Foods to Avoid While On Coumadin: Avoding Tobacco and Other Foods When Taking Blood Thinners

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Coumadin is a brand name for the prescription blood thinner Warfarin. This medication, when recommended by physicians, is used for patients who have had a history of heart attack, stroke or blood clots in veins and arteries to help avoid recurrence.

When taking any prescription medication, certain foods and vitamins have counter effects with the medication which will render it useless or actually make it dangerous. For example, there are certain foods which should be avoided while taking Coumadin because they contain a large amount of vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting, thereby counteracting the intended effects of the medication.

Foods to Avoid

Foods high in vitamin K should be avoided if you’re on Coumadin. Those foods include liver, kale, spinach, turnip greens, spinach, Brussels sprouts, collards, swiss chard, parsley, cranberries, mustard greens and most leafy green vegetables.

If unable to avoid these items in the diet, be sure to work closely with your doctor to determine safe amounts to eat in conjunction with your medication dosage.

Please remember that many of these foods contain beneficial nutrients also, which contribute to overall good health, therefore your normal diet should be discussed with your doctor prior to beginning your Coumadin regimen, and he can recommend any dietary adjustments necessary.

Other Things to Avoid Drinking or Putting into Your Body

In addition to avoiding certain foods, you should also avoid drinking alcohol which can increase the occurrence and severity of certain side effects of Coumadin. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are also to be avoided while taking Coumadin, as tobacco alters the way Coumadin interacts with the body and can reduce the blood thinning effects.

Over the Counter Medications and Coumadin

Your doctor and pharmacist will also warn of interactions with other over the counter medications while on Coumadin. Do not take aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as Celebrex, Motrin, Advil, Aleve and many others. These medications can cause internal bleeding in the stomach and intestines of taken in combination with Coumadin. As always, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication while on a prescription drug.

In many cases, people on a routine regimen of prescription medication will suddenly get very enthusiastic about becoming more conscious of their health, and begin making lifestyle changes without the knowledge of their physician that can counteract some of the effects of the medicine they are on.

As always, work closely with your doctor when taking any medication or engaging in any treatment for medical conditions. Do not assume that taking any over the counter medications or herbal remedies are safe, just because they do not require prescription, when taking other prescription medications.