Wellness Wednesday…5 Common Food-Drug Interactions


How many medications do you take?  For some of you, the list is quite long.  You’ve probably heard that grapefruit juice could interfere with your cholesterol medication; however, that’s not the only combination of food and drugs to avoid.  Believe it or not, grapefruit juice can interact with other medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.  And, many other foods commonly interact with drugs too.


On the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website, Steve Plogsted, BS, PharmD, BCNSP, CNSC, clinical pharmacist with Nutrition Support Service of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, discusses five foods that most commonly interact with medications. Please take time to read the list and see if any of the medications you take are mentioned. If so, make a note and discuss it with your doctor at your next visit.


Grapefruit Juice

“Grapefruit juice has the ability to interact with medications in various ways,” says Plogsted. One way is by increasing the absorption of certain drugs — as is the case with some, but not all, cholesterol-lowering statins. MedinePlus recommends avoiding grapefruit juice if you are taking statins.3ab5e067f85a37e38ad45e26179cacb0

Grapefruit juice can also cause the body to metabolize drugs abnormally, resulting in lower or higher than normal blood levels of the drug. Many medications are affected in this way, including antihistamines, blood pressure drugs, thyroid replacement drugs, birth control, stomach acid-blocking drugs, and the cough suppressant dextromethorphan. It’s best to avoid or significantly reduce intake of grapefruit juice when taking these medications.

But why is grapefruit juice of concern and not other citrus juices? According to Plogsted, grapefruit juice contains a class of compounds called furanocoumarins, which act in the body to alter the characteristics of these medications. Orange juice and other citrus juices do not contain these compounds. There is some concern for Seville oranges and the pummelo, which are relatives of the grapefruit.


Green Leafy Vegetables

Can-healthy-foods-interact-collard-greens-shutterstockBlood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin® (warfarin) interfere with vitamin K-dependent clotting factors. Eating too much green leafy vegetables, which are high in vitamin K, can decrease the ability of blood-thinners to prevent clotting. But, you don’t have to give up greens altogether. Problems arise from significantly and suddenly increasing or decreasing intake, as it can alter the effectiveness of the medicine. So, eat your greens in consistent amounts.


Natural Black Licorice (Glycyrrhiza)

 According to Plogsted, glycyrrhiza — a natural ingredient used to make black licorice — can deplete the body of potassium while causing an increased retention of sodium. When the body is depleted of potassium, the activity of digoxin, a medication used to treat heart failure, can be greatly enhanced, resulting in the heart not beating properly.

whitening EssenceGlycyrrhiza can also decrease the effectiveness of high blood pressure medicines. And people taking Coumadin® (warfarin) should beware that glycyrrhiza can break down the drug, resulting in an increase in the body’s clotting mechanism.

Excessive amounts of natural licorice should be avoided when taking all of these medications. However, Plogsted notes that artificially-flavored black licorice doesn’t contain glycyrrhiza and is not of concern.


Salt Substitutes

 Consumers taking digoxin for heart failure or ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure should be careful with salt substitutes, which most often replace sodium with potassium. With an increased consumption of potassium, the effectiveness of digoxin can be decreased, resulting in heart failure. And those taking ACE inhibitors might see a significant increase in blood potassium levels, as these drugs are known to increase potassium.


“There is no real need to avoid salt substitutes, although care should be taken when using the product,” say Plogsted. “If the consumer has decreased kidney function they should discuss the use of salt substitutes with their doctor.”


Tyramine-Containing Foods

 ChocolatesHigh blood levels of the amino acid tyramine can cause an increase in blood pressure. Several medications interfere with the breakdown of tyramine, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) which treat depression, and drugs used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Plogsted advises those taking these drugs to steer clear of tyramine-rich foods. The list is lengthy and includes, but is not limited to: chocolate, aged and mature cheeses, smoked and aged/fermented meats, hot dogs, some processed lunch meats, fermented soy products and draft beers (canned and bottled beers are OK).


When receiving a prescription for a new medication or taking a new over-the-counter drug, Plogsted advises consumers to always read drug warning labels and ask their physician and/or pharmacist about which foods or other drugs they should avoid or be concerned about taking.


Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!





Wellness Wednesday…How We Eat


Happy Wednesday!  Is it me, or is there a national “day” for just about everything? For instance, yesterday was National Potato Chip Day and next Monday is National Sloppy Joe Day. Who knew? Despite all of these special days, the entire month of March is National Nutrition Month. And, in honor of National Nutrition Month, I want to share with you how Kirt and I eat. We follow some basic nutrition guidelines that keep us healthy, strong, and feeling GREAT!

We Eat A Lot!IMG_3310

First thing in the morning, we eat breakfast. Then we eat again every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day. Truth be told, I probably eat more meals than Kirt does. By the end of the day, I’ve usually eaten about 6 to 7 meals.

These are 3 of the meals I’ll be eating tomorrow.


Each Meal Consists of a Protein, Carb, and Fat


I consider protein the most important component of the meal. Some of our favorite sources of protein include eggs, chicken, lean turkey, salmon, tilapia, and lean cuts of red meat.

Next, I add some sort of healthy, complex carbs. I usually do oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, or whole-wheat pasta. This week, though, I got fancy (for me) and made roasted chickpeas and steamed beets.

Next, I check the fat content. If my source of protein is higher in fat (like salmon or steak), I don’t add any additional sources of fat. If the protein source is lean or super low-fat, I add some olive oil or nuts to the meal for some healthy fat.

The last component of the meal is VEGETABLES! Most of our meals will include some kind of green vegetable….green peppers, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, or spinach. We eat most of the veggies lightly steamed or raw.


We Eat CleanIMG_3315


This means that we eat REAL food. One way to think of it is that we eat from the field to fork. That is, food that is NOT processed, packaged, or produced in a lab. Foods that don’t have food labels or foods that are natural are the best way to go.



We Prepare A Lot of Food at Once


It must sound like we spend A TON of time in the kitchen. While, yes, it does take some time and preparation, we’ve got a routine to make it manageable. We cook large batches of food about once a week. We’ll bake about 8 to 10 chicken breasts, brown a few packages of ground turkey, and bake about 8 to 10 tilapia fillets. Then we make a large batch of brown rice or quinoa and bake about 5 sweet potatoes. Then we steam all of the veggies for the week. It takes a few hours to get it all done, but then everything is prepared and ready for the week.


We Carry Food with Us All the Time


Since we eat so often, we have to carry our food with us all the time. We both have large cooler bags, so we have our meals with us when we get hungry.


One Special Meal a Week166



While we definitely believe consistency is key, we also like to have one special “cheat meal” each week. For instance, we enjoyed pizza last week. It helps to keep us on track throughout the rest of the week.



IMG_3091During this month, I encourage you to take a look at what you’re putting in your mouth. It’s true when they say, “You are what you eat!” When it comes down to it, our bodies are giant science experiments with chemical reactions going on all the time. What you put in your mouth is going to tell your body whether you’re sick or healthy, whether you’re happy or depressed, whether you’re tired or have energy. It really makes that much of a difference. It’s your choice…choose HEALTH!!!


We’d love to help you put together a food plan that works for you and your health goals.   If you have questions, let us know!


Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!






Wellness Wednesday…Eat Less Salt!


Most Americans are getting too much sodium from the foods they eat. And, the sodium in salt plays a role in high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension. (Salt is the common name for sodium chloride.)  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics* has put together these tips to help you kick your salt habit once and for all!


The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults and children ages 14 years and older reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day. Adults with prehypertension and hypertension are encouraged to reduce their intake further to 1,500 mg per day, since that can help to reduce blood pressure

Here are ways you can eat right with less salt:

Focus on Fresh Foods

Many foods in their original form, such as fruits, vegetables, fresh meats, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, milk, yogurt and grains like rice are naturally low in sodium. Include these foods more often in meals and snacks.

Eat Processed and Prepared Foods Less Often

Hotdogs and Processed FoodsHighly processed and ready-to-eat foods tend to be higher in sodium. Eat these foods only occasionally or in smaller amounts – especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs and deli or luncheon meats; and ready-to eat foods, like canned chili, soups and “instant” flavored noodles and rice.

Cook More Often at Home

Enjoy home-prepared foods where you are in control of how much salt is added. Use little or no salt when cooking. Even if package instructions say to add salt to the water before boiling, it isn’t required and can be omitted. When using canned vegetables with salt added, be sure to drain and rinse the vegetables to reduce the amount of salt.

Try New Flavors

N1312P58013CSkip the salt and try salt-free seasonings such as herbs, spices, garlic, vinegar, black pepper or lemon juice. Make your own salt- free seasonings by combining herbs and spices.

Read Food Labels

Read the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredients list to find packaged and canned foods lower in sodium. Compare the amount of sodium listed and select the product with the lower amount. Look for foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”

Use Caution with Condimentsheinz-ingredients-toxic-mercury

Foods like soy sauce, ketchup, pickles, olives, salad dressing and seasoning packets are high in sodium. Try low- sodium soy sauce and ketchup. Sprinkle only a small amount from a seasoning packet, not the entire amount.

Allow Your Taste Buds to Adjust

Like any change, it can take time for your taste buds to adapt to less salt. Foods lower in sodium may taste differently at first, but over time it’s possible to acquire a taste for foods with less salt.

Salt-Free Seasoning Blends

Boost the flavor of foods with salt-free herb and spice blends. Combine ingredients and store in a tightly covered jar. Rub or sprinkle them on food for added flavor.

Mixed herb blend: Mix together 1⁄4 cup dried parsley flakes, 2 tablespoons dried tarragon and 1 tablespoon each of dried oregano, dill weed and celery flakes.

 Italian blend: Mix together 2 tablespoons each of dried basil and dried marjoram, 1 tablespoon each of garlic powder and dried oregano and 2 teaspoons each of thyme, crushed dried rosemary and crushed red pepper.


Mexican blend: Mix together 1⁄4 cup chili powder, 1 tablespoon each of ground cumin and onion powder, 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano, garlic powder and ground red pepper and 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon.


AND Vertical

*The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.


Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!