Do you know which foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse?
Knowing can improve your symptoms!
MVP symptoms can be troublesome and frustrating. Sometimes, they can be downright scary. This is especially true for newly diagnosed patients, who are often introduced to a variety of new ailments in an abrupt manner. Palpitations. Trouble breathing. Panic. Chest pains. Fatigue. Well, you know.
The good news is that MVP isn’t usually a death sentence. Most patients have options, and the symptoms of the disorder can be controlled if the necessary lifestyle changes are made and maintained. Just eliminating certain foods from one’s diet can greatly reduce the frequency and severity of any symptoms when you’re living with mitral valve prolapse.
Yes, it will mean giving up some of the things that you love, but that’s a small price to pay to be able to lead a full and active life. Some foods in particular are notorious for triggering symptoms of the condition. Avoid the following and you will almost certainly see your quality of life improve.
What are the foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse?
Coffee is not tolerated well by most mitral valve prolapse patients, particularly those who are symptomatic. That is because it contains stimulants, primarily caffeine. Depending on the brewing method and alkaloid content of the particular bean, one cup can contain up to 300 milligrams.
Caffeine stimulates the autonomic nervous system, which produces an unstable state inside the body. This system regulates and controls virtually every bodily system and function, including breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. When the ANS becomes unstable, body functions slow down or speed up inappropriately. This can have a significant effect on MVP symptoms.
Usually, when people with the mitral valve prolapse condition drink coffee, heart palpitations become stronger and more noticeable and then anxiety (panic) attacks may be triggered.
Tea also contains caffeine. Additionally, it has three other stimulants: theobromine, theophylline, and L-theanine. An average cup has up to 60 mg of caffeine and 1 mg of theophylline. Theophylline is about as potent as caffeine. Theobromine is seven times weaker than caffeine and theophylline.
Although tea contains a lot less caffeine than coffee, the other three stimulants produce a synergistic effect. Together, the four stimulants can cause an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system, triggering or worsening mitral valve prolapse symptoms like palpitations, chest pain, and dizziness.
The heart relies on an internal pacemaker system to keep blood pumping consistently and at the correct speed. Alcohol interferes with this process, making the heart beat rapidly or irregularly. People with MVP should avoid alcohol because it can cause arrhythmias and worsen symptoms.
Heavy drinking of alcohol can cause alcoholic cardiomyopathy. This toxic effect dilates the heart, injures the heart muscle, and diminishes function. This dilation of the heart can lead to leaky cardiac valves. Alcohol is often cited as one of the main foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse.
The main ingredients in chocolate are cocoa and sugar. Cocoa contains significant amounts of theophylline and theobromine, as well as small amounts of caffeine. Mitral valve prolapse and caffeine don’t mix! A 30-gram bar of milk chocolate has about as much caffeine as a cup of decaf.
Eating chocolate causes a spike in blood sugar levels, which releases insulin and leads to a sudden drop in blood sugar. This can cause irregular heartbeats that are augmented by the stimulants present in chocolate. People with a mitral prolapse should avoid eating any type of chocolate.
Sweets and candies are a no-no if you want to avoid MVP symptoms. Many sweets contain rapidly digesting carbohydrates, such as refined flour and sugar. Their easily digestible nature allows the body to absorb the sugar into the bloodstream quickly once ingested, affecting blood glucose levels.
Your blood sugar spikes. As a result, the pancreas is stimulated to release insulin that causes a rapid decrease in blood sugar. The sudden drop often results in rapid heartbeats and shakiness, and it can trigger panic attacks. Sweets and candies are foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse.
6. Soft drinks/Sodas
You want to avoid soft drinks and sodas when you have mitral prolapse. These normally contain carbonated water, flavoring, coloring, and 7-12% sugar. Most soft drinks also contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which disrupt the body’s control of blood sugar.
When you have a soft drink or soda, blood sugar spikes suddenly, causing the release of insulin. This is followed by a rapid drop that triggers or worsens the symptoms of MVP. Cola and some fizzy drinks also contain 5-7 mg of caffeine, which can bring on anxiety, panic attacks, and heart palpitations.
7. Fruit juice
Fruit juices are widely thought to be healthy because, well, they contain fruit, but know this: fruit juice is loaded with sugar, making it one of the foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse. Even 100% pure varieties have a high sugar concentration. A 12-ounce serving of apple juice can pack 39 grams!
The main problem with fruit juice is the processing. You don’t get the fiber and antioxidants that are present in the skins and seeds. Also, the body absorbs juice much more quickly than it absorbs whole fruits, which affects your blood sugar and ultimately triggers or aggravates MVP symptoms.
Are there any other things to avoid with mitral valve prolapse?
Yes. It is best to limit refined grains and foods that are high in trans fats and saturated fats. These can increase blood pressure and put you at risk for MVP symptoms and complications.
In addition, there are certain medications to avoid with mitral valve prolapse. Drugs like pain relievers and weight loss pills have been known to cause cardiac problems. Diet and medications aside, there are certain sports that are best averted, as well as exercises to avoid with mitral valve prolapse.