We all know that medications we take always come with side effects. I mean all you have to do is turn on the television and watch the multitude of commercials that advertise a (sometimes) long list of normal and abnormal side effects.

That’s the unfortunate part of life. Especially if it’s something that’s prescribe long-term or for life.

How many of you actually read the warning labels that come along with medications whether they’re prescribed by your doctor or purchased over the counter?

Well, did you know that some of the foods you may be eating just might not be compatible with those meds? Yep, it’s true and the best thing you can do is arm yourself with the facts — starting with talking to your doctor and/or pharmacist about which foods and beverages you should probably avoid.

Here’s a short list to get you started:

Blood Pressure Medication

Being one of the most prescribed medications out there, if you’re one who takes a medication for your blood pressure, take note. As you may or may not already know, blood pressure meds can raise the potassium levels in your body which can cause irregular heart beat, leading to cardiac arrest. Obviously you want to avoid this serious occurrence.

Drug Examples — Monopril, Univasc, and Zestril

Foods to avoid: Potassium-rich

  • Bananas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Other leafy greens

If you’re planning to make changes to your diet (due to a new years resolution or for better health) and want to add more fruits and veggies, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor first. Certain diets such as diuretic can actually raise potassium levels.

Blood Thinners

Another highly prescribed medication.

Drug Examples: Coumadin, Warfarin, and Jantoven

Foods to avoid: Vitamin K

  • Leafy greens – Kale, collard greens, spinach, swiss chard, parsley
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cranberries
  • Cranberry juice

Foods high in vitamin K can actually block the effects of warfarin which can put you at risk of developing blood clots. Limiting those leafy greens to one meal per day is typically recommended.

Cholesterol Medications

Drug Examples: Lipitor, Zocor, Lipex, and Mevacor (generics – Lovastatin, Atorvastatin, Simvastatin)

Foods to avoid: Grapefruit

Drinking or eating grapefruit can actually prevent the break down of the drug in the liver which can increase your risk of accumulating toxic amounts of the med in your body.


Drug Examples: Monodox, Sumycin, Dynacin (generics: Doxycycline, Tetracycline, Minocycline)

Foods to avoid: Dairy

You don’t have to totally avoid dairy altogether, just try avoiding any form until a few hours after you’ve taken a dose of that antibiotic. Reason being, calcium binds to the antibiotic which prevents your body from absorbing it. So, rather than wasting your money due to the drug staying within your intestines and ending up in the toilet bowl, skip the dairy 2 hours before or wait for a few hours later after taking your medicine.

Thyroid Medication

Drug Examples: Levoxyl, Synthroid, Levothroid (generics: Levothyroxine)

Foods to avoid: Soy

  • Tofu
  • Soy milk
  • Soy products
  • Walnuts

Eating tofu or drinking soy milk can prevent your body from absorbing that medication.


Drug Examples: Plavix (generics: Clopidogrel)

Foods to avoid: 

  • Garlic
  • Ginger

Garlic and ginger are natural blood thinners so obviously, eating these foods can prevent blood from clotting when necessary, causing excessive bleeding.

Anti-Anxiety Medication

Drug Examples: Ativan, Xanax, Valium, Klonopin (generics: Lorazepam, Diazepam, Clonazepam, Alprazolam)

Foods to avoid: Alcohol

Drinking alcohol when you’re taking an anti-anxiety medication can intensify it’s calming effects, making you feel drunker, sleepier or you may have trouble remembering things. Mixing these pairs can also slow down the rate of your breathing.

Aside from the foods you eat, it’s a very good idea to watch your medications when you’re taking a combination for different conditions. Of course your physician or physicians should be aware of each and every prescription medication you are taking, but it’s also a good idea to fill your prescriptions at the same pharmacy so a red flag will come up should a doctor prescribe a medication that is not compatible with another you’re already on.

© 2013, BellaSavvy. All rights reserved.


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