A third study found that two drinks each day for women did not increase the risk of A-fib, but three or more did. Another study found that the risk did not increase for men until they had more than five drinks per day.
There is some concern among experts regarding energy drinks. This is due to the high level of caffeine they contain and observed increases in the heart's contraction rate. Healthy young adults could tolerate this increase, but it could be a problem for children and those with pre-existing heart conditions.
Tips and guidelines for consumption
Even with the potential heart health benefits of moderate drinking, medical authorities generally do not advise anyone to start drinking alcohol solely to protect their hearts.
For those who do drink alcohol, the link between A-fib and alcohol use seems most apparent with chronic heavy drinking and binge drinking, and not with moderate drinking. The problem lies in defining "moderate" drinking.
StopAfib.org recommend following the general heart health guidelines, which set limits of one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
According to the American Heart Association, a drink is 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
The upper limit of safe, daily caffeine use, recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is between four and five cups of coffee, or 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine. Drinking between one and two cups of coffee per day seems to be safe, according to the American Heart Association.
Other risk factors for A-fib
Interestingly, people with A-fib report that the same activities, such as going for a walk, might prompt an attack one day and not the next.
Additionally, heart disease is a known risk factor for A-fib, as are age, obesity, and genetics, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and European ancestry.
However, there is a closer connection between obstructive sleep apnea and A-fib than any other risk factor.
A list of further potential A-fib causes includes:
- certain medical procedures
- emotional stress
- physical stress
Some more dietary factors to consider
Following a heart-healthy diet can help people with A-fib. Alcohol can be a part of that, if used in moderation, as can caffein
A heart-healthy diet may include a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
The basic elements of a heart-healthy diet include:
- eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- varying protein sources by eating legumes and simply prepared fish and poultry
- increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish like salmon, herring, or trout
- reducing sodium use to 2,400 mg per day, or less
- avoiding saturated fats and the foods that contain them
- limiting oil in general, selecting healthier oils like olive oil when using them, and avoiding tropical oils
- avoiding beverages with added sugars
- not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke
Exercising regularly is essential for supporting a healthy heart function. A very basic level of activity for heart health, as recommended by the American Heart Association, is:
- 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise 5 days a week
- muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week
People are encouraged to work with their healthcare providers to develop an appropriate exercise plan.
Content Originally Published By: Danielle Dresden A@ Medical News Today