Afib or Atrial fibrillation is a condition related to an irregular heart beat. It is not a life threatening disorder but it can increase the risk of stroke, congestive heart failure.
Causes of risk factors of Afib
Certain conditions or habits can lead to arrhythmia –
- Family history of Afib
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- smoking/excessive alcohol consumption
Research says that having certain heart-friendly foods, keeping weight in check, managing metabolic syndrome with proper lifestyle modifications and avoiding certain foods can help to prevent Afib.
Below are some of the foods that can help prevent Afib.
- A 2017 review found that a plant-based diet high in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains can decrease obesity and hypertension. As these are risk factors for AFib, such dietary measures may help prevent someone from developing the condition.
- Rainbow diet consisting of different coloured fruits, vegetables that are locally grown and in season help to add the different phytonutrients and micronutrients in the diet. These nutrients have a high antioxidant level and can help in preventing inflammation in the body.
- Good fats like omega 3 fats found in whole grains, nuts and seeds, avocado, eggs and fish help to reduce the bad fat and improve the lipid profile thereby having a heart protective effect.
- Fiber rich food like minimally processed grains, raw vegetables in the form of salad are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber. Fibre has multiple benefits on the gut health and also in reducing the total cholesterol in the body.
Apart from the protective foods, we also need to ensure that we exclude those foods that are inflammatory and can increase the risk of Afib. They include –
- Alcohol – A 2014 study found that even moderate alcohol intake could be a risk factor for AFib. Therefore, it may be advisable to limit or avoid alcohol.
- Sugar based foods and drinks – sugar gives empty calories. High intake can increase the risk of obesity and insulin resistance. These factors can lead to metabolic syndrome and in turn the risk for Afib.
- Processed and ultra processed foods – such foods have a high content of sodium and other additives that can cause variations in the blood pressure and obesity. They lead to inflammation in the body attacking organs like liver, heart, pancreas.
- Red meat – excessive consumption of red meat can increase bad cholesterol since red meat is rich in saturated fat. Since hyperlipidemia can be one of the risk factors for Afib. It is better to avoid or restrict the consumption of red meat.
Apart from diet, including a minimum of 30 min of physical activity, getting good quality sleep and keeping the stress levels under control can go a long way in preventing Afib condition.