Foods to Avoid with AFIB – Atrial Fibrillation Diet

AFIB is a serious condition that needs to be managed very carefully and this diet plays a vital role in people who are diagnosed with such a condition. 

AFIB is the short form of Atrial fibrillation which is a type of arrhythmia or we can say abnormal heartbeat. It is generally observed that the heart beats extremely fast in such conditions, which is usually more than 400 beats per minute.

Atrial Fibrillation Diet

AFIB is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow to the body. The erratic electrical signals that cause the irregular heartbeat originate in the atria (upper chambers of the heart).

This condition increases the risk by about four to five times of having a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or stroke. However, If a person’s diet is managed well then AFIB generally does not become life threatening. What you eat can impact your overall cardiac health and either reduce or trigger episodes of arrhythmia.  Thus it becomes quite important for people with such conditions to know about all the food items that should be avoided to prevent any kind of non comfort or future problems.   

Here are some tips for foods to avoid or limit if you have atrial fibrillation (AFIB):

  1. Caffeine: Caffeine should be reduced. It is found in coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks can trigger arrhythmias in some people. Limit to no more than 200 mg per day.
  2. Limit Alcohol: Alcohol can disrupt the heart’s regular rhythm and make AFIB worse. It’s best to avoid alcohol altogether or have only a light intake of 1 drink per day for both men and women. That too let your cardiologist know about this. Best is if a person just completely stops consuming alcohol.
  3. Cut Back on Processed Meats: Processed meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs and deli meats are high in sodium which can promote fluid retention. This makes it harder for the heart to pump effectively.
  4. Sugar: Be mindful of very sugary foods. Foods with a lot of added sugars like sodas, candy, and baked goods should be limited as they can cause sharp spikes in blood sugar and inflammation.
  5. Reduce Saturated And Trans Fats: These unhealthy fats found in red meat, full fat dairy and fried foods can increase inflammation and risk of heart disease. Focus on healthier fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts and fish.
  6. Cut back on sodium: Salt causes the body to retain fluid, putting extra strain on the heart. Check labels and choose low sodium options. Limit to 200 mg or less per day. 
  7. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration causes blood to thicken, making it harder to pump. Drink plenty of water and limit diuretics like caffeine and alcohol which can lead to dehydration.

– Recommended Dietary habits:- 

What dietary habits are recommended?

  1. Stay hydrated with water
  2. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains
  3. Choose healthy fats like olive oil and avocados
  4. Include lean protein sources like fish, skinless poultry
  5. Read nutrition labels and opt for low sodium versions
  6. Control portion sizes and maintain a healthy weight

Final Takeaway: The key is to focus on a balanced heart healthy diet with emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Following an AFIB diet can help reduce symptoms and complications. Herbs like magnesium, omega-3s, coenzyme Q10, ginger and garlic may help lower inflammation, regulate heart rhythm and control blood pressure. Check with your doctor before taking supplements. Following a heart healthy diet tailored for AFIB can make a big difference in reducing episodes of arrhythmia and associated complications. Consult with your healthcare provider for personalized dietary recommendations.

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