Heart palpitations can be described as a sensation of a racing pulse or a pounding heart. Palpitations can also feel like a fluttering feeling in the chest or like the heart has skipped a beat. Lifestyle factors like excessive alcohol or smoking can cause heart palpitations. Medical attention may be necessary, though in some minor cases, home remedies can help to stop palpitations. Heart palpitations can result from the following conditions:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Abnormal heart rhythms, known as arrhythmias
- Heart failure
Home remedies to relieve heart palpitations
The following methods can help to reduce palpitations.
Perform relaxation techniques
Stress can have many unpleasant effects on a person’s health. It can induce or aggravate heart palpitations. It may help to try the following relaxation techniques:
- Deep breathing
- Take short breaks from work or school
- spend time outdoors
READ ALSO: Gray Hair Linked to Risk of Heart Disease
Reduce or eliminate stimulant intake
Symptoms may become noticeable after using a stimulant.
The following contain stimulants:
- Illegal drugs
- Tobacco products
- some cold and cough medications
- caffeinated beverages such as tea, soda, and coffee appetite suppressants
- Some medications for mental health and high blood pressure
READ ALSO: Experts Warn of Emerging Stimulant Epidemic
Stimulate the vagus nerve
The nerve that connects the brain to the heart is called the vagus nerve. Stimulating this nerve can help to calm palpitations. A person can do so by:
- holding the breath and pushing down, as if making a bowel movement
- placing ice or a cold, damp towel on the face for a few seconds
- splashing cold water on the face or taking a cold shower
- chanting “Om”
Consult a doctor before trying this method so they can advise on the best method.
Keep electrolytes balanced
Electrolytes are molecules found throughout the body that help to transfer electrical signals. These signals play a significant role in regulating the heart rate.
A person can boost the number of electrolytes in their body by eating foods rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. A normal diet usually provides a sufficient source of sodium.
The following foods have high potassium contents. They include spinach, potatoes, bananas, and avocadoes. Dairy products and dark, leafy greens are rich in calcium. Magnesium is also found in these vegetables, as well as in nuts and fish.
Consult your doctor before trying any supplements, especially if you are also taking prescription medication.
Dehydration of the body causes the heart to work extra hard to circulate blood, which can lead to heart palpitations.
READ ALSO: 8 Health Benefits of Drinking Water
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. The recommended amount will vary, depending on age, sex, and whether a person is pregnant. A person should drink a full cup or glass of water when:
- their heart rate increases
- their urine is dark
- they feel thirsty
- the skin is dry
- they have dry mouth
- they have a headache
- they feel dizzy
Avoid excessive alcohol use
Alcohol is a depressant and does not typically raise the heart rate. While drinking in moderation is not necessarily problematic, some research indicates that even one drink per day can increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation. A palpitating heart is just one symptom of this condition.
Exercise can improve general cardiovascular health and restore the natural rhythm of the heart. It can also help to reduce stress and anxiety. Cardiovascular exercise helps to strengthen the heart, which can prevent or reduce palpitations. Exercises that may help include swimming, walking, biking, running, and jogging.
Note that exercise may trigger palpitations in some people, so it is important to identify and avoid tricky exercises.