7 Foods And Drugs You Shouldn’t Take Together

Foods And Drugs You Shouldn’t Take Together

Are you on medication? Whatever you do, take it properly. The food you eat can mess with drugs – so it’s vital to be careful.

This reaction is called a food-drug interaction. It can lessen the drug’s effect, making the medication pointless. Other times, it may enhance the drug’s effect, posing a harmful risk to the body.1

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Not all food will react with drugs. It’s different with every kind of medication. To play it safe, ask your doctor about these seven common food-drug interactions.

1. Grapefruit And Grapefruit Juice

Avoid Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs With Grapefruit And Grapefruit Juice

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This is a big one. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can react with almost every drug. Some are even non-prescription!

Your liver is in charge of breaking down medicine. However, grapefruit has compounds that change the way your liver works. In turn, the overall exposure of the drug can multiply up to five times.2 Grapefruit is basically a drug itself.

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Because of this risk, don’t consume grapefruit or grapefruit juice a few hours before and after taking medicine. It might be best to avoid it completely.3

Possible Food-Drug Interactions:

  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs: Simvastatin, Atorvastatin, and Pravastatin
  • Blood pressure-lowering drugs: Nifedipine
  • Organ transplant rejection drugs: Cyclosporine
  • Anti-anxiety drugs: Buspirone
  • Anti-arrhythmia drugs: Amiodarone
  • Antihistamines: Fexofenadine
  • Thyroid Medication: Levothyroxine

2. Cow’s Milk

Avoid Anti-Tumor Drugs With Cow's Milk

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Cow’s milk is a great source of dairy. Unfortunately, it contains high levels of xanthine oxidase – an enzyme that “turns off” anti-tumor medicine. To prevent this, don’t consume these drugs and cow’s milk close together.

Possible Food-Drug Medications:

  • Anti-tumor drugs: Mercaptopurine

3. Sesame Seeds

Avoid Anti-Tumor Drugs With Sesame Seeds

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Sesame seeds look harmless, but they can interact with anti-tumor drugs. The medicine might not be able to properly reduce the tumor’s size. To avoid these problems, always check food products for hidden sesame seeds.

Possible Food-Drug Medications:

  • Anti-tumor drugs: Tamoxifen

4. Ginger

Avoid Blood Thinners With Ginger

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Eating ginger is great for nausea. It’s like a natural aspirin! Yet, if you’re already taking aspirin or other blood thinners, avoid ginger. The combination may increase the risk of bleeding and blood loss.

Additionally, ginger may lower blood pressure and blood sugar, so be careful with hypertension and diabetes medication.4

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Possible Food-Drug Interactions:

  • Blood thinners: Warfarin, Clopidogrel, and Aspirin
  • Blood pressure-lowering drugs
  • Diabetes medication

5. Bananas

Avoid Bananas With ACE Inhibitors

Bananas are another “innocent” food that can interact with drugs. Specifically, they react with blood pressure-lowering medication called Angiotensin, converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. They work by increasing the body’s level of potassium – a nutrient that’s abundant in bananas.5

Together, ACE inhibitors and bananas may lead to hyperkalemia or high blood potassium. Symptoms include weak muscles, tingling, and temporary paralysis.6

Possible Food-Drug Interactions:

  • ACE Inhibitors: Benazepril, Captopril, Enalapril, Fosinopril, Lisinopril, Moeexipril, Perdinodopril, Quinapril, Ramipril, and Trandolapril

6. Soy

Avoid Osteoporosis Drugs With Soy

Soy is known for messing with the hormones. Depending on the tissue, it can mimic estrogen or block its action.7 Because of these effects, soy might interfere with these estrogen-related drugs. It may also increase the risk of bleeding when taken with blood thinners.8

Possible Food-Drug Interactions:

  • Osteoporosis drugs: Raloxifene
  • Breast cancer treatment: Tamoxifen
  • Blood thinners: Warfarin, Clopidogrel, and Aspirin
  • Anti-depressant monoamine oxidase inhibitors: Phenelzine and tranylcypromine
  • Thyroid and estrogen medications

7. Leafy Greens

Avoid Leafy Greens With Blood Thinners

Leafy green veggies like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are good for you. But because they’re full of vitamin K, eating too much may interact with some drugs. Vitamin K, after all, can inhibit blood clotting. It’s safer to consume the recommended intake and nothing more.9

Possible Food-Drug Interactions:

  • Blood thinners: Warfarin, Clopidogrel, and Aspirin

Even if you prefer holistic remedies, you can’t deny the impact of medicine. Drugs can treat – and manage – an endless list of problems. If you choose to use medicine, take the time to learn about food-drug interactions. Tweaking your diet can make or break the success of treatment.

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