News

Eating healthy foods can prevent an aFib episode.
September 12, 2017

Everyone says: eat right for your heart. Electrophysiologists at St. Luke’s Heart and Vascular Center tell you the same — but they also give you the reasons behind the message.

What are the three things you’re probably told the most about managing aFib risks? Get your blood pressure down. Lower your cholesterol. Control your weight. All of these factors are influenced by what you choose to eat.

Why lower your blood pressure? Electrophysiologists at St. Luke’s Heart and Vascular Center give a simple explanation: when your blood pressure is too high, it puts pressure on the heart — specifically the left atrium, which can stretch and lead to an aFib episode. Stay away from over-the-counter medicines that can affect blood pressure, and manage your salt, which can also increase blood pressure.

What’s important about cholesterol? Electrophysiologists at St. Luke’s Heart and Vascular Center compare “bad” cholesterol to road obstacles: it builds up as plaque in your blood vessels, narrowing them — which raises your blood pressure as your heart works harder to pump the blood through them.

And why watch your weight? Many of the illnesses associated with obesity, say electrophysiologists at St. Luke’s, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea, can increase your risk for an aFib attack.

Here’s what to do about it, Eat less red meat and more plant-based foods like fruits, and vegetables and whole grains. (Certain kinds of fish, like salmon and fresh tuna, contain omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.) Lower your salt intake — related to hydration, this can cause a rise in your blood pressure and trigger an aFib episode. Another tip: eat your biggest meal in the morning, when your metabolism is up and running.