How Food Interacts With Common Medication

Most people know that they need to double-check which substances they’re allowed to mix with their medications. From alcohol to OTC drugs like aspirin, it can be dangerous to pair certain ingredients with others. But not everyone realizes they need to be careful about the types of foods they eat when they’re taking certain medications.

Always check with your physician on what foods you should and shouldn’t take with which medications. We’ve put together a common list of ways foods and medications tend to interact with each other, but each case can be different, so always check with your medical care provider.

Food and Medicine

The more food in your stomach, the longer it will take for your medication to work. Medications for your thyroid or for bone loss are notoriously terrible at being absorbed into the stomach. That’s why you need to take it on an empty one to ensure more of it is absorbed. On the other hand, medications like ibuprofen and aspirin are better taken with food to limit upset stomachs.


Common foods that can cause problems in the body include the following:

  • Smoked/aged/spoiled food: These foods tend to be high in tyramine, which can cause adverse effects in certain antidepressants and antibiotics. If you’re taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, keep away from cheese or meat that’s been smoked or aged.
  • Dairy products: Calcium has a way of reducing the amount of absorption of some antibiotics in the stomach, meaning you’ll have to take more of the medication for the same effects. If you’re taking doxycycline or ciprofloxacin, wait a few hours after ingesting calcium.
  • Spinach, kale, romaine: Anything that’s high in vitamin K can reverse the effects of blood-thinning medications like warfarin. These foods are still good for you for a variety of other reasons, but you shouldn’t increase your consumption of them during this time. Staying consistent is the best way to keep these foods in your life.
  • Grapefruit: Notoriously dangerous when it comes to statin medications, both the juice and the fruit can make it difficult for the body to process medications for high cholesterol. It can also cause unwanted side effects, so it’s best to either limit or cut grapefruit from your life while on cholesterol prescriptions.

Atkinson’s Pharmacy Group wants our patients to be armed with all the knowledge they need to make healthier decisions. If you have questions about what you can and can’t eat while you’re taking certain medications, give us a call. We have on-call pharmacists available 24/7 so you never have to live in fear.