Eating a heart-healthy diet can help to reduce your atrial fibrillation risk factors and the good news is, making healthy changes in your diet is easier than you might think. Now, whilst diet alone cannot prevent trail fibrillation, studies have shown that making healthy adjustments to your diet can help to reduce your risk of AFib and reduce your symptoms.
When it comes to being healthy for your heart, it is best to start by reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. See our blog post on how to exercise safely with Atrial fibrillation for more information.
A heart-healthy diet can help to fend off many types of heart conditions including heart disease, heart attack and stroke and other AF risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. There are many high benefits to eating a heart-healthy diet and the plan is simple. Here are a few diet tips for atrial fibrillation to get your started!
Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure which can increase your risk of atrial fibrillation and make your symptoms harder to manage. Ideally you need to be limiting your salt intake to less than 2.4 grams per day which will require you to read food labels a bit more closely and limit the amount of additional salt your add to your food.
Although more research is needed, initial findings suggest that the unsaturated fats in fish can protect against abnormal heart beats making fish a valuable heart-healthy food choice. It’s recommended that you eat fish at leat twice per week and try heart-healthy cooking methods such as grilling, baking or steaming the fish.
The saturated fats in animal-based foods like cheese, whole milk and fatty meats are not good for your heart. Try and limit the amount of these saturated fats by cooking with low or no fat produce and trimming any visible fat off before cooking.
Fruit and vegetables provide the most nutrition, fibre and minerals for a healthy heart and healthy weight. Aim to get your 5 services of fruit and vegetables per day by switching your normal snacks such as baked goods and candy for carrot or pepper sticks, apple slices or melon.
The processed grains used in white bread and regular pasta have the outer shell removed making them less helpful at controlling your appetite and blood sugar. Try starting your day with something like this bowl of this delicious whole-grain porridge with blueberries and a small amount of cream.
One of the best ways to reach or maintain a healthy weight is to control your portion sizes. Most normal portions will often feed multiple people and can be excessive. Measuring or weighting your food can help you to learn proper serving sizes. Avoid overeating by eating at a table rather than in front of the TV. If you like to eat at restaurants try sharing a main meal or ordering starter as your main meal to avoid overeating.
Too much alcohol or caffeine can trigger symptoms of atrial fibrillation. Normal moderation suggestions for alcohol are one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men but if you suffer from AFib then even this may be too much. You need to consider you own bodies reaction to drinking alcohol. Similarly to Alcohol, drinking caffeine in moderation is unlikely to trigger atrial fibrillation but as a known heat stimulant it can increase your heart rate. Both alcohol and caffeine can cause you to urinate more frequently which can result in dehydration which will cause your heart to work harder.
Eating a heart-healthy diet is a smart way of reducing the risks and symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation. If you are struggling to adapt your diet and lifestyle, ask your doctor for ideas on creating a healthier diet for AFib. Get in touch with Dr Segal to book an appointment to discuss appropriate lifestyle changes and management options for your AF.