Like many other health issues, atrial fibrillation (AFib) too can be efficiently managed by a healthy diet. Note that neither diet plan will help you cure AFib. But many of these diet plans can help reduce the number of AFib episodes.
Now the question is – Which diet plan should you choose? Is the keto diet a good choice? You would think that, knowing the long line of health benefits that are to come. But doctors do not seem so sure when it comes to recommending keto to their patients. Apparently, AFib and keto are not a good match. Let’s see why that is.
What Do You Need to Know About the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet, also commonly referred to as the keto diet, is what everyone keeps talking about lately.
It is a low-carb, high-fat diet with multiple scientifically-proven health benefits.
Like the low-carb diet and the popular Atkins diet, the keto diet also reduces the carb intake to a minimum. In return, it focuses on fat intake, turning fats into the primary energy source in the body. The whole idea is to put your body into a state called ketosis.
When ketosis happens, the body becomes more efficient at burning fats. But the fat is also turned into ketones inside the liver, thus supplying enough energy for the brain.
The keto diet helps lower blood sugar and insulin levels. This, in combination with the increased number of ketones, results in major health benefits.
Here are some of the biggest health benefits happening thanks to the keto diet:
- Weight loss;
- Improved insulin sensitivity;
- Reduced risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome;
- Better control over the diabetes symptoms;
- Reduced symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease;
- Reduced symptoms of Parkinson’s disease;
- Lower risk of heart disease, etc.
Can Keto Help You Eliminate AFib?
With the keto diet having so many positive effects on our health, you would think that it would be beneficial for those with AFib as well. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Although keto helps combat high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, etc. as the contributing factors for AFib, there is no scientific research that confirms its use for the actual treatment of AFib.
You see, as a result of keto, the body’s pH changes. It all has to do with the increased number of ketones in the blood and urine, due to ketosis. While keto changes the body’s pH, it can trigger episodes of AFib. Our heart is quite sensitive to any pH changes.
Keto can lead to short circuits and ectopic beats, which can then trigger AFib episodes.
That is not all. Ketosis can also lead to electrolyte imbalances. If we know anything about AFib, that is the fact that electrolyte imbalances can trigger AFib. It is especially the potassium and magnesium deficiencies that can lead to AFib episodes.
Xiaodong Zhuang, MD, Ph.D., a famous cardiologist, has stated that the keto diet can be linked to AFib.
Knowing that this popular weight loss method is not recommended to anyone with AFib.
He explained that part of the reason is the lack of carb-rich foods. The foods that he was most worried about were fruits and grains, which have been otherwise proven to reduce inflammation in the body. These carb-rich foods can reduce the symptoms of AFib, by reducing the inflammation,
On the other hand, the additional proteins and fats that people on keto are eating can trigger AFib episodes. The reason why he suspects that, as he explains, is that these two food sources may be causing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has also been linked to AFib in the past.
The Best Diet Plans for Afib
So, if the keto diet is not the right choice for you, what other options do you have? Not to worry, your doctor can recommend some great diet plans. Here are some of the most popular options.
- The paleo diet
Fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, grass-fed meat, fish, and nuts are what you will find in the paleo diet. It teaches us to stay away from processed foods, rice, bread, pasta, sugary and salty drinks, and food. That allows us to live like our ancestors once did. Reducing sugar and salt intake helps patients with AFib to better manage their symptoms.
- The Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet seems to be the most popular among patients with AFib. This diet resembles the paleo diet. Differences can be seen in the use of healthy whole grains, as well as wine, coffee, and tea in moderate amounts.
- The Rosedale and Schwarzbien diet
These are two other popular diet options among those with AFib. Both of the diet plans limit carbs, starches, sugars, and processed foods. Instead, they focus on eating fresh, whole foods.
People have been changing the way that they look and feel thanks to keto. Health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease can be easily prevented with the use of keto. But unfortunately, keto is not beneficial for everyone. Doctors suspect its efficiency among those with AFib. It seems that AFib and keto do not go well hand-in-hand. If you are wondering how different foods impact AFib condition, personal electrocardiogram ECG/EKG devices might come in handy for you. They will let you monitor your heart anywhere anytime even at the dinner table. These solutions in a short period of time can evaluate your normal heart rate and heart rhythm trend. So that you can make observations and change your activities to improve heart health.