How To Plan Your Diet To Help Manage Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (or AFib)  is a heart condition which causes the heart’s upper chambers pulse at a rapid and sometimes irregular pace, resulting in an irregular heart rhythm.

Although some people with AFib experience no symptoms, it is a very serious condition. AFib can raise your risk of stroke and heart failure.

For people who have been diagnosed with AFib, one of the most important things you can do to help manage the condition is watching what you eat.

Our cardiovascular system is heavily affected by everything we eat, both in the short and the long term.

To keep your heart’s rhythms beating healthily, it’s important to eat a heart healthy diet and avoid certain foods.

Let’s take a look at some tips for eating with AFib.

Choose Whole Grains Over Simple Carbs

Whenever you can, go for whole grains over refined grains or other forms of simple carbs.

Simple carbs are little more than sugars. Sugar is a major contributor to obesity and elevated blood pressure, two things which can majorly exacerbate AFib.

Whole grains, on the other hand, are rich in nutrition. Not only are they nutritious, they have long been linked to improved heart health, with some research suggesting that eating a few servings of whole grains each day can lower your risk of heart disease.

Choose Less Starchy Vegetables And Less Sugary Fruits

Eating fruits and vegetables is always good, right? Well, if you’re eating the wrong fruits and vegetables, you might be getting more sugar in your diet than you realize.

Vegetables rich in starch such as potatoes, peas, and corn are absolutely loaded with carbohydrates and can be a major contributor to weight gain. 

Instead of eating those peas and potatoes, try having a nice leafy green salad instead!

Even when it comes to fruit, some options are better than others. While all fruit is going to be a bit sugary, some fruits have much less sugar than others. 

High sugar fruits to avoid include grapes, mangoes, and cherries. Swap these out for less sugary fruits, such as strawberries, black berries, peaches, and oranges.

Eat Protein Everyday: Focus On Fish Or Fowl

One of the main things to avoid in your AFib diet is large amounts of fats, especially transfats.

Red meat has much more saturated fats (the kind you want to avoid) than other sources of protein, such as fish and fowl. 

This means that for those keeping the health of their heart in mind its best to eschew beef, pork, and lamb, in favor of chicken and fish.

Not only are these great sources of less fatty protein, there are some other perks as well. For example, fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help promote heart health.

Keep a close eye on what your heart is doing with SonoHealth’s EKGraph tool. Take a proactive measure to manage your Atrial Fibrillation today!

Consume Healthy Fats Like Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, And Grapeseed Oil

Though it is easy to overlook, your cooking oil plays a huge role in your diet.

Choosing the wrong cooking oil can seriously boost your consumption of undesirable saturated fats, which can raise your cholesterol and put more strain on your heart.

When selecting a cooking oil, you generally want one high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fat. 

One exceptional option for heart health is olive oil. Not only is olive oil low in saturated fats, it was found to be the only source of monounsaturated fat associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke in a study with over 800,000 participants.

Consume Caffeine And Alcohol In Moderation

Studies have shown that drinking alcohol can trigger an AFib incident. Even moderate drinking can contribute to an incident. You should limit your alcohol intake to two drinks per day or less.

Though AFib patients have long been advised to avoid caffeine entirely, some research suggests that caffeine may not be entirely off limits for AFib sufferers. While caffeine consumption can trigger changes in heart rate, moderate caffeine consumption (such as a cup of coffee) is not prohibited. 

Atrial Fibrillation FAQs

1. Can a heart monitor detect Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)?

Yes. An ECG heart monitor is the device used by doctors to detect and diagnose Atrial Fibrillation. 

2. What is a normal heart rate for a person with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)?

Heart rate varies based on a wide number of factors, including an individual’s body, environment, health, and emotional state. People with AFib may have a normal resting heart rate when not experiencing AFib episodes. The average heart rate is around 60-100 beats per minute. In a heart experiencing an episode of AFib, heart rate can spike to as much as 100-175 beats per minute.

3. Can Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) be caused by anxiety?

There is some research which suggests that AFib can be triggered by anxiety or panic.

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