Certain types of foods tend to aggravate certain
Your doctor might recommend that you avoid specific foods that can
trigger your arrhythmia. To keep your heart as healthy as possible, try to eat heart-healthy foods.
Avoiding foods and beverages known to aggravate arrhythmias
certain foods and drinking certain beverages may provoke your arrhythmia. Be aware of which
substances have an effect on your arrhythmia and how to avoid them. In general,
small amounts of any food will not trigger an arrhythmia. But in larger
quantities, some foods can aggravate your heart and cause your arrhythmia to
occur or get worse. Be aware of the foods listed below, as they may trigger
your arrhythmia. It is a good idea to talk with your doctor about
your diet. You may want to specifically talk about the items in the table
What to avoid if you have an arrhythmia
How it aggravates your arrhythmia
Alcohol can trigger arrhythmias in some
Caffeine is a stimulant, which speeds up your
heart rate. Caffeine can trigger arrhythmias in some people.
Alcohol can cause arrhythmias in people
with normal hearts and can cause heart conditions that result in arrhythmias.
People who drink heavily can develop a weak heart (alcoholic cardiomyopathy).
When this occurs, they can have various arrhythmias including atrial
fibrillation, atrial flutter, and ventricular tachycardia. The heart may return
to normal if the person stops drinking, and the risk of recurrent arrhythmias
will decrease. Alcohol can directly injure heart cells and cause extra heartbeats
and supraventricular tachycardias. Atrial fibrillation may occur after a
The most common example of a food that
triggers arrhythmias is caffeine. Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, colas,
various other soft drinks, and chocolate. People with almost any kind of rapid
arrhythmia and palpitations from any cause tend to have more frequent
arrhythmias and palpitations after ingesting caffeine. So people who have fast
arrhythmias should avoid caffeine-containing foods. Caffeine can make symptoms
such as palpitations stronger and more noticeable. Since caffeine is a
stimulant, it speeds up your heart rate, making your heart beat even faster and
making symptoms like chest pain or lightheadedness worse. In some cases, large
amounts of caffeine can even trigger a new episode of an arrhythmia by
irritating your heart's conduction system.
Fad diets: Use extra caution!
Many weight-loss diets
can be harmful to your heart if you have an arrhythmia. Fad
diets such as liquid-based programs or high-protein regimens can affect the
concentrations of electrolytes in your bloodstream. This can, in turn, cause
problems with your heart's electrical system, which relies on electrolytes to
function properly. If you have experienced an arrhythmia in the past, you
should be cautious of fad diets. In order to avoid recurrences of your
arrhythmia, always check with your doctor before making
drastic changes to your eating habits.
When taken at higher levels,
ephedra—an herb used by some people for cold and allergy symptoms and to
improve sports performance—can cause drastic increases in blood pressure as
well as cardiac arrhythmias. Ephedra, also called ma huang, has been linked to
heart attacks, strokes, and some deaths.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.