Foods to Avoid if You Have Congestive Heart Failure

Dec 22, 2020 02:15 PM EST | By Josh Summers (

Foods to avoid if you have Congestive Heart Failure
(Photo : Theo Heimann)
Medical doctor Amin Ballouz uses a stethoscope to listen to the heart beat of local resident Michael Muetze, who suffers from high blood pressure and frequent headaches, during a checkup at Ballouz's parctice on April 30, 2013 in Schwedt, Germany. Ballouz was born in Lebanon and moved to Germany as a child, and has had a general practitioner's practice in the small, east German town of Schwedt since 2010. Many of his patients are elderly and live in small villages in the region around Schwedt and Ballouz travels daily in one of his five Trabant cars to pay housecalls. Eastern Germany faces a chronic shortage of country doctors to serve rural communities.

When you have heart failure, one major thing you must do is align your diet to foods that will not harm you. 

Knowing that the heart is an important organ in the body your physician might tell you a lot of things that you need to adjust for you to enjoy life much longer with your loved ones. 

WebMD also describes the condition where the heart continues to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body, but its performance is not in tip-top shape. 

In an interview with WebMD, a registered dietitian in Toronto, Leslie Beck shares that when an individual has heart failure (sometimes called congestive heart failure), the organs do not get the proper nourishment and oxygen they need. 

Health Grades mentions that reducing or cutting off some foods may improve the quality of life of the patients. 

With a vast variety of foods in the market, it is very tricky to pick what to eat especially if you have congestive heart failure. That is why here are some of the foods that people with this condition should avoid. 

Read also: Key ingredient in tomatoes can help fight heart disease


Kaiser Permanente reports that sodium inside the body acts as a sponge because it holds extra water, which makes it harder for the heart. 

A cardiologist from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Sitaramesh Emani, MD, shares with WebMD that when an excess amount of sodium is consumed from a diet, the body wants to hold on to more fluid to go along with it. 

Health Grade adds reminds people with this condition to check the labels as sodium can go into foods which makes them less obvious.


Foods to avoid if you have Congestive Heart Failure
(Photo : Matthew Horwood)
Two women drink beer on the Hayes on December 4, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales. Following a firebreak period that ran from October 23 to November 9 the Welsh Government have introduced new rules which will prevent pubs, restaurants and cafes from selling alcohol at any time from 6pm on Friday. The rules will be reviewed on December 17.

Barry Greenberg, MD, from the University of California San Diego Health, notes in an interview with WebMD that if the heart failure is controlled with medication and the patient is not retaining any fluids, then one drink per day is okay. 

However, in certain cases, Health Grades adds that alcohol can worsen the condition of the heart wherein it does not pump very well, that is why cutting it is a must. 


Foods to avoid if you have Congestive Heart Failure
(Photo : Alex Wong)
A microphone and a glass of water is placed on a stool prior to a campaign event of Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden at Booker T. Washington High School March 1, 2020 in Norfolk, Virginia. After his major win in South Carolina, Biden continues to campaign for the upcoming Super Tuesday Democratic presidential primaries.

Although water is encouraged for most people, patients with congestive heart failure have to measure their liquid intake daily, according to WebMD. Medline Plus also points out that excess water may cause swelling, shortness of breath, and weight gain, that is why daily intake of fluids should be monitored. 


Foods to avoid if you have Congestive Heart Failure
(Photo : Stefano S. Guid)
Cup of coffee on tasting bar of the coffee factory "1895 Coffee Designers by Lavazza" on October 20, 2020 in Turin, Italy.

If you are recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure, then you might want to give up coffee, chocolate, and soda, just like what Emani notes with WebMD. He adds that excess caffeine can worsen heart failure and drive the heart rate and increase the risk of irregular heart rhythms. 

White Bread

Foods to avoid if you have Congestive Heart Failure
(Photo : Edilzon Gamez)
Pablo González, who used to come to Doris Ortegano's house for a meal, cuts bread for other peoples meals on May 13, 2019 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. One year ago, Doris Ortegano started cooking an giving away food for people in need in Barquisimeto, Lara. According to her words, she asked God how to help the others and felt this was the way to do that. She cooks from Monday to Friday and starts working at 8 in the morning. She affords part of the food and also receive donations. Nowadays, she is helped by two men who used to visit her asking for food. They deliver 250 meals a day, which consist of soup, bread or rice, arepas (traditional patty made with white cornmeal, water and salt) and sometimes salads and fried plantains.

Health Grades adds this staple food on the table to be dangerous for patients with heart failure. They point out that processed grains like white bread do nothing on the body because it has no healthful fiber. 

Avoiding these foods may help the heart with congenital heart failure be at ease. Cutting these foods will benefit them and make them enjoy life even longer. 

Related article: Studies say, Eating Junk Food is Easy, But Lots of it May Lead to Early Death, Heart Disease

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