Diet Do’s and Don’ts for Managing AFib

Diet Do’s and Don’ts for Managing AFib

An irregular, racing heartbeat can lead to blood clots in your heart. Atrial fibrillation, called AFib for short, increases your risk of heart failure and stroke. While there are medical treatments for the condition, part of its control depends on lifestyle changes. An overall heart-friendly diet provides the nutrition you need, while avoiding trigger food and drink can reduce the number of AFib episodes you experience. 

Atrial fibrillation specialist Dr. Michael Avaricio of Advanced Cardiac Care in Queens, New York, can help develop an AFib management plan that works for you. Book a consultation to assure control over your heart issues.

AFib fundamentals

Atrial fibrillation causes your heart to beat faster than normal. It’s due to an abnormal electrical rhythm in the upper chambers of your heart resulting in an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). AFib creates an elevated risk of cardiac arrest or stroke.

There’s little you can do about the genetic influences that may drive AFib but you can change eating habits to support a healthy heart. Some foods and drinks can trigger AFib symptoms while others provide the nutrition your heart needs to stay strong. Here are the dietary do’s and don’ts to help you manage AFib. 

Do follow a heart smart diet

A proven heart-healthy diet includes: 

The American Heart Association provides a number of heart-friendly dietary tips, including cookbooks and tips. 

Don’t binge on coffee and cola

A morning cup or occasional thirst quencher may not be an issue, but avoid draining entire pots or supersizing your soda. Switch to decaf alternatives after your first energy grabber. You'll keep blood pressure down and sleep better while avoiding a powerful AFib trigger.

Do get in to a water habit

Dehydration triggers AFib. Sipping water throughout the day is the best way to ward off dehydration. Choose water over other beverages in your diet, and remember that caffeine and alcohol can accelerate dehydration.

Don’t forget electrolytes

Low levels of potassium and magnesium act as triggers for abnormal heart rhythms. Eat foods high in these electrolytes including fruits, vegetables and fish, whole grains, fortified cereal, beans, nuts, and green leafy veggies. That’s right, plenty of the foods that are already in the heart smart diet. Leg cramping is sometimes a sign of low potassium, so keep bananas on hand for a quick boost.

Do watch the salt

Though salt may not cause high blood pressure, it can definitely aggravate an existing condition. High blood pressure can also double your risk of AFib, so substitute other spices and flavor enhancers that help reduce your sodium intake. 

Regardless of other medications or treatments you’ve received for AFib, minding your diet is a powerful preventive, a factor that you can directly control. 

Partner with the professionals at Advanced Cardiac Care in Ozone Park, Queens, New York. You can reach the office by phone or through the Request Appointment link on this page. The time to start your AFib plan is now. Don’t delay. Contact Dr. Avaricio today. 

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