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Why Your Heart Pounds Fast after Eating

Dec 21, 2019
Woman with heart palpitations

With the winter holidays over, it’s time to get back to healthy eating and, for some residents, cold weather workouts. The holidays for many folks mean time spent with friends and family. It also means heavier meals and more opportunities to eat a few too many sweets. Whether you change your eating patterns at this time of year, or you stay consistent year-round, you may have noticed something unusual after you finished eating. In this post, we examine why some people experience a pounding heart after finishing a meal.

The Feeling of a Pounding Heart

If you watch enough romantic movies or read romance novels, you know all about the pounding heart. It’s the stereotypical flutters experienced when a character falls in love. In medical terms, these flutters are called heart palpitations. Heart palpitations don’t feel the same for every person. You may feel like your heart is fluttering, racing, or pounding. Sometimes palpitations make you feel like your heart skips a beat. Palpitations aren’t only felt in the heart. Pounding is sometimes felt in the chest, throat, or neck.

Eating and the Pounding Heart

It’s not unusual to feel like your heart’s pounding after exercise. We’ll even agree that a little romance can make the heart pound. But eating? For some patients who visit a cardiology clinic in Suffolk County, NY, meals seem to trigger heart palpitations. Eating does cause changes in blood flow, which can result in an increased heart rate. Eating can also cause an increase in blood pressure. If you overeat, you force your heart to work harder than normal. You need more blood going to your digestive system, which causes your heart rate to go up.

Your Diet May Be the Culprit

If you’re not an overeater, what you eat or don’t eat—rather than the amount of food you consume—could cause a pounding heart. You’ve likely heard about limiting processed sugars and high-carbohydrate foods. In addition to causing weight gain and other health issues, these two can cause heart palpitations in people who deal with low blood sugar, hypoglycemia. Foods that are high in sodium may also cause heart pounding. If you enjoy a lot of processed and canned foods, they could be the cause of your heart palpitations. In addition, eating rich or spicy foods may cause heartburn. A pounding heart often accompanies heartburn.

Group of friends eating

Food Allergies and Heart Palpitations

Many people today live with food allergies and food sensitivity. While milk products cause reactions in some individuals, others can’t tolerate nuts, certain fruits, or shellfish. Regardless of which specific food triggers the physical symptoms of a food allergy, heart palpitations are common during an allergic reaction.

Experiencing a pounding heart after eating a meal can feel uncomfortable. Most heart palpitations resolve themselves without medical intervention. If you notice heart palpitations after meals and want to talk to a health care professional about it, contact Peconic Bay Medical Center at (631) 548-6000 and schedule an appointment.