Best Foods To Eat With Afib
In general, following a heart-healthy eating plan will help you limit AFib flare-ups connected with particular foods or beverages. The following are foods that help with AFib which you will want to include in your AFib diet plan:
- Fresh and frozen fruits contain vital nutrients like antioxidants that your body needs. They are a great way to get a little sweet in your meal and are an excellent replacement for high sugar, high-fat desserts.
- Fresh and frozen vegetables have essential vitamins and minerals that promote normal physiologic function. Aim to include a variety of colors daily.
- Whole grains like brown rice, oats, barley, millet, and products made from them such as whole grain bread and cereals will help provide your body with fuel for activity and fiber for healthy digestion.
- Proteins like lean beef and pork, chicken, turkey, fatty fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds build strong muscles and aid in brain function. Make sure to bake, broil, or grill your fish and meats.
- Healthy fats and oils such as avocados, olives, and olive oil, canola, peanut, safflower, and sesame oil help maintain healthy brain and nerve function.
- Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese provide calcium to build and preserve strong bones.
- Drink water and un-caffeinated tea or coffee as your primary beverages.
The American Heart Association recommends following these serving sizes every day for each nutritional category:
What Are The Worst And Best Foods To Eat With Afib
More people experience atrial fibrillation worldwide than any other known heart arrhythmia. Learning what you can do to help control AFib episodes is an essential part of managing the condition.
Your lifestyle choices play a substantial role in whether youre able to live well with AFib. Making wise decisions such as engaging in regular exercise and eating healthy, as well as taking your medications regularly, will help you limit some of the triggers associated with AFib.
Although there is no standard dietary template for AFib, there are certain foods you will want to ensure you are consistently eating, and some that you will want to avoid or consume on a limited basis. For the most part, following heart-healthy dietary guidelines, like the recommendations from the American Heart Association, will help you make wise choices.
Consider A Natural Sleep Aid
Even if youe scheduled your sleep, controlled your caffeine and alcoholintake, turned the lights out when you should, taken a warm bath before bedand, if needed, gotten treatment for your sleep apnea, slumber can be anelusive friend. And that can make pharmaceutical sleep aids and supplementsvery alluring.
Resist! Sleep drugs and supplements should only be used under a doctorsupervision, and only as a last resort. Even something as benign as over-the-counter Benadryl has been associated with dementia. And if something like Benadryl increases your dementia risk, you can only imagine what a prescription-strength sleeping pill must do to your brain.
If supplements must be tried, studiesshow magnesium may not only help your AFib but your sleep as well.Likewise, melatonin is generally quite safe and may help with sleep. Personally, I take magnesium and melatonin every night to help with sleep.
Ive also used L-Theanine and L-Tryptophan on the nights I knew sleep was going to be difficult. L-Theanine helps to calm my mind and just a tiny amount of L-Tryptophan seems to really put me to sleep. But as with any medications or supplements, please discuss with your healthcare provider first as serious complications could arise.
To see me or one of the other cardiologists specializing in AFib in our practice, please call my team at 801-266-3418. Sorry, telemedicine visits outside of the state of Utah are no longer possible due to post-COVID government regulations.
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Caffeine Consumption From Coffee And Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia and involves the two upper chambers of the heart. People with atrial fibrillation usually have a significantly increased risk of stroke.
To date, research has not demonstrated an association between coffee consumption and risk of atrial fibrillation, although some studies have suggested that coffee consumption may have a protective effect25-32:
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Serious Lifestyle Changes After A Trip To The Er
I saw Pete a few weeks after his ER visit. He’d experienced heart palpitations before, but they’d been shorter and stopped on their own. His recent episode had lasted four to five hours, and when he became short of breath, he decided to go to the emergency room. He told me that this was a wake-up call, and that he was going to make some serious lifestyle changes.
The first thing he mentioned is something I hear very often: I’ve given up coffee completely, even though I didnt want to. His additional changes included trying to lose weight, get more exercise, stress less, and eat a better diet. But did he really have to give up coffee?
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Create The Perfect Sleeping Room
Scheduling a bedtime is important, but once you get tobed, everything needs to be in order so that you can do what youe supposedto be doing there. This includes maintaining a clean, quiet and cool room withplenty of fresh air. If little sounds awake you, consider some background white noise for better sleep.
It also means remembering the most important purpose foryour bed: Sleep. Everything else can be done somewhere else, and most thingsshould be done somewhere else.
To be very clear on this point: Our beds are not the right place for eating.Theye not the right place for working. And theye absolutely not the rightplace for creen timeof any sort.
Some More Dietary Factors To Consider
Following a heart-healthy diet can help people with A-fib. Alcohol can be a part of that, if used in moderation, as can caffeine.
The basic elements of a heart-healthy diet include:
- eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- varying protein sources by eating legumes and simply prepared fish and poultry
- increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish like salmon, herring, or trout
- reducing sodium use to 2,400 mg per day, or less
- avoiding saturated fats and the foods that contain them
- limiting oil in general, selecting healthier oils like olive oil when using them, and avoiding tropical oils
- avoiding beverages with added sugars
- not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke
Exercising regularly is essential for supporting a healthy heart function. A very basic level of activity for heart health, as recommended by the
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See How Caffeine Makes You Feel
Although the research doesnt currently support a link between caffeine and arrhythmias, if you find caffeine seems to worsen the condition, consider cutting down.
There are patients who may be sensitive to caffeine and note the onset of palpitations or worsening palpitations with low or any caffeine intake, Van Herle says. I usually advise my patients with palpitations that are worsened with caffeine to cut down if they can and reassure others with arrhythmias, that are not affected by caffeine, that they can continue to use it in moderate amounts.
But there might be one exception to the caffeine rule for heart health. In general I do advise my patients to stay away from high energy drinks that contain very high caffeine content, Van Herle adds.
Irregular heartbeat, which can feel like a fluttering or racing heart, is a cause for concern because it may mean your heart isnt working properly. It can be a sign of heart disease, including coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathy . But, according to the American Heart Association, most arrhythmias are actually harmless. Only a doctor can tell for sure, so report an arrhythmia to your health care professional if you experience it.
Bright Natural Light In The Mornings And Dim Lights In The Evenings
Just as bright lights in the morning, especially bright natural light, is perfect to energize your day, keeping things dim in the evening can prepare you for sleep. And that is why electronic devices before bed can be especially problematic.
If you absolutely must use an electronic device as bedtime approaches, dondo it in the bedroom, and make sure the blue light filtering feature is on. Mosttelevisions don have a built-in blue light filtering option, so if you are going towatch a television program after dinner, do so while wearing glasses,which are designed to filter blue light. Indeed, most prescription eyeglasses now offer blue light filtering.
And for your bedroom, you want it dark. Really dark. The darker the better when it comes to restful sleep.
The reason why light timing is critical for sleep is that light works with natural melatonin production to set your circadian rhythm. Keeping your circadian rhythm in rhythm is the key to not only a great night of sleep but a long life free from cardiovascular disease as well.
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What About Following A Special Diet
What you eat also certainly plays a role in managing yourracing heartbeat.
Ms. Zumpano encourages her patients to follow a Mediterranean-style diet, which puts the focus on plant-based foods. This means building meals and snacks that are rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, nuts and olive oil.
Specific nutritious foods that are a great addition to yourdiet include:
- Fish rich in omega-3s such as salmon, sardines, herring, tuna and mackerel
- Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and other fresh fruits
- Oats, barley, quinoa, brown rice and other whole grains
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts
On the flip side, foods you should limit include:
- Red meat
- Processed foods
- Baked goods and other sugary foods and drinks
You should minimize the junk, for lack of a better word, Ms. Zumpano says. Processed foods, fast foods, fried foods and convenience foods are all high in salt and can all be classified as junk.
A high-sodium diet can also be a trigger not to mention that it can lead to high blood pressure, which also increases your risk of stroke.
Coffees Impact On Your Overall Heart Health
Recent research, including a study from the University of Southern California, has found an association between coffee drinking and longevity. Studies have also shown less cardiovascular disease among people who drink coffee, making coffee actually heart-healthy.
But what about caffeines role in all this? While many studies find benefits in coffee, many of those benefits occurred whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated. Its possible that there could be something else in coffee that boosts health. Or, it could be that there is another confounding factor affecting the results after all, these studies have only proved a link, not a cause and effect.
Research presented at an American Heart Association conference, though, provided a mechanism for how caffeine itself might improve heart health. Drinking a cup of coffee significantly improved blood flow among small blood vessels, which may keep your heart from having to work too hard.
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Tips For Including Favorite Foods In Your Diet
Following a healthy diet to help control your AFib doesntmean you have to give up all your favorites. Some small adjustments can help.
For instance, instead of buying macaroni and cheese in a boxor frozen, make your ownusing whole-grain pasta, low-fat cheese and skim milk.
Plus, practice portion control. Treat yourself to a donuthole rather than a couple of donuts.
Portion control gives you the ability to have unacceptablefoods in small amounts, Ms. Zumpano says.
If you are overweight, taking a blood thinner, or havediabetes other health issues, talk to your doctor about other ways to modifyyour diet to help control your AFib symptoms.
The bottom line? You can help minimize your symptoms byfinding your threshold for common triggers like alcohol and caffeine andfollowing a plant-based diet.
Is Caffeine Good For Your Heart
A recently published study has indicated that consumption of caffeine may not just be not bad for those who suffer from atrial fibrillation or heart arrhythmia, but may actually reduce the frequency of arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat, and AFib is the most common type of arrhythmia, in which the electrical signals to the heart fire abnormally, causing the upper and lower chambers of the heart to beat in an uncoordinated manner.
Two different studies demonstrated that regular coffee consumption decreased the occurrence of AFib. One analysis of nearly 230,000 study participants indicated a nearly 6 percent decrease in AFib among coffee drinkers, while another analysis of 116,000 patients indicated a 13 percent reduction.
But just like with many other things, just because something can be good doesnt mean that more of it will also be good. Some studies indicated that up to 500 milligrams of caffeine daily could be consumed safely without increasing the risk of heart arrhythmia. But once patients began to drink 9 and 10 cups of coffee a day, the risk of arrhythmia began to increase. Thats far more coffee than most people would drink, although it isnt far from the average consumption of people in countries such as Finland, whose citizens drink about three times more coffee per capita than Americans, and the other Nordic countries who drink similarly high amounts of coffee.
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Coffee And Energy Drinks: Not All Caffeinated Products Are The Same
It makes sense that coffee may cause heart problems. Coffee contains caffeine, a heart stimulant that can elevate heart rate and cause palpitations. Atrial fibrillation is a fast, abnormal heart rhythm that can also cause palpitations. When you put the two facts together, cutting coffee out of your diet seems like a reasonable lifestyle change to prevent future electrical problems in your heart.
In my experience, people typically group all caffeinated products together when they talk about lifestyle changes. I want to consider coffee alone. Energy drinks are their own distinct product, and as such can convey unique risks different from coffee, tea, or sodas. These drinks often contain very high levels of caffeine in addition to one or more heart stimulants, and the multiple stimulants can be a dangerous mix for people who are vulnerable to abnormal heart rhythms.
I’ve seen young people die from cardiac arrest who consumed multiple energy drinks and then exercised, but I’ve never seen such events in people who drink coffee.
Is Caffeine Safe Protective For Patients With Afib Arrhythmias
Some caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea may be safe and may reduce the frequency of arrhythmias, according to a state-of-the-art-review published April 16 in JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.
Aleksandr Voskoboinik, MBBS, et al., analyzed multiple population-based studies to determine an association between caffeine intake and its effects on atrial and ventricular arrhythmias. The studies consistently showed a decrease in atrial fibrillation with an increase in caffeine ingestion, with one meta-analysis of 228,465 participants showing AFib frequency decreasing by 6 percent in regular coffee drinkers, and a further analysis of 115,993 patients showing a 13 percent risk reduction.
The authors found that caffeine does not appear to increase the likelihood of ventricular arrhythmia. In addition, caffeine doses up to 500 mg daily did not increase the severity or rate of ventricular arrhythmias. A randomized study of 103 post-MI patients who received an average of 353 mg/day resulted in improved heart rate and no significant arrhythmias. Only two studies showed an increased risk for ventricular arrhythmias, in which patients ingested at least 10 cups and nine cups per day, respectively. According to the authors, energy drinks should be avoided by patients with pre-existing heart conditions. Three quarters of patients with pre-existing heart conditions who consumed two or more energy drinks per day reported palpitations within 24 hours.
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What Is Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation occurs when the two smaller, upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly instead of rhythmically. This abnormal condition can allow blood clots to form inside the heart and later travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
Patients may take medications prescribed by their doctor to reduce the risk of blood clots or to regulate their heartbeat. Usually, a doctor may suggest dietary and lifestyle changes to reduce the complications of AFib.
Coffee And Heart Disease Risk
Like energy drinks, coffee can raise your heart rate and blood pressure typically when you first start drinking it, or when you increase the amount you’re drinking. Despite these changes, no large long-term studies have shown heart disease risk associated with coffee use.
In fact, an analysis of 36 studies including 1,279,804 patients that was published in February 2014 in Circulation showed that drinking up to five cups of coffee a day protected people from heart disease, including stroke, heart failure, and cardiac death. But this study didn’t look at risk of abnormal heart rhythms. Specifically, this study did not address drinking coffee and the risk for atrial fibrillation, which is not only the most common abnormal heart rhythm, but also a frequent cause of disabling strokes.
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Try The Valsalva Maneuver
A breathing technique called the Valsalva maneuver can prevent an AFib episode. You donât need any special equipment, and you can do it pretty much anywhere. Simply pinch your nostrils and keep your mouth closed while attempting to breathe for 10 to 15 seconds. This increases the pressure inside your ear and chest, which reduces some heart arrhythmias. Your ears might pop, and thatâs OK. Just donât blow too hard, as it might damage your ear.