Coumadin, also known as warfarin, is a blood thinner used to treat and prevent blood clots, thus preventing blocked arteries, heart attacks and stroke.
Many foods are safe to eat while taking Coumadin, but some can affect how well your Coumadin works, therefore, it is important to pay attention to what you eat while taking the medication.
Vitamin K acts as a natural blood-clotting agent within the body and can interact with Coumadin, making it ineffective. While taking Coumadin, it is necessary to consume consistent amounts of vitamin K in your diet. The daily adequate intake of vitamin K for adult males is 120 micrograms; for adult females, the adequate intake is 90 micrograms per day, according to the Institute of Medicine.
While eating small amounts of foods that are rich in vitamin K should not cause a problem, avoid eating or drinking large amounts of:
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Green tea
Certain drinks can increase the effect of warfarin, leading to bleeding problems. Avoid or drink only small amounts of these drinks when taking Coumadin:
- Cranberry juice
Vegetables are rich in many nutrients, including vitamin K. Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, Brussels sprouts and kale are especially good sources of vitamin K. This does not mean that you have to avoid these vegetables; you simply need to consume approximately the same amount each day. You can also choose from low vitamin K vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, celery, peas, peeled cucumber, pepper, eggplant, tomato and zucchini.
Fruit is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Fruit contains low amounts of vitamin K and can be eaten freely. Good fruit choices include oranges, kiwi, grapes, bananas, prunes, cranberry juice, melon, plums, raisins, fruit cocktail, blueberries and apple sauce.
Dairy products are also low in vitamin K and are acceptable on a Coumadin diet. Milk, cheese, cream, yogurt and ice cream are examples of dairy products you may consume.
Meat, poultry and fish such as chicken, turkey, duck, beef, steak, veal, ham and pork are acceptable when taking Coumadin, except for beef and chicken livers, which are rich in vitamin K. Avoid high-fat selections such as sausage, bacon and bologna when possible. Fish such as haddock, salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna and shellfish including clams, oysters and shrimp are also good choices.
Most breads, cereals and grains are low in vitamin K. Good examples of acceptable foods from the starch group include oatmeal, wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, quinoa, millet, couscous, cream of wheat, cereal grains, rye and granola among others.
Talk to your doctor before making any major changes in your diet and before starting any over-the-counter medications, vitamins or herbal supplements. If you or a loved one has any concerns about Coumadin, please contact us today at (904) 222-656 to schedule a consultation.
Source: Mayo Clinic