Coumadin, also known as warfarin, is a blood thinner used to reduce blood clot formation and prevent blocked arteries, heart attacks and stroke. Many foods are safe to eat while taking Coumadin, but some can affect how well your Coumadin works. Vitamin K acts as a natural blood-clotting agent within the body and can therefore interact with Coumadin, making it ineffective. While taking Coumadin, it is necessary to consume consistent amounts of vitamin K in your diet. The daily adequate intake of vitamin K for adult males is 120 micrograms; for adult females the adequate intake is 90 micrograms per day, according to the Institute of Medicine.
Vegetables are rich in many nutrients, including vitamin K. Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, Brussels sprouts and kale are especially good sources of vitamin K. This does not mean that you have to avoid these vegetables; you simply need to consume approximately the same amount each day. You can also choose from low vitamin K vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, celery, peas, peeled cucumber, pepper, eggplant, tomato and zucchini. On average, you should eat two to four servings of vegetables per day with a serving equal to 1 cup raw vegetables or a half cup cooked vegetables.
Fruit is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Fruit contains low amounts of vitamin K and can be eaten freely. Good fruit choices include oranges, kiwi, grapes, bananas, prunes, cranberry juice, melon, plums, raisins, fruit cocktail, blueberries and apple sauce. A serving is equal to 1 medium piece of fruit, a half cup canned, frozen or cut-up fresh fruit, one-third cup of dried fruit or 4 ounces of fruit juice. On average, you should eat between two to four servings of fruit per day.
Dairy products are low in vitamin K and are acceptable on a Coumadin diet. Milk, cheese, cream, yogurt and ice cream are examples of dairy products you may consume. Eat two to three 1-cup servings of dairy each day. While all of these foods are considered safe while taking Coumadin, it is best to consume low-fat or non-fat products when possible. This will help you maintain a healthy weight and prevent other complications.
Meat, Poultry and Fish
Chicken, turkey, duck, beef, steak, veal, ham and pork are acceptable when taking Coumadin, except for beef and chicken livers, which are rich in vitamin K. Avoid high-fat selections such as sausage, bacon and bologna when possible. Fish such as haddock, salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna and shellfish including clams, oysters and shrimp are also good choices. Fish is especially beneficial as it is high in the essential fatty acid omega-3. You may also eat eggs, but only in moderation as they are high in cholesterol. On average, you should eat three servings of high protein foods each day.
Most breads, cereals and grains are low in vitamin K. You should eat six to eight servings of food from this group daily, choosing whole grains when possible. Good examples of acceptable foods from the starch group include oatmeal, wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, quinoa, millet, couscous, cream of wheat, cereal grains, rye and granola among others.
While water is an excellent choice, fruit juice, soft drinks and coffee are acceptable alternatives. On average, brewed black or green tea is allowed on a Coumadin diet. Alcoholic beverages may be included in a Coumadin diet in moderation only. If you consume more than two alcoholic drinks per day, your medication will most likely be affected. Drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid per day for optimal hydration.