Do I need to avoid certain foods for my AFib?

Do I need to avoid certain foods for my AFib?

If you’re on medications to treat your AFib, it’s important to be informed about food interactions that can interfere with your medications.

For example, anticoagulants, commonly called “blood thinners,” such as warfarin (Coumadin), help to prevent blood clots that occur due to AFib. But Vitamin K in your diet can interact with warfarin and reduce its effectiveness. Vitamin K is found in leafy, dark green vegetables such as spinach and kale, and is also found in cauliflower, parsley, green tea, and calf’s liver. See Anticoagulation and Healthy Nutrition to understand more about eating while on warfarin (Coumadin).

What if certain foods seem to trigger my AFib?

The science on “AFib triggers” has been somewhat mixed. One study published in May 2008 in the AHA’s journal "Circulation" indicates that consuming caffeinated and alcoholic beverages may trigger atrial fibrillation. It goes on to advise individuals with AFib to avoid them. However, a more recent study had a very different finding and indicated that beverages like coffee are not likely to induce AFib.

Finding what works for you

Even if the broad studies do not confirm a definitive link between certain substances like caffeine and atrial fibrillation, many people feel that certain foods and drinks are definitely “triggers” for their individual AFib symptoms. If you believe that coffee and AFib symptoms seem to go hand in hand, you may want to avoid the possible “trigger” for several weeks and chart your symptoms while you do.

What if something in my diet is a “trigger” and I haven’t discovered it yet?

Although there is some value in becoming a “food detective” in order to help your AFib, try not to become too obsessive about possible cause-and-effect ingredients. Stay informed about the latest AFib science as much as you can, and see what you learn through some basic tracking of what you eat.

Perhaps rather than expending energy to identify certain food “culprits” in your diet, you may have better success by putting your efforts toward finding ways to establish and maintain a healthy and balanced diet so that episodes of atrial fibrillation are as non-disruptive as possible to your healthy eating habits.

What about energy drinks and other stimulants?

With the increasing popularity of energy drinks among young people, it will be important that you talk with your doctor about your safety if you use these products. The level of danger to an AFib patient has not been widely studied, but there are incidents in which people have seen a cause-and-effect spike in their symptoms of AFib in response to consuming these beverages.

Your AFib experience can be enhanced by eating a well-balanced diet, tracking what you eat a couple of times each year or for a period of self-study, and doing what you can to avoid those substances that seem to have a clear link with your AFib symptoms.

Recent Discussions From The Nutrition & Dining Forum
Oceanside avatar

I want to share with you how my electrophysiologist changed my life. After my diagnosis, following an ep study, she recommended I start on a plant based diet. She recommended I watch a movie called Forks over Knives which is an amazing documentary about heart disease, diabetes etc and the links to our western diet. She gave me two websites. Nutrition facts.org and nutrition studies.com as two great resources. Also, The book, Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman who has a similar meal plan which is a little more forgiving if you can’t be totally plant based. 
I embraced the diet, lost 40 pounds over 8 months. My blood pressure is now normal with no more medication. I no longer have to take flecanide for arrhythmia or diltiazam for rate control. I have had no afib for 9 months and I was having two hour episodes every two months! I wear an Apple Watch and use the Kardia device with my iPhone to take ecgs regularly to keep track. This way of eating can reverse type two diabetes and reverse arteriosclerosis (blocked arteries).  Please check it out. I didn’t like the medications and how they affected me. I do continue with eliquis because I am a female and over 65. But, if I continue afib free for over a year, I will ask my doctor if I can go off blood thinner.  I hope you can feel better, but sometimes we have to look to ourselves and change our lifestyle. It was hard for me to give up caffeine, dairy,most alcohol and sugar, processed foods etc. But, at the end of the day I feel better, no afib for now and I believe my disease is not progressing and may be reversing. Best to you.

Spencer avatar

Ok... I guess I need to come to terms with this.  What should I be eating and/or not eating as an AFib'er?  Note that some options are non-negeotatble: Single Malt Scotch and Meat.  So vegan options are out.  I have reduced my alcohol intake to just 2-drinks per day and often that amount is zero.  I have also vastly reduced coffee intake.  I'm rather fit and eat OK but looking to see if there is something else that I should be doing.  Typical cal intake is 2,000/per day with 147 g in carbs, 42 g in fats, 135 g in protein.  Exercise is 10,000 steps per day with nearly zero other exercise due to my breathlessness.  I end up doing a lot of walking at work or around my flat neighborhood.   Resting HR is 110 with continuous AFib.  I find it easy to take in carbs as I was a runner so my body loves carbs, and find it nearly impossible to get to 135 g of protein.  The drug cocktail I'm taking has just about eliminated my appetite.  

Tinney avatar

How many of you have tried Alternative medicine, now I 'm at the opinion that a good multivitamin and a good daily detox can go a long way when it comes to heart health and perhaps other serious illness, I take one a day multivitamin 65 + proactive and a daily detox. My afib has all but disappeared and my blood pressure is lower, i 'm going to add CoQ10 soon. 

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