If you must take prescribed medications and your diet is not properly balanced, you may be depleting nutrients necessary for staying healthy, the California Dietetic Assn. warns.
"The human body is like a chemistry lab, with different chemicals, such as medicines and the nutrients in food, having different influence on the body when mixed together," says Cheryl Loggins, a registered dietitian and president of the association. "And sometimes those effects interact and cancel one another out."
These results may surface as nutrient deficiencies and lowered effectiveness of the medication.
Some common drug-nutrient interactions include the following: Diuretics used to combat high blood pressure can cause Vitamin B-6 deficiencies; prolonged use of some antacids can reduce the body's ability to absorb iron and Vitamin C; some medications used in the treatment of epilepsy can produce a scarcity of folacin, and some medications used to treat diabetes can result in a deficiency of Vitamin B-12.
To combat these pitfalls, Loggins recommends eating a balanced diet consisting of foods from the four nutrient-based food groups: milk, meat, vegetables and fruits, and breads and cereals.