Pill bottle and fruit representing the common food and drug interactions.

Common Food and Drug Interactions: What You Need to Know

As you age, it’s not uncommon to be on multiple prescription medications and over-the-counter medications. It is all part of a healthy diet. And while you most likely have talked to your doctor about mixing different types of meds, you may not have asked about the foods you’re eating.

Did you know your morning grapefruit could be affecting your anti-depressants? Paying close attention to your diet and how it impacts the drugs you are using regularly should be an important part of your overall wellness plan.

5 Common Food and Drug Interactions

Getting an annual check-up is a great opportunity to talk to your doctor about your eating habits and to understand if there are any issues with the foods you are eating and the medications you are taking. But in the meantime, below are some of the most common food and drug interactions that you should be aware of when taking medicine.

  1. Alcohol – You should already know by now that drugs and alcohol don’t mix well together, and alcohol should be avoided for any medications you are taking. However, when it comes to anti-depressants, acetaminophen, and any anti-seizure medications, you should be especially cautious about consuming any alcoholic beverages.
  2. Dairy Products – As you age, dairy plays an important role in your diet to keep your bones strong and healthy. But if the dairy products you consume are rich in calcium, it could be counterproductive to what your blood pressure medication is trying to do. If you are on blood pressure medication, it’s best to limit your intake of calcium to below 1000 milligrams a day.
  3. Grapefruit Juice – While the exact chemicals in grapefruits that cause reactions are unknown, what is known is that grapefruit juice can interact with a variety of medications common to seniors. Among others, anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, calcium channel blockers, anti-arrhythmic drugs, and pain medications can all have adverse reactions to grapefruit juice.
  4. Spinach and Leafy Greens – Vitamin K and E are prominent in leafy greens. And while these vitamins are healthy for the body, they can also cause blood-clotting compounds that are counter-productive to blood-thinning medications. If you are on blood thinners for health issues, do your best to avoid these vitamins in your food.
  5. Cinnamon – Cinnamon has been proven to naturally lower blood sugar. And while that’s a great attribute, if you are on medications that do the same thing for diabetes, then you could run the risk of lowering your blood sugar levels too much.

While this list is not comprehensive, it gives you a good start into understand how food plays a part in the medications you take. Make note of any herbal supplements you use and provide your doctor with a full list. They will work with you to understand which foods are most important for you to avoid in your everyday diet.

Medication Management at St. Joseph of the Pines

As you age, keeping track of all the activities associated with daily living can become a chore. At St. Joseph of the Pines we can assist with medication management, housekeeping, and other daily activities to give you more time to focus on pursuing a healthier lifestyle. We encourage you to schedule a tour of our North Carolina campuses and to learn about the carefree lifestyle that awaits. Contact us today.

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