If you want to prevent or help ease the symptoms of atrial fibrillation, changing your diet might be a good place to start.
Although a heart-healthy diet alone may not be able to fix heart problems, it’s an important step in achieving heart health. Try implementing these changes in your diet to steer yourself toward a healthier life:
1. Control your portions
Moderation is important when it comes to heart health. To figure out how much you should really be eating in home-cooked meals, study the recommended portion sizes online. Buy a food scale to measure out your portions so you know you’re not eating too much.
When you are eating out, you may often notice that portion sizes are huge. Rather than scarf down that whole meal in one sitting, try splitting your meal with a dinner pal, asking if the restaurant offers half portions, or having your server box up half your meal right when they bring it to you so you won’t be tempted to overstuff yourself.
2. Change up your protein
Limit your intake of fatty meats and instead opt for lean meats like turkey or chicken with the skin removed and extra fat trimmed off.
It’s also a good idea to eat more fish. University of Minnesota researchers found that the unsaturated fats found in fish have the potential to reduce your risk for heart disease. Some health institutions even advise that you eat fish at least twice a week. But be careful how you prepare your meats. Grilling, broiling, baking, and steaming are all great options, but you’re cancelling out your benefits if you opt for fried meats.
3. Up your veggie, fruit, and whole grain intake
Rather than filling up on processed foods, choose vegetables, fruit, and whole grains that provide you with great nutrition for very few calories. If you eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and six servings of whole grains, you will be getting plenty of fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
4. Limit your salt
Too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which can increase your risk of atrial fibrillation or make existing symptoms harder to control. Read the labels on your food to make sure they aren’t packed with salt.
When cooking or sitting down for dinner, avoid the saltshaker. Instead, steam veggies to taste their full, natural flavor.
5. Watch what you drink
Studies have found that even though moderate alcohol consumption is not likely to increase your risk for atrial fibrillation, there’s a good chance heavy drinking will. Moderate drinking assumes one drink a day for women and two for men.
Other drinks to be wary of are caffeinated beverages, like coffee or soda. Like alcohol, these drinks can possibly trigger symptoms of atrial fibrillation. Be sure to limit your intake of caffeine or cut it out completely if you feel as though you are experiencing symptoms.
What nutrition changes have you made to better care for your atrial fibrillation symptoms? Share with the community in the comments below.