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. It doesn’t have to take over your life! 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. The following foods in particular are notorious for triggering symptoms of the condition. Avoid these and you will almost certainly see your quality of life improve…
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. 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 symptoms. Usually, when people with MVP drink coffee, heart palpitations become stronger and more noticeable, and then anxiety attacks may be triggered.
Tea also contains caffeine. Additionally, it comprises 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 that can trigger or worsen 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 consumption 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 the mitral prolapse condition 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 very 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 a shaky sensation, and it can trigger panic attacks. Sweets and candies are foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse.
6. SOFT DRINKS/SODAS
Soft drinks and sodas normally contain carbonated water, flavoring, coloring, and 7-12% sugar. Most also contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which disrupt the body’s control of blood sugar.
As with chocolate, sweets, and candies, when you have a soft drink or soda, your blood sugar spikes suddenly, causing the release of insulin by the pancreas. This is followed by a rapid drop that triggers or worsens the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse. Cola and some fizzy drinks also contain 5-7 mg of caffeine, which adds to the problem and 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 found in the skins and seeds. Also, the body absorbs juice much more quickly than it does whole fruits, which messes with your blood sugar and ultimately triggers or aggravates MVP symptoms.