Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Editorial Board: Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Heart Failure Prescribed Nutrition Treatment

Heart failure is a condition which refers to the inability of the heart muscle to pump sufficient blood. Lack of oxygen supply to the heart is one of the causes for heart failure. 

It is classified as:

Right-sided or Left-sided

Chronic or Acute

Systolic or Diastolic

The objective of the treatment is to enhance the pumping action of the heart. Additionally, treatment must reverse the signs and symptoms by solving the compensatory mechanism (failure to supply sufficient blood to the body). Targeting the main problem is solved through prompt treatment. 

These include:

  1. Use of medication (digoxin). The action of this medication is to strengthen the heart muscle. It improves contraction of the heart to pump blood for the body.
  2. Prolonged period of bed rest.
  3. Use of vasodilators (increase the opening of the vessels to accommodate blood circulation). The purpose of this medication is to increase the cardiac output. It works to minimize the impedance of blood flow.
  4. Use of anti-embolism stockings. The purpose of this treatment is to avoid formation of thrombus (clot) in the vessel that may block the blood flow.

Modification of lifestyle along with drug therapy can help prevent the worsening of the condition. Furthermore, this can improve the person’s quality of life and chances of survival (prognosis). For example, the person can reduce the signs and symptoms of heart failure; by controlling their self from exposing to risk factors.

Quit smoking and minimize alcohol intake are just few means to modify lifestyle. Additionally, losing weight and eating healthy foods can increase the chance of the person with heart failure to live healthily.

Abstaining from foods which are high in fats (cholesterol) and sodium can also help promote healthy lifestyle. As for the foods, people with heart failure are suggested to take these foods which restrict sodium. If the person is restricted to take sodium, we recommend this sample menu that emphasizes the sodium-free diet. 

These include:

For Breakfast

  1. Citrus Juice (Orange)
  2. Cereals with Banana
  3. Coffee with at least 1% of milk and 2 tablespoons of sugar
  4. Whole wheat toast with jelly and margarine 

For Lunch

  1. Low-cholesterol frozen yogurt (vanilla flavour)
  2. Raisin salad and carrots without salt
  3. Cranberry or apple juice (1 glass)
  4. Roast turkey with tomato and lettuce 

For Dinner

  1. Decaffeinated coffee with 1% milk and 2 tablespoons of sugar
  2. Fresh steamed green beans
  3. Gelatine dessert
  4. Pork tenderloin
  5. Baked sweet potato 

For Snack

  1. Pretzels (unsalted)
  2. Apple Juice
Potassium also plays a significant role for the nutrition therapy to people with heart failure. The function of potassium is to improve the conduction activity of the heart. However, take extra precaution when taking foods that are high in potassium. 

Too much of potassium can lead to hyperkalemia (excessive potassium in the blood). This condition can cause tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) which is not advisable for people with heart failure.

If the person with heart failure is taking diuretics (thiazide – form of diuretics that eliminated potassium) or cardiac glycosides (improve heart contractility), make sure that they take foods which are high in potassium. 

These foods include bananas, apricots, citrus fruits with their juices, ice cream, yogurt, melons, raisins, milk, fresh meats, apricots, avocados, whole grains, corn, potatoes, tomato and other products which contain tomato, green leafy veggies (spinach), dried peas, and beans.

People with heart failure should understand the purpose of nutrition therapy because this is considered as preventive measures. It helps prevent the occurrence of cardiac complications. 

Furthermore, it also prevent the worsening of heart failure – By Edterchelle Soriano