Do you know which foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse?
Mitral valve prolapse symptoms can be bothersome and frustrating. Sometimes, they can be downright scary. Especially for newly diagnosed MVP sufferers. Chest pains, heart palpitations, trouble breathing, anxiety… all very common.
The good news is that MVP isn’t usually dangerous. Most patients have treatment options, and mitral prolapse symptoms can be controlled. Just eliminating certain foods from one’s diet can greatly reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms.
Yes, it will mean giving up some of the things that you love to consume, 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 and worsening symptoms of the MVP condition with a prolapsed mitral valve. Avoid the foods items on this list and you will almost certainly see your symptoms and quality of life improve.
What are the foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse?
Most people with a mitral valve prolapse do not tolerate coffee well, particularly those who are symptomatic and have the MVP syndrome. That is because it contains stimulants, the most abundant of which is caffeine. Depending on the alkaloid content of the particular coffee bean and the brewing method that is used, one cup of coffee can contain up to 300 milligrams of caffeine.
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.
When people with symptomatic mitral valve prolapse drink coffee, heart palpitations will normally occur, or palpitations become stronger and much more noticeable. There may be arrhythmias, and it may feel as though the heart is skipping beats. This often triggers panic attacks in MVP sufferers, which over time can produce phobias and lead to chronic anxiety disorders.
Tea, like coffee, contains caffeine. Additionally, it contains three other stimulants that together can cause problems, namely theobromine, theophylline, and L-theanine. An average cup of tea has up to 60 milligrams of caffeine and 1 milligram of theophylline. Theophylline is about as potent as caffeine. Theobromine is around seven times weaker than caffeine and theophylline.
Although tea generally contains a lot less caffeine than coffee, the other three stimulants produce a synergistic effect. Combined, 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. This is why tea is one of the foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse.
Removing alcohol from one’s diet is usually a good idea with symptomatic MVP. The human 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 exacerbate symptoms.
Heavy drinking of alcohol or alcohol-based beverages can cause alcoholic cardiomyopathy. This heart disease dilates the heart and injures the heart muscle, diminishing heart function. Dilation of the heart can lead to leaky cardiac valves (valve regurgitation) and potentially serious health complications. Alcohol is recognized 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 the stimulants theophylline and theobromine, as well as small traces of caffeine. Symptomatic mitral valve prolapse and caffeine consumption typically leads to unpleasant MVP symptoms. A 30-gram bar of milk chocolate has about as much caffeine as a cup of decaffeinated coffee.
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 that are present in chocolate. While some types of chocolate may offer health benefits when consumed in moderation, people with a mitral prolapse should avoid eating chocolate altogether.
Sweets and candies are a no-no when a person is looking to avoid MVP symptoms (and health problems in the body in general). Many sweet treats 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 one’s blood glucose levels.
Blood sugar spikes with sweet consumption. As a result, the pancreas is stimulated to naturally release insulin that causes a rapid decrease in blood sugar. The sudden blood sugar drop tends to result in rapid heartbeats and trembling or shakiness, and it can trigger anxiety attacks. Sweets and candies are foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse and foods to avoid without the condition.
6. Soft drinks/Sodas
Soft drinks and sodas are unhealthy and should be avoided, especially by those with the mitral prolapse syndrome and heart valve disease. These beverages normally contain carbonated water, flavoring, and coloring, as well as 7-12 percent sugar. Most soft drinks also contain artificial sweeteners (like aspartame), which disrupt the body’s control of blood sugar.
Once a soft drink or soda has been ingested, blood sugar spikes suddenly in the body, causing the release of insulin. This is followed by a rapid drop that can trigger or worsen disturbing symptoms of mitral valve prolapse. Cola and some fizzy drinks also contain 5-7 milligrams (or more with some products) of caffeine, which can bring on anxiety, panic attacks, and palpitations.
7. Fruit juice
Fruit juice contains fruit, so it is widely thought to be healthy. What most people do not realize is that fruit juices also contain a lot of sugar, which can cause all kinds of problems. Sugar is commonly found on lists of foods to avoid with mitral valve prolapse. Even 100% pure fruit juice varieties have a high sugar concentration. A 12-ounce serving of apple juice can pack up to 39 grams.
The main problem with fruit juice is the processing. Consumers get loads of sugar content but do not get the fiber and antioxidants that are present in the skins and seeds of the fruit sources. Also, the body absorbs juice much more quickly than it absorbs whole fruits. This affects blood sugar, which can trigger and aggravate MVP symptoms in those with a prolapsed mitral valve.
Are there any other things to avoid with mitral valve prolapse?
Yes. Diet wise, it is best to limit refined grains and foods that are high in trans and saturated fats with MVP, such as white bread, breakfast cereals, and fried fast foods, baked goods, cheese, and butter, etc. These are foods that can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of MVP symptoms and complications. In general, it is smart to have a mitral valve prolapse diet plan.
Foods and diet aside, there are sports to avoid and exercises to avoid with mitral valve prolapse. Some types of physical activity can place a lot of strain on the mitral valve and the heart. There are also medications to avoid with a mitral prolapse. Drugs like over-the-counter pain relief medicines and weight loss pills have been known to cause cardiac problems in MVP sufferers.