Foods to Avoid When You’ve Been Diagnosed With AFib
While on the surface, a heart rhythm condition like Atrial Fibrillation or AFib does not seem related to diet, the truth is what we eat can affect our heart and can modify the risk for AFib. So with that said, what food should you include in your diet and what foods should be avoided when changing your diet to address your AFib diagnosis?
What to Eat
A good general rule of thumb is to follow a heart healthy diet consisting of lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and healthy, unsaturated fats. Bear in mind however, that many foods that look healthy on the outside, may not actually be so. This is particularly true in packaged foods and restaurant dishes. For any packaged food, you want as little processing as possible. You’ll also want to keep the saturated fats, sodium and sugars as low as possible. You’ll notice that on many salad dressings and soups, especially canned soups, these numbers could be through the roof despite claiming healthfulness.
What Not to Eat
Several studies have been directed toward finding the triggers of AFib, or if certain dietary or lifestyle choices can make the condition or more frequent or more severe. To this day, we do not have a full understanding of whether certain foods trigger AFib. However, we do know that obese patients are at a higher risk of developing AFib.
It is also important to remember that some foods, especially those high in vitamin K, can interact with certain medications, such as warfarin, one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for the symptoms of AFib. Therefore, please seek and follow dietary guidenace from Dr. Gidney when modifying your diet.
And What About Exercise?
Take the effort to change your lifestyle by exercising to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. While we want you to do plenty of cardio workouts like walking, jogging and more, (under Dr. Gidney’s supervision, of course!), we also want you to perform strength training exercises which help you build muscle and lose more weight and keep it off, even when at rest.
Some Other Lifestyle Considerations
Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine can have a particularly negative effect on AFib patients. Similarly, smoking creates a host of problems, one of which is increasing the risk of and severity of AFib.
Discussing your diet with Dr. Gidney first is a great way to understand what you should and should not eat and how you can modify your lifestyle to minimize the frequency and severity of AFib episodes.