Are There Foods That Lower Heart Rate Immediately? How Nutrition Affects the Heart

You’ve just finished a 5K, but your heart is still racing. At the finish line, you rummage at the food table for anything — a banana, an energy bar, some yogurt — that might calm your heart rate.

But is that possible? Are there foods to lower heart rate immediately? Let’s take a look.

About Your Heart Rate

Your heart is your body’s most important organ. Like an engine, it pumps blood throughout the body. If that engine revs too high, repeatedly and over time, excess strain on the heart can damage blood vessels and the heart muscle itself.

An individual whose heart rate is consistently above normal runs a higher risk for hypertension and other cardiovascular events like heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Keeping your resting heart rate within the normal range — 60 to 100 beats per minute — is vital to longevity. It’s why your concierge team notes your heart rate and blood pressure at every checkup: by tracking them, we gain insight into how well your heart performs.

Quote: Are There Foods That Lower Heart Rate Immediately? How Nutrition Affects the Heart

Heart Rate and Your Nutrition

Your heart rate responds, for better or worse, to the quality of the foods you consume over time. Do certain foods elevate your heart rate too much? Can other foods lower heart rate immediately?

Infographic: Are There Foods That Lower Heart Rate Immediately? How Nutrition Affects the Heart

Bad for Heart Rate

Avoid these foods known to elevate the heart rate:

  • Fried foods
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • High-sodium foods
  • Processed packaged foods
  • Many restaurant foods
  • Foods high in tyramine, an amino acid
    • Processed meats
    • Aged cheeses, like parmesan or gorgonzola
    • Soy sauce
    • Pickled or fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi
    • Chocolate

In particular, a combination of salt and tyramine can harm the heart in excessive amounts.

Also, watch the quantity of food you eat. A large meal can temporarily increase your heart rate as your body works to move blood from the heart to the digestive system.

Good for Heart Rate

So, are there foods to lower heart rate immediately?

Sorry there’s no superfood that will quickly drop an elevated heart rate. But over time, certain nutritious foods can lower your heart rate and keep your heart healthy, including:

  • Healthy fats: These fats play a crucial role in the body’s energy production, nutrient absorption, cell function, and hormone production:
    • Olive oil
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Avocados
  • Foods high in potassium: Potassium and sodium are both electrolytes — minerals that must stay balanced within the body. Potassium counteracts sodium’s effect on your blood pressure and helps regulate your heart rate. Some good choices include:
    • Bananas
    • Oranges
    • Melons
    • Leafy greens
    • Tomatoes
    • Potatoes
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Dairy
    • Tuna
    • Salmon
    • Beans
    • And again, avocados, nuts, and seeds

Other Causes of High Heart Rate

Of course, there are other factors beyond diet that may contribute to elevated heart rate, including but not limited to:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Dehydration
  • Illness
  • Smoking
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Certain medications with stimulants, like over-the-counter cold medicine with pseudoephedrine

Foster a Healthy Heart Rate

Take a few deep breaths and have that banana after the race, perhaps with some peanut butter. It may not immediately drop your heart rate, but it’s a balanced, potassium-rich snack. And be sure to drink plenty of water to restore your healthy hydration levels.

In fact, get in the habit of hydrating well and including the nutritious foods we’ve listed in your go-to snacks and meals. They’ll help regulate your heart over time.

If you often experience a high heart rate, finding the root cause and addressing it are both essential to your health. The Signature Healthcare family can explore why your heart races and help you find a balanced nutrition plan that encourages a healthy heart rate. (We can help you manage low blood pressure and low blood sugar, too.)

Reach out to schedule an appointment with a physician or nutritionist.

A headshot of Dr. Natalie Mokari, a Registered and NC Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist.

Natalie Mokari, RDN LDN

Natalie Mokari is a skilled dietitian with a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition from Clemson University, complemented by a dietetic internship in Charlotte. Her expertise spans outpatient clinical nutrition, private counseling, corporate wellness, and school food service, emphasizing a non-diet approach and mindful eating. Outside the clinic, she relishes trying new recipes, outdoor activities, traveling, and exploring Charlotte with her husband and dog.