND VITAMIN K? If you are taking warfarin (Coumadin) to thin your blood you must be careful about how your intake of Vitamin K may reduce the effectiveness of warfarin. According to Greg Feld, MD, patients can keep on eating veggies and salads. They must just not make any sudden changes in their diet, and keep on talking to their doctor about it.
- AVOID FOOD POISONING. OK! none of us go out and try to get food poisoning. The reason I mention it under diet tips to prevent afib is because food poisoning can quickly deplete essential nutrients. Symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and fever make you lose nutrients like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium.And therefore, during and after symptoms like these you must re-hydrate with an electrolyte solution.
If electrolyte imbalances are not rectified quickly they can affect the normal electrical activity in the heart. This can cause atrial fibrillation(AFIB).
- GET MORE MAGNESIUM IN YOUR DIET!
Your heart needs and loves magnesium. It is one of the electrolytes that helps the electrical functioning of the heart. If you have afib or any arrhythmia the doctor will most probably check your magnesium levels, as a standard test. If your levels are low you may even get magnesium intravenously (and it works!)
Most people in America do not get in, enough magnesium. You can test your magnesium levels with three types of test. The Serum Magnesium test is the standard one but can be inaccurate. The EXAtest is the best one, but more expensive.
First, try and get in more magnesium with magnesium rich foods, and remember to get into the sun. The vitamin D that you get from the sun will help with magnesium absorption. If that does not do the trick, use magnesium supplements. How can you acctually use this? Get magnesium through your skin with magnesium oils and Epsom Salts. THAT'S NOT ALL....
- WHAT ABOUT MSG? MSG is, Monosodium glutamate, and is commonly added to Chinese food, soups, canned vegetables and processed meats as a flavor enhancer. It is “generally recognized as safe”and it must be listed on food labels according to the FDA.
Researchers have found no link between MSG and heart palpitations, but there have been countless anecdotal reports of a possible link.There may be short-term reactions to MSG according to researchers. Can this short term reaction put your heart into AFIB? Many people say Yes! Specific research must be undertaken on this.Cut it out of your diet, if you are unsure. If you are brave, experiment!
- ASPARTAME? People prone to get afib were found to be sensitive to MSG and the artificial sweetener Aspartame in two “Lone” AFIB surveys . Dr Burkhart mentioned that both of these two chemicals excite cardiac tissue, and therefore…….
He further suggested that is would be beneficial to eliminate MSG and Aspartame from an AFIB patients diet.
- DO NOT OVERINDULGE! BE KIND TO YOUR VAGUS NERVE.
This vagal or vagus nerve that extends from the base of the skull to the abdomen helps regulate heart rate. Reduction in heart rate is usually the result of the activation of the vagus nerve. Overindulging in food, and specifically spicy food, as well as alcohol, can lead to the vagus nerve misfiring, and ending in arrhythmia and AFIB.Many AFIB forums are full of people talking about this vagal-afib symptoms, due to a bloated or full stomach, but it can not always be proved scientifically.My own experience is that I could not explain this vagal-afib feeling to my doctor, because. I always felt so stupid for thinking that my stomach had something to do with my heart.
The conclusion that I made (my own explanation, don’t know if it makes sense) was that because my stomach was full or bloated it touched my heart and that was why I “felt” my heart.
So far as I can recall I never went into AFIB because of a full stomach but I did experience an irregular heartbeat in many cases when my stomach was full or bloated. In this short video Dr Sanjay Gupta of York Cardiology gives valuable information about Vagal Atrial Fibrillation. Trying to understand the vagus nerve has given me new insight into my “hard heartbeats” and irregular heartbeats when I’ve had a full or bloated stomach.
YOUR COMMENTS SHARES OR LIKES
Remember to always consult your doctor about any diet changes.
Please give any comments about your own afib-diet experience, share if this post may be useful to other afibbers and like if…..well you liked the post!
In conclusion, I did not include lifestyle issues like smoking, exercise, cough medicines, prescription medicine, drugs, inhalers in this post, but may delve into it on a later stage.