7 tips for a better heartbeat
AFib is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. According to the American Heart Association, AFib is the most common heart rhythm disorder with more than 2.7 million Americans living with the condition.
“Avoiding certain foods can reduce an AFib episode,” says Dr. Manoj Duggal, a cardiac electrophysiologist with Advocate Heart Institute at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. “Therefore, making smart food choices is imperative for overall heart health and managing AFib symptoms.
Dr. Duggal suggests these seven tips to help manage atrial fibrillation:
- Reduce salt intake. Reducing the consumption of salt helps control blood pressure and reduces both the symptoms and the development of AFib.
- Load up on fish and seafood. These foods are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and have been shown to reduce harmful inflammation and heart arrhythmias.
- Eat your fruits and veggies. Antioxidants help protect your body from cellular damage that contributes to heart disease. Fruits such as oranges, tomatoes, strawberries and prunes and vegetables including asparagus and beets are rich in antioxidants and have been shown to reduce heart rhythm disorders.
- Eat foods rich in potassium. Potassium-rich foods such as bananas, white beans, and yogurt (plain) are known to reduce your risk.
- Watch the caffeine. Stimulants, such as caffeinated products including coffee, energy drinks, excessive chocolate and over-the-counter cough and cold medications can increase the risk for AFib.
- Don’t drink excessively. High alcohol consumption can increase AFib episodes and hinder therapy outcomes.
- Broil don’t fry. Healthier ways of cooking, such as broiling, roasting or steaming, helps lower the intake of saturated fats, which are not good for your heart.
Dr. Duggal cautions that while healthy eating is important to help control AFib episodes, medication and surgical procedures may be needed to control more advanced AFib.
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