Bananas, kale, grapefruit, milk – these sound like the makings of a healthy diet, right? And indeed, for most people, eating plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy is good for their health, while having a glass of wine or two or a cup of coffee is no drama either.
But what many may not know is that some foods interact badly with certain medications. This means your meal could end up reducing the efficacy of your drugs, or worse still, could become a health nightmare.
Avoid if you take -Bronchodilators for asthma
These help patients to breathe more easily by relaxing the muscles in the lungs and widening airways. Common side effects of these include palpitations, nervousness and excitability. When mixed with caffeine these risks are increased.Too much caffeine can also limit their effectiveness in an emergency, so speak to your GP if you are taking them but need caffeine too.
Avoid if you take - ACE inhibitors such as captopril, enalapril and fosinopril among others. ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure and treat heart failure by opening up blood vessels, so blood flows more efficiently.
Bananas (as well as oranges, leafy greens and certain salt substitutes) are high in potassium. Too much potassium can cause an irregular heartbeat and heart palpitations. Avoid eating large amounts of foods high in potassium if you're on ACE inhibitors, and tell your doctor if you're taking potassium supplements or diuretics.
Avoid if you take -Antihistamines, diabetes medicines or painkillers
Medicines often come with a warning to avoid alcohol. This is due to the pressure booze puts on your liver. Alcohol, paracetamol and codeine are metabolised by the liver and it will have to work harder to break down alcohol and medications at the same time. This can increase the risk of side effects from the medications, including drowsiness. Also, overworking your liver can eventually increase your risk of liver damage.
Avoid if you take a range of medicines including some lipid-altering agents/statins which lower the rate of production of bad cholesterol – anti-anxiety medicine buspirone, the anti-malaria drug quinine, the antibiotic erythromycin, or triazolam – a medication used to treat insomnia.
Chemicals in grapefruit interfere with how your body metabolises certain drugs, which can result in more of the medicine ending up in your bloodstream. It can increase the chance of side effects if you're on the lipid-altering statins.
Avoid if you take -Antibiotics
Ciprofloxacin and tetracycline should be taken with a glass of water one hour before a meal or two hours after you have eaten.Food will interfere with the way these medications are absorbed by your body and dairy products, such as milk, will have the same effect. So while it might be tempting to take antibiotics with a glass of milk, don't.
6. Black liquorice
Avoid if you take glycosides like digoxin, which treat heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms.
Liquorice contains glycyrrhizin. Mixing digoxin with glycyrrhizin can cause irregular heartbeats and could even lead to a heart attack. Herbal liquorice extract can also interfere with a host of other medications including insulin, certain antidepressants, oral contraceptives, blood thinners, and some other medications.