Mediterranean Diet for Atrial Fibrillation
This doesn’t mean that since you already have AFib you wouldn’t benefit from following the Mediterranean diet. Below we’ve outlined the principles of the Mediterranean diet that can be applied to your own diet to bolster heart health.
You don’t need to be afraid of all dietary fat! Consuming “good” fat (also known as monounsaturated fat) is a staple in the Mediterranean diet.
Good fat does not cause weight gain — excess calories do! It also does not cause blockages in the heart. Monounsaturated fats include:
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Nuts and seeds
A glass or two of red wine is actually recommended as part of the Mediterranean diet! For women, one glass is recommended. For men, one to two glasses are recommended.
Grains and Legumes
Choose whole grain options of breads, pastas and rice when available. Add legumes to meals — use them in soups, as side dishes, drizzled with olive oil, or consumed with a little bit of cheese!
Have fruit as a dessert or snack, rather than pastries, cakes and ice cream. Pair it with plain Greek yogurt for added health benefit.
Try a variety of different vegetables! Drizzle them with olive oil, experiment with different cooking techniques such as grilling or stir-frying, use them liberally in salads and soups or eat them fresh.
Fish and Meat
Try to eat fish a couple of times per week. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are not only good for heart health, but also brain health.
If consuming other types of meat, select lean cuts and use them as an addition to the meal rather than the main item. An example would be topping a salad with two ounces of steak instead of having an eight-ounce steak as the main dish.
Try plain Greek yogurt instead of sweetened yogurts. Drizzle with honey or add your own fruit. Limit cheeses but experiment with different types.
A Word About Hydration…
Optimal hydration is also important. Consuming too much alcohol or caffeine and too little water can alter the fluid levels in your body, which can cause the heart to not operate effectively.
It is a good idea to consume an adequate amount of water throughout the day, especially on days when the temperature is hot or where you will be exercising.