Heart Palpitations After Eating

By | February 14, 2015

After eating a meal your heart needs to pump a bit faster in order to send blood to your stomach so it can digest what you just ate. Some people can feel their heart racing or fluttering while they eat and especially after they eat. These heart palpitations are quiet normal, but if you have palpitations strong enough to scare you, then you should visit your doctor to rule out any heart problems.

What Can Cause Heart Palpitations After Eating?

  • Food Allergies: Eggs, dairy, soy, fish, wheat and nuts are all foods that cause allergic reactions in a large percentage of the population. When ingested, these foods may cause the heart rate to increase temporarily. Patients may also be dizzy, have a skin rash, or have swelling in their tongue or face.
  • Hormonal Imbalance: Any disruption in the amount and proper balance of hormones in your body is usually caused by an endocrine disorder. This leads to fluctuating levels of electrolyte and glucose levels, which may cause heart palpitations.
  • Alcohol: People with atrial fibrillation should be aware that drinking alcohol may cause them to have heart palpitations.
  • Hypoglycemia: A condition where the blood glucose levels drop to below 70 mg/dL after eating a big meal. Patients with this condition will feel their heart racing and they will also experience excess sweating.
  • Rapid Gastric Emptying: Patients experiencing hypoglycemia may also suffer from rapid gastric emptying, a condition where any undigested food in the stomach is quickly flushed into the small intestine. Symptoms of rapid gastric emptying are heart palpitations, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
  • Eating Chinese Food: Sounds silly, but Chinese food contains monosodium glutamate (MSG) which is used in all Chinese restaurants to enhance the flavor of their foods. MSG can cause people to sweat, experience heart palpitations, chest pains, throat inflammation and even shortness of breath. This condition is so common that it has its own special name “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome”.

chinese food photo

  • High-fat Diet: If you wait until you are really, really hungry and then eat a large meal filled with carbs, sugars and fats, you may just wind up with a bellyache. A constant diet of the same foods leads to narrowing of the arteries. This increases your risk for having heart palpitations after you eat.
  • Too Much Caffeine: Drinking roughly 200 – 300 ml (less than two cups) of caffeinated beverages a day is not so bad. Drinking more than that could affect the nervous system which eventually may lead to heart palpitations.
  • Severe Anemia: People with anemia who have low ferritin and hemoglobin levels have weak heart muscles. This greatly increases their risks of having palpitations after they eat. The rapid heart rate is accompanied by dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Obesity: Overweight people often eat meals high in fats and carbohydrates. Couple that with the fact that they probably don’t exercise much and the end result is going to be major changes in their heart muscles. These factors just lead to obese people suffering from palpitations after they consume their large meals.
  • Digestive Disorders: Any disorder in the digestive system can lead to heart palpitations after eating. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gallstones, or even indigestion can all cause palpitations. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma may also find that they experience heart palpitations after eating.

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