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Many of us live our everyday lives with little to no attention to our autonomic nervous system. While some people like to track their heart rate with fit bits and other gadgets while they work out, most of the time, the average person is not giving the beat of their heart much attention.

However, if you have ever experienced heart palpitations before, then you will have an increased awareness of your heartbeat. According to Dr. Jay Sengupta, a cardiac electrophysiologist, heart palpitations “typically refers to some awareness of one’s heartbeat, and it could mean that their heartbeat is skipping, or it could be racing.” Other people have described the experience as the heart beating heavily or abnormally.

If you’ve experienced this scary sensation, it’s a good idea to pay close attention to it during and after your mealtimes. After you eat a meal, “the body increases blood flow to the digestive system, which can lead to an increase in heart rate,” says Dr. Allison Zielinski, a cardiologist at Northwestern.

Although the causes of heart palpitations can vary from person to person, there are certain food and drink triggers that can make them worse. Let’s take a look at what foods and drinks to avoid.

Why Heart Palpitations Occur After Eating

Source: Dr. Eric Berg DC/Youtube

Dr. Eric Berg DC describes heart palpitations as a skipped heartbeat or an extra beat. These irregular heartbeats can have a variety of causes. The most common one is digestion and gallbladder issues.

The next big one is low potassium levels. This is because potassium is one of the main electrolytes that control your body’s natural pacemaker.

The third main cause that Dr. Berg discusses is a PH that is too alkaline. If your blood PH level is too high, or above 7.45, your body can become too alkaline, and minerals have a harder time moving through the heart. He explains that apart from these top causes, there are common trigger foods and drinks to avoid to prevent heart palpitations from occurring. Some of these include refined carbohydrates, vegetable oils, caffeine, and alcohol.

What to avoid


When it comes to caffeine, moderation is key. Having a cup of coffee in the morning won’t be detrimental to your health. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. If you find that your heart begins to race while drinking caffeine, you may want to consider cutting down or avoiding it completely. If you experience regular heart palpitations, you may also want to stay away from energy drinks, which contain caffeine in excess amounts.


Most people generally feel fine after enjoying one drink. However, alcohol is one of the most common triggers for heart palpitations. According to Dr. Allison Zielinski, a cardiologist at Northwestern, “There is a strong association between alcohol and atrial fibrillation.” Luckily, there are plenty of alcohol-free drinks.


Consuming refined sugar in excess can cause the body to release a hormone called epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, which increases heart rate. Although everybody may react differently to foods, the 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines recommend getting no more than 10 percent of daily calories from added sugar. It’s best to avoid sodas and processed foods with hidden sugar content and eat a piece of fruit if you have a sugar craving.


Tyramine is an amino acid that is naturally found in the body. It regulates blood pressure and can be found in red wine, sauerkraut, soy sauce, and aged cheese. If too much of this enzyme is consumed, it can increase blood pressure and as a result, increase the risk of heart palpitations. These foods are best to be eaten in moderation if you have a history of high blood pressure.

High-carb foods

Processed carbohydrates are another big cause of heart palpitations. “Most carbs are broken down into glucose, or sugar, when they’re digested. As a result, they can drive up blood-sugar levels, just like table sugar,” reported U.S. News. It’s important to be mindful of what you’re eating regularly and to do your best to avoid overly processed carbs.

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