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Are There Foods That Cause Heart Palpitations?

A wide array of factors can trigger heart palpitations, a sensation that the heart is racing, pounding or even missing a beat 1. Causes may include anxiety, fear, stress, anemia, some medications and street drugs, hyperthyroidism, fever and heart valve disease. Certain foods and beverages, as well as dietary imbalances, also can set off this phenomenon, which is upsetting and bothersome although not usually a serious health concern, according to MedlinePlus. Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing palpitations.

Caffeine

However, caffeine is a stimulant that in high concentrations -- more than the equivalent of two or three cups of coffee daily -- can cause not only palpitations, but also anxiety and insomnia, according to the “American Medical Association Complete Guide to Men’s Health.” If you are experiencing heart palpitations and fear that your caffeine consumption is a factor, gradually reduce your daily consumption 12. An abrupt halt to caffeine consumption can cause withdrawal symptoms, including headaches, according to the AMA guide.

In “Personal Health: Perspectives and Lifestyles,” authors Patricia A. Floyd, Sandra E. Mimms and Caroline Yelding cite a 1985 study by the National Institute of Mental Health that concluded caffeine can trigger panic attacks in sensitive individuals 3. These attacks are characterized by such symptoms as heart palpitations, mental confusion, excessive perspiration and shortness of breath 1. The authors suggest limiting daily caffeine consumption to 300 milligrams or less; those particularly sensitive to caffeine may have to reduce their caffeine intake more sharply.

  • However, caffeine is a stimulant that in high concentrations -- more than the equivalent of two or three cups of coffee daily -- can cause not only palpitations, but also anxiety and insomnia, according to the “American Medical Association Complete Guide to Men’s Health.”

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Dietary Imbalances

While too much of any nutrient or food can cause health problems, a deficiency of certain nutrients can be equally damaging to health. Such is the case with calcium, which in excess amounts can cause heart damage. Haas and Levin report that the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences recommends a daily intake of 1,000 mg of calcium for adults between the ages of 19 and 50, and 1,200 milligrams for those who are 51 or over. Major culprits in today’s unhealthy dietary ratio between phosphorus and calcium include soft drinks including diet sodas, processed foods such as lunch meats and cheese spreads, and excessive consumption of meats and eggs.

  • While too much of any nutrient or food can cause health problems, a deficiency of certain nutrients can be equally damaging to health.
  • Major culprits in today’s unhealthy dietary ratio between phosphorus and calcium include soft drinks including diet sodas, processed foods such as lunch meats and cheese spreads, and excessive consumption of meats and eggs.
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