Monday, November 29, 2010

Food and Drug Interactions

A few days ago, I did a post on making soup for a neighbor who had just had surgery. If you are thinking about doing this too, good for you! However, before you begin shopping and cooking, you need to know that there are some drug and food combinations that do not go well together. So it is a good idea to find out if the recipients of your goodwill are coming home with diet restrictions because of the medications they have to take.

Here's an example. It is common for people to be on some type of blood thinning medication after surgery. These drugs prevent the formation of blood clots in the vascular system, thus reducing the likelihood of certain complications. When I had my hip resurfaced, my surgeon prescribed Lovenox for this purpose. The up side was that I could eat whatever I wanted; the down side was that I had to give myself a shot every day for a while.

However, most people on anti-coagulant therapy are given a different drug, one called warfarin (brand name, Coumadin). It has the advantage that it can be taken orally. The down side is that it can be more or less effective, depending on the amount of certain foods in the diet, so extra care must be taken.

I knew that my neighbor was on this drug, and I had a handout listing the dietary precautions. So when I made my choices, I avoided soup recipes that called for leafy greens or foods from the Brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower). The dietary guidelines for this drug are more involved than just these choices, so if you are preparing food for someone on this medication, be sure to ask for a complete list of the specifics.

When you check about drug/food issues, also ask if your friend or neighbor has food allergies. Then you've covered all the bases. Don't let any of these considerations discourage you. There are lots of good ingredients to work with, regardless. Combine them with good information, and you're well prepared to create something healthy and healing in your kitchen.