Don’t Eat This If You’re Taking That

Washington, DC…Millions of Americans age 50-plus take prescription drugs, yet few know the health risks of taking them along with certain foods and over-the-counter (OTC) supplements. For instance, some blood thinners taken with everyday foods like spinach, kale, and tomatoes can increase the risk of irregular heartbeat and heart attack. To address these kinds of food and drug interactions, AARP and Skyhorse Publishing have just released a jointly published revised edition of Don’t Eat This If You’re Taking That: The Hidden Risks of Mixing Food and Medicine (Skyhorse Publishing paperback; May 2, 2017, $17.99).

Written by Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., and her husband John Fernstrom, Ph.D., Don’t Eat This If You’re Taking That provides a consumer’s guide to understanding how mixing prescription medications with certain foods and supplements can lessen their effectiveness or even cause a serious health problem.

“Most people are surprised to learn that even healthy foods can interfere with the actions of many medicines,” says Madelyn Fernstrom. “Small changes in what you eat can make a big difference in making sure your medications are working the way your doctor intended.”

Some examples of expert advice from Fernstrom:

Avoid eating grapefruit when taking cholesterol medicine.
Steer clear of red wine, hard cheese, and chocolate while on certain antidepressants.
Know which of the many herbal supplements can affect blood pressure.
The revised and thoroughly redesigned edition focuses on which foods to take and which to avoid with the most common prescription drugs. Covering everything from antidepressants to herbal supplements, the book takes the mystery out of food and medication interactions.

The book is divided into eight sections covering the most widely-used medications:

Pain relievers
Blood thinners
Diabetes drugs
Cholesterol drugs
Blood pressure drugs
Heart medicines
“This book will help anybody tackle the complexities of food and medicine interaction,” said Jodi Lipson, Director of AARP Books. “Don’t Take This If You’re Eating That is especially useful for people taking more than one medication.”

Each chapter of the book features a Dietary Supplements Alert box providing up-to-date information on drug interactions with OTC vitamins and minerals.

Skyhorse Publishing, one of the fastest-growing independent book publishers in the United States, was launched in September 2006 by Tony Lyons, former president and publisher of the Lyons Press. As of Winter 2017, the company has had forty-five New York Times bestsellers. Skyhorse is dedicated to publishing books that make people’s lives better, whether that means teaching them a hobby, bringing them a unique and important story, or encouraging them to fight against injustices, conspiracies, or abuses of power. The company maintains a firm stance against censorship and aims to provide a full spectrum of political, theological, cultural, and philosophical viewpoints to counter the increasingly biased environment in mainstream media.

Through its eighteen imprints, Skyhorse publishes an eclectic and maverick list of titles. Its imprints – Allworth Press, Arcade Publishing, Carrel Books, Clydesdale Press, Gary Null Publishing, Good Books, Helios Press, Hot Books, Night Shade Books, Not For Tourists, Racehorse Publishing, Racehorse For Young Readers, Seahorse Press, Sky Pony Press, Sports Publishing, Talos Press, Yucca Publishing, and Skyhorse Publishing – cover everything from nature, sports, country living, history, reference, travel, humor, health, art, business, philosophy, religion, politics, investigative and conspiracy, to fiction, literary nonfiction, science fiction, fantasy, and young adult and children’s literature. Its backlist includes more than six thousand titles. Skyhorse is distributed by Perseus Books Group in the United States and overseas, and by Thomas Allen & Son in Canada.

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.