Dietary Considerations: How Food Interacts with Blood Thinners

Do you need to change your diet when you take blood thinner? The answer is yes. Certain foods have vitamin K or some compounds that interact with blood thinners which affect how they work. Learn how food interacts with blood thinners and what dietary considerations you should follow when taking a blood thinner in this article. Get a consultation with the best cardiologists in Brooklyn.

 

How does food interact with blood thinners?

Our blood has clotting factors that have a substance that helps the blood clump together to form a clot. Our body has 13 types of clotting factors in our blood.

Blood thinners interfere with vitamin K-dependent clotting factors, by decreasing the amount of vitamin K in the body. Without enough vitamin K to use, the vitamin K-dependent clotting factor can’t make blood clot like it usually does.

Your body makes vitamin K; however, it also gets it from certain foods you eat. So, to make your blood thinners work effectively you can limit the food that gives vitamin K. Blood thinners work because you have consistent levels of vitamin K in your body. So, if you change the amount of vitamin K you get from food, it can change the levels of vitamin K in your body which affects how the blood thinners work for you.

 

How to stay safe when taking blood thinners?

Blood thinners are lifesaving, but you need to take some precautions to stay safe when you take them. It includes:

  1. Participating in risky activities:

Any activity that can cause bleeding is something you should avoid if you take a blood thinner. That means contact sports like hockey, soccer, or football, or ones that pose a risk of serious injury if you fall like skiing, gymnastics, or ice skating. Instead, swimming or walking for exercise are better options.

Besides sports, you should avoid anything that causes injury and bleeding, even the simplest daily tasks, which can be risky when you’re on a blood thinner. So, to prevent mishaps, you should:

  • Take extra care while using knives or scissors.
  • Use an electric razor.
  • Use a soft toothbrush.
  • Be careful when you trim your nails with a nail cutter.
  • Use waxed dental floss.
  • Avoid toothpicks.
  • Wear shoes or slippers inside your house.
  • Wear gloves when gardening or using outdoor tools.

 

  1. Don’t neglect regular monitoring:

If you take a blood thinner like warfarin, then you need regular blood tests to see if the medicine is working to keep your blood from being too thin or too thick, and if the dose needs to be changed. However, newer blood thinners don’t need blood tests to monitor levels or targets.

 

  1. Don’t skip a dose or take a double dose:

You need to properly follow your doctor’s instructions for using blood thinner to ensure the medication works effectively.

 

  1. Don’t schedule certain dental work:

Common dental procedures like cleaning and filling, don’t cause a lot of bleeding, so you can have them when you’re on a blood thinner. However, your doctor may recommend avoiding more complex procedures like getting a tooth pulled or having dental implants placed, which cause more bleeding that’s harder to control.

 

  1. Don’t ignore side effects:

If you have any side effects from your blood thinner like nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness, skin rashes, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, diarrhea, or unusual bruising or bleeding, then you should tell your doctor immediately.

 

Foods to avoid

When you take a blood thinner, your doctor recommends staying away from these foods, including:

  • Foods high in vitamin K:

Vitamin K helps the body to develop and work properly and also helps with blood clots, which means if you take a blood thinner, vitamin K will work against you.

You need to know about drug-food interactions if you take warfarin, you don’t need to give up foods higher in vitamin K completely but limiting their intake from your diet, and being consistent in the portions you eat is important. Changing the intake of vitamin K daily can prevent warfarin from working properly.

Here’s a list of foods that are high in vitamin K, including:

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Collards
  • Edamame
  • Greens, like turnips and beets
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach
  • Watercress

 

Green tea also has vitamin K, so you can choose an alternative to drink like black tea, which doesn’t interact with a blood thinner.

 

  • Some fruits and juices:

If you take blood thinners, you should avoid cranberry, grapefruit, and pomegranate fruits and juices because these fruits and juices have compounds that interact with blood thinners. Some of you should limit its intake or replace it with watermelon, apples, bananas, pears, and peaches.

 

Other considerations

If you are taking a blood thinner, you should follow these considerations as well:

  1. Alcohol intake:

If you drink alcohol, you need to drink in moderation when you take a blood thinner because it affects the action of the blood thinner and increases the risk of developing blood clots. It also increases the risk of falling which causes a nasty bruise or even internal bleeding. High alcohol consumption can alter the way the body metabolizes a blood thinner. That’s why drinking alcohol in moderation is recommended.

 

  1. Supplements:

Several herbal and over-the-counter supplements can affect how the blood thinner works which makes it harder for your blood to clot, while others make you bleed too much. So, if you’re on a blood thinner you should avoid supplements like ginkgo biloba, garlic, melatonin, turmeric, fish oil, peppermint oil, St. John’s Wort, ginseng, Coenzyme Q10, fenugreek, feverfew, or talk with your doctor first.

Most multivitamins also have both vitamin K and vitamin E in them. So, if you take one now, ensure you continue it every day. If you don’t take multivitamins, then first consult with your doctor that you should start taking one.

 

  1. Medications:

Certain medications can interact with blood thinner and affect how it works. That’s why you should tell your doctor all medications you’re taking before you start a blood thinner. Some medications that can interact with a blood thinner include:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, cold medicines, and stomach remedies like aspirin, naproxen sodium, acetaminophen, etc.
  • Antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin or fluconazole.
  • Certain birth control pills
  • Certain drugs for seizures
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
  • Antidepressants such as fluoxetine
  • Other blood thinners such as clopidogrel or heparin
  • Certain antacids
  • Certain HIV/AIDS medications.

 

These are the main dietary considerations you should take when you’re taking a blood thinner because foods contain vitamin K or certain compounds that can affect how a blood thinner works. That’s why you need to talk with your doctor to know what you should eat or avoid eating when you’re on blood thinner.

 

Need help with blood thinners, visit our Cardiology clinic in Brooklyn to get professional medical support. Call us to book your appointment now! If you need tips on how to keep your heart healthy, call us on +1(347) 384-5690. The Cardiologists at Doral Health & Wellness consistently have outstanding patient satisfaction ratings. The professionals at Heart Specialist Brooklyn are able to greatly improve their patient’s health and quality of life because of their vast training and experience. New Yorkers can get the greatest medical, surgical, and cardiovascular care at Doral Health & Wellness Brooklyn. Visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11212.