• "I am deeply grateful to the Masonic Village's employees, and will never be able to express my gratitude to all of them." — Catherine L.

  • "I liked my Masonic Charity Foundation charitable gift annuity so much, I opened three more. Why? I might be old-fashioned, but the scriptures have taught me the virtue of looking out for others. Knowing that the funds left in my gift annuities will care for the Masonic Village residents makes me feel wonderful." — Dorothy B.

  • "I am writing to tell you, from the bottom of my heart, just how wonderful the last two years of my mother's life were, thanks to all of you at the Masonic Village at Burlington." — Carol O.

  • "It's not just the Masonic Village's beautiful facilities and the many services that are offered to the residents – most of all, it's the employees. They are personally dedicated it seems to each and every individual here." — Catherine L.

  • "We are equally grateful for the 'loving arms of hospice' that were wrapped around our family in our hour of need." — M.W.

  • "When we decided to come to the Masonic Village at Burlington, we knew it was going to be a very big change in our lives. When we came here, we were very pleased that it was not difficult. We would recommend the Masonic Village highly to a friend." — Joseph and Bertha B.

  • "There is simply no way to express the depth of gratitude I feel for the Masonic Village at Burlington – thank you!" — Jim C.

  • "We know first-hand how very special Acacia Hospice's caregivers are, and we thank every single one of them from the bottom of our hearts." — J.M.

  • "It is with a grateful heart that we extend to you our deepest gratitude for the loving care that Acacia Hospice afforded our beloved Aunt." — M.W.

  • "It has been a source of tremendous relief that my parents were in such caring and professional hands during the final years of their lives." — Jim C.

  • "It takes a very special person to do the job Acacia Hospice's caregivers do every day. We would like you to know we think you have an incredible group of 'Angels.'" — J.M

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Monday September 24, 2018

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

Don't Eat This if You're Taking That

If a prescription label says "take with meals," does it matter what you eat? I currently take eight different medications for various health problems and would like to know if there are any foods I need to avoid.

It depends on the medication. Many meds should be taken with food — any food — to increase their absorption and reduce the risk of side effects. But some foods and medications can interact, reducing the medications' effectiveness or increasing the risk of harmful side effects.

To stay safe, you should always talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your prescriptions, along with what foods and beverages to avoid while you are taking them. In the meantime, here are some foods you should avoid when taking some commonly prescribed drugs.

Cholesterol Medications: If you take a certain statin drug to control high cholesterol such as Lipitor, Zocor, Altoprev, Mevacor, or generics atorvastatin, simvastatin or lovastatin, you should avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice. Grapefruit can augment the amount of the drug in your bloodstream and increase the risk of side effects, especially leg pain.

Blood Pressure Medicine: If you take an ACE inhibitor drug including Capoten, Vasotec, Monopril, or Zestril to lower your blood pressure, you should limit foods that contain potassium, like bananas, oranges, tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes and salt substitutes that contain potassium. ACE inhibitors raise the body's potassium levels. Eating too many potassium rich-foods while taking an ACE inhibitor can cause an irregular heartbeat and heart palpitations.

Blood Thinning Medications: If you are taking Coumadin, Jantoven, or the generic warfarin, you should limit kale and other greens, including broccoli, cabbage, spinach and brussel sprouts. These foods can block the effects of blood-thinning medications, which could put you at risk for developing blood clots. You also need to watch out for garlic, ginger, vitamin E and fish oil supplements because they can increase the medication's blood-thinning abilities, which could put you at risk for excessive bleeding.

Antidepressants: If you take a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressant like Marplan, Nardil, Emsam, Parnate, or generics isocarboxazid, phenelzine, selegiline or tranylcypromine, you should avoid aged cheeses, chocolate, cured meats and alcoholic drinks. These contain tyramine, which can raise blood pressure. Normally, the body controls tyramine levels with an enzyme called monoamine oxidase, but MAOI antidepressants block that enzyme.

Thyroid Medications: If you take a medication for hypothyroidism like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid or generic levothyroxine, you should avoid tofu, walnuts and soymilk because these can prevent your body from absorbing your thyroid medication.

Anti-Anxiety Medications: If you take medication for anxiety like Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, or generics alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam or lorazepam, you should avoid alcohol. These medications act as sedatives, binding with the brain's natural tranquilizers to calm you down. If you mix these drugs with alcohol, the side effects intensify and can cause you to feel lightheaded, sleepy or forgetful.

Antibiotics: If you are taking an antibiotic like Sumycin, Dynacin, Monodox, or generic tetracycline, doxycycline or minocycline, you should avoid dairy and calcium supplements for a couple hours before and after taking the medicine. This includes milk, yogurt and cheese. The calcium in dairy products binds to the antibiotic, which can prevent your body from absorbing it and may make the medication ineffective.

To find more dietary guidance on the drugs you take, see reliable health websites like MedlinePlus.gov or MayoClinic.org. Also consider the excellent new AARP book "Don't Eat This If You're Taking That: The Hidden Risks of Mixing Food and Medicine" available at Amazon.com and BN.com for $13.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published January 5, 2018
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