Arrhythmias: Food That Affect Heart Rate


The frequency of your heartbeats in a minute, also known as your heart rate, is greatly affected by various factors. They are including diet, activity level, mental or emotional state and current medications. According to the American Heart Association, a heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute is generally regarded as healthy. Having certain foods or beverages, however, may cause your heartbeat to rise above your normal resting heart rate.


Caffeine, which can be found in coffee, black/green tea, some sodas and energy drinks, is a central nervous system stimulant exciting the brain and nervous system. Traditionally, doctors believed that palpitations could result from caffeine sensitivity. However, a January 2016 study stated that caffeine likely doesn’t cause palpitations. In fact, the researchers point out that there are some types of caffeine which can improve your heart health.


Alcohol also plays a role in causing arrhythmias. Scientists have recently found a link between alcohol consumption and atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and ventricular tachycardia. In fact, alcohol can directly injure heart cells and cause extra heartbeats and supraventricular tachycardia. The heart may return to normal condition and the risk of recurrent arrhythmias will reduce if the person stops drinking.


Theobromine is another nervous system stimulant naturally found in chocolate and chocolate-flavored foods, for example, ice cream, brownies, cake, candies, hot chocolate and chocolate milk. Recent research has stated that theobromine increases heart rate in a dose-dependent manner, which means that the more you consume, the greater the increase in heart rate. Avoid or limit chocolate if you are suffering from arrhythmias.


Foods and beverages with high levels of the amino acid tyramine can increase your blood pressure and lead to heart palpitations. Some of which include:

  • aged cheeses,
  • cured meats,
  • alcoholic drinks,
  • dried or overripe fruit.

Excess sugar consumption

Eating foods with high levels of carbohydrate may cause a rapid heartbeat as well. Some examples of carbohydrate foods which cause a rapid increase in blood sugar thus lead to palpitations include sugary beverages, candies, desserts, snack foods, bread, pasta and white rice. It would be better to have these high-carbohydrate foods sparingly. Or you can choose whole-grain and whole-food options instead, such as brown rice, whole-wheat bread, vegetables, and beans, since they contain more complex carbohydrates and fewer simple sugars.

Hot peppers

Some recent studies have shown that capsaicin in hot peppers, such as cayenne peppers, can help improve circulation, reduce abnormal heart rate, and hence prevent arrhythmias.

In general, in order to keep your heart as healthy as possible, try to eat heart-healthy foods and avoid specific foods which can trigger arrhythmias.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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