Blood Thinners and Food | A Few Tips

When it Comes to Food, Consistency is the Best Ingredient

Blood clots are very serious, even life threatening, because they may stop the flow of blood to the lungs, the heart, and the brain. Warfarin, also known as Coumadin, is a medication that helps slow or prevent blood clots from forming. When you take warfarin, it’s very important to keep your diet consistent. A balanced, healthy diet is always recommended, of course, but you can eat what you normally enjoy as long as you do so consistently.

Healthy Choices

When a person learns that they have a blood clot, or that they are at risk for developing one, they may begin to make healthier choices, including eating a healthier diet. If you do so, you should work with your healthcare provider to monitor your INR and to make sure your diet is consistent.

Some of the healthiest foods, including broccoli and spinach, are high in vitamin K. You might read that you need to be aware of your vitamin K intake because it can interfere with how warfarin works or make it less effective. However, if you eat vitamin K-rich foods consistently – in the same amounts over time with no sudden changes – you can enjoy the wonderful nutritional benefits they provide.

You should talk with your healthcare provider before making any changes in what you eat. You can also talk to a registered nutritionist to help make sure that your food intake is healthy and consistent. The USDA’s FoodData Central database provides information about vitamin K levels in many of the foods you might choose.

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages, including hard liquor, beer or wine, also can affect how warfarin works. Experts advise that, as with food, consistency is key. You should avoid drinking too much and always avoid binge drinking.

Herbs and Supplements

Herbs and dietary supplements, including vitamin and mineral supplements in pill and liquid form, also may change the way warfarin works. The amount of vitamin K content in herbs and dietary supplements can vary. For this reason, experts recommend avoiding taking herbal supplements if you’re taking warfarin.

Talk to Your Healthcare Provider

If you’re taking warfarin, talk to your healthcare provider about the foods you’re eating and the dietary supplements you’re taking. Your provider will monitor your INR closely to make sure your blood thinner and diet are working together.

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