July is Herbal/Prescription Interaction Awareness Month. Just because something is natural or a “supplement” doesn’t mean it’s safe, especially if you’re taking other prescription drugs.
Herbal supplements with cranberry extract as a primary ingredient can interact with blood thinning medications, so you shouldn’t take both at the same time.
Ginkgo, most commonly taken to improve memory, has been shown to interact with aspirin, diuretics, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and blood thinners.
Echinacea, largely used to fight the cold and flu, can interact with some chemotherapy agents, caffeine, liver medications, and meds that decrease your immune system.
Saw palmetto, a popular active ingredient in supplements, can be dangerous during pregnancy and can interact with birth control, hormone therapy, and medication that prevents blood clots.
Fish oils, taken for heart and bone health, may interact with high blood pressure meds, birth control, and some meds that prevent blood clots.
Keep a list of all your prescriptions and supplements and talk to your doctor about them to make sure there aren’t any interactions. You can also learn more by reading warning labels on your medications or talking to your pharmacist.
You might think only people with osteoporosis or weak bones need to worry about getting enough calcium and Vitamin D. If you don’t have osteoporosis, or bone loss, and you eat a well-balanced diet, you’re probably getting the recommended daily amount of both.
But let’s be honest, a lot of us have a diet that is anything but well-balanced. (And no, alternating between frozen pizza and frozen fish sticks does not count as balanced.)
The good news is you don’t have to overhaul your entire diet to keep your bones in great shape. Making a few small changes can help you reach the recommended daily amounts.
Milk is one of the easiest ways to make sure you’re getting enough calcium and Vitamin D.
An 8 oz. glass of fat-free or low-fat milk has around 30% of the daily recommended amount of calcium and 25% of the recommended Vitamin D. The same goes for calcium-fortified soy milk. Other dairy products like cheese and yogurt, are also rich in both.
The Non-Milky Way
If you are lactose intolerant or just don’t eat dairy, you can still get enough calcium and Vitamin D from your diet.
Try these non-dairy foods for calcium:
- White beans
- Some fish, like sardines, salmon, perch, and rainbow trout
- Calcium-fortified foods, like soy milk, oatmeal, cereal, and some orange juice
And these non-dairy foods for Vitamin D:
- Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
- Egg yolks
- Vitamin D-fortified foods, like orange juice, soy milk, and cereal
If you don’t think you’re getting enough of both from your diet, a supplement could help fill in the gaps.
But more is not always better, and getting too much of either can be harmful to your health. Talk to your doctor to make sure you get the right amount.
For recipes packed with calcium and Vitamin D, check out our Pinterest.