Fast Heartbeat After Eating

It is common to notice your heart run faster than usual after eating a heavy meal. It may also happen when your meal includes stimulants such as sugar or caffeine. However, your heartbeat should become normal once you have digested your food. You may want to see your doctor in case your heart keeps racing several hours after you have finished your meal. There can be many reasons of having a rapid heartbeat after eating, and knowing the cause helps find the best treatment.

Causes of Fast Heartbeat After Eating

1. Natural Reaction

Your heartbeat goes up because your heart starts pumping blood harder so that there is enough blood in the stomach and intestine to complete the digestion process. Without enough blood in the abdominal area after you eat your food, your body will fail to assimilate food effectively. 

2. Eating Too Much

Consuming large meals may well be the reason why you are experiencing fast heartbeat. Your body increases the flow of blood to the digestive tract to help digestion when you consume too much food. As a result, your heart has to beat harder and faster to provide enough blood. This increased blood flow is at its highest about 25-40 minutes of having a large meal and may last up to a couple of hours. 

3. Eating Specific Foods

Specific food triggers may also cause fast heartbeat following a meal. The most common triggers are alcohol and caffeine. You may also have other food sensitivities that you can track only when you keep a food diary for a few weeks. Moreover, some food additives are also responsible for causing fast heartbeat. High sodium meals, Monosodium glutamate consumption, and nitrates can also cause and aggravate heart palpitations. You may also notice fast heartbeat if you are sensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat.

4. High-Sugar Meals

If your meals contain empty calories or excessive sugars, you are likely to deal with fast heartbeat. In order to process sugar, the pancreas releases a lot of insulin. Sometimes, your system produces too much of insulin that lowers your blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar leads to the release of adrenaline that can make your heart beat faster.

5. Certain Medications

Are you taking any medications with your meals? They may be the ones to blame in your case. Certain medications such as pseudoephedrine, asthma inhalers and thyroid medications can trigger fast heartbeat after eating. If you have just started a new medicine and are experiencing fast heartbeat, be sure to inform your doctor immediately.

6. Meal Experience

Sometimes fast heartbeat is related to meal experience instead of the food itself. It means you may experience rapid heartbeats due to the act of swallowing. Standing up soon after finishing your meals may also cause this condition. The same is the case when your experience stress or anxiety during the meal, because such emotions can cause heart to beat fast.

7. Allergies

Your racing heart may indicate you have allergies. A severe allergic reaction can increase your pulse rate quickly after having a meal. This usually happens when you develop an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which usually occurs within a few minutes of consuming an allergen. Sometimes, food additives are the real culprits, which include aspartame, sulfites, benzoates, and a range of preservatives, such as nitrates, parabens, and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene). Seek immediate medical help if there is a sharp increase in your pulse rate after eating something you are allergic to.

How to Deal with Fast Heartbeat After Eating

In most cases, an elevated pulse rate is your body's natural response following a meal. Still, it can make you feel concerned. Here are some suggestions.

1. Identify the Cause of Fast Heartbeat

You do not need to worry too much about the racing heart after eating, but it is still a good idea to talk to your doctor to pinpoint the real cause of fast heartbeat. You may require medical treatment in case your condition is the outcome of digestive or endocrine problems. Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and ask you about any other symptoms you may be experiencing. They may also order several diagnostic tests, including urine tests, blood tests, a stress test, an electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram, and a Holter monitor test to help make a diagnosis properly.

2. Tips for Treating Fast Heartbeat After Eating

Here are some tips you can try to resolve the issue and normalize your heartbeat again:

  • Look for the problem food and eliminate it from your diet, especially if you experience rapid heartbeats after consuming certain foods. Avoid eating large meals and take your time to chew and swallow your food. Having smaller meals more frequently may also help prevent this condition along with keeping bloating and gas at bay.
  • Sip some green tea or water to lubricate the food. This aids in digestion and slows down the heart rate a bit.
  • Relax your nerves and do not feel alarmed when you notice your pulse rate going up. Lie down on the bed and take slow, deep breaths. This works great in case your heartbeat is the outcome of stress or anxiety. Consider lying on your left side because it helps improve digestion. 
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