Guide To The Coumadin Diet

For some people who suffer from disorders of the blood vessel, lung, and heart, they may be advised to take a type of anticoagulant medication called Coumadin. It works by preventing abnormal bleeding and formation of clots in the blood. Aside from taking this drug, these people may be prescribed to follow the Coumadin diet to support their recovery.

Since Coumadin (Warfarin) functions well with the right amount of vitamin K in your body, it helps to be consistent in consuming foods rich in this vitamin. This way, you can be certain that the dosage of Coumadin you take in will work as expected and eliminate risks of bleeding and blood clots.

Primarily, this diet requires you to consume a specific amount of vitamin K-rich foods daily. This means, you should not load up on vitamin K in one day and stop taking in this vitamin the following day. Regularity and consistency are essential factors if you want to achieve the full benefits of using Coumadin for your condition.

Key Foods to Consume Regularly

leafy greensAmong the best sources of vitamin K are dark green leafy greens, although there are other food items that contain a good amount of this vitamin such as some oils and meat products. The following foods and beverages are highly recommended to those who take Coumadin for proper management of their condition. Be sure, though, that these food items are taken in moderation and consistently each day. This way, you can prevent a sudden drop or increase of vitamin K supply in your body, which can limit the effects of this medication in treating your condition.

  • Milk and dairy except products manufactured from cow’s milk
  • Leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, beet greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, watercress, parsley
  • Fresh fruits and fruit juice except cranberry juice and grapefruit juice
  • Cauliflower and broccoli
  • Chicken, pork and beef liver
  • Soybeans
  • Beef heart
  • Liverwurst
  • Soybean oil
  • Fat substitutes
  • Canola oil
  • Margarine, salad dressing and mayonnaise made from soybean or canola oil

As for beverages that are safe to drink by those who follow the Coumadin eating plan, black tea and green tea are excellent choices. However, be sure to consult your doctor before drinking any herbal tea or supplement. By doing so, you can avoid any complications or interactions with the medication.

What to Avoid

When following this special diet, you need to eliminate certain foods and drinks that do not complement your eating plan. Some of these foods you need to avoid include the following:

  1. Alcohol – If you are advised to take Coumadin, it helps to limit or avoid entirely any intake of alcohol. It will be better if you can quit drinking alcohol permanently.
  2. Herbal Products – Herbal teas, particularly the ones that contain coumarin, are not suitable to drink for your condition. These teas include sweet woodruff, chamomile, sweet clover, and tonka bean.

In addition to certain teas, herbal supplements such as dong quai, feverfew, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, red clover, dashen and echinacea are not recommended for those taking Coumadin. You are also better off not taking a few other supplements including walnut oil, garlic oil, onion extract pills, ginger flaxseed oil, fish oil, alfalfa, and glucosamine.

Taking in vitamin E and C, particularly in amounts that are more than what is specified by the FDA, may do more harm than good to your health. However, if you only intend to use ginger, onion, garlic and fish oil as seasoning, these may be fine when consumed in moderation.

Additional Facts

Vitamin K supports clotting of the blood, a process that can save the lives of those who are suffering from abnormal and severe bleeding. However, individuals who are at risk in developing stroke or blood vessel disorders, blood clots can be fatal. This is one of the main reasons why doctors recommended some people to take Warfarin because they are prone to developing clots in their blood vessels. Other patients who are often advised to take this medication include people with atrial fibrillation and mechanical heart valves.

Coumadin tends to antagonize the effects of vitamin K, which creates problems in terms of the natural clotting cycle of the body. Although this medication can save the lives of those who suffer from pulmonary embolism and stroke, this drug can result to health concerns because of below normal levels of vitamin K in the body. These conditions include bone fractures, calcification of arteries and advanced stages of osteoporosis.

Because of the crucial effect of vitamin K to those who take this medication, it is important that the right eating plan is followed to prevent these further complications. Discuss with your doctor your plans of starting a new diet, or if you are thinking of taking in some herbal supplements, OTC medications and multivitamins. You should also seek emergency care when you experience diarrhea, fever and persistent stomach problems since these are a few of the symptoms experienced by those who are taking the wrong dosage.

Bottom Line

Coumadin is medication that is used to treat blood clots. Although there is no specific diet for those taking this drug, there are some foods and substances that can negatively impact its effect in your body. With this in mind, it is essential to pay close attention to the foods you eat to ensure the positive effects of this medication in improving your condition. For a complete list of foods suitable for those on Coumadin diet you can check out this great book: A Guide to Healthy Meals when Taking Coumadin.

For instance, vitamin K is a nutrient that can minimize the effects of Coumadin. Hence, you should take a specific dosage of vitamin K each day and avoid consuming more than you should. For women, the recommended dosage per day is 90 mg while men should not exceed 120 mg. You will have to plan carefully the foods you eat, specifically those loaded with vitamin K to prevent further issues to your health. Foods to be taken in moderation and in consistent amounts are spinach, kale, chard, green tea, parsley and Brussels sprouts. Alcohol and cranberry juice are also not ideal to drink when you are on the Coumadin diet.

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