24 August, 2011
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Warfarin & Eggs
Doctors often prescribe warfarin to thin the blood and prevent damage from blood clots. While you do not need a special diet when taking warfarin, your vitamin K intake needs to stay the same from day to day. Your ability to eat eggs while taking warfarin depends on your risk for heart disease and the opinion of your doctor.
The main nutrient that interacts with warfarin is vitamin K, because your body uses vitamin K for blood clotting. You need to keep your vitamin K intake consistent from week to week to prevent increases or decreases in the effectiveness of your warfarin: Increased vitamin K intake decreases the effectiveness of warfarin, and decreased vitamin K intake increases the effectiveness of warfarin. Foods high in vitamin K include green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, spinach, broccoli, escarole, corn, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, green lettuce, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, endive, kale and cauliflower. Eat the same number of servings and the same serving sizes of these foods each week. Contact your doctor anytime you cannot eat your normal amount of vitamin K.
Eggs and Heart Disease Danger
Eggs do not contain vitamin K and do not change the effectiveness of warfarin. However, the yolk of an egg contains a lot of cholesterol, which increases your risk of high blood cholesterol levels, especially if you eat more than one a day or consume other high-cholesterol or fatty foods. An egg yolk contains 213 milligrams of cholesterol, which is just under the 300 milligrams recommended as a daily maximum for healthy adults by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the “2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” Consuming more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol daily increases your risk of developing atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup on your artery walls. If your atherosclerosis narrows your arteries too far, warfarin may not be enough to keep the blood flowing through your arteries and you may have a heart attack.
Eggs and Heart Disease Benefit
While the yolk of an egg may increase your risk of high blood cholesterol, egg yolks also contain two important amino acids that help protect your heart. According to a study published in the November 2011 issue of the journal “Food Chemistry,” two raw egg yolks contain nearly twice as many antioxidants from amino acids as apples and the same amount of antioxidants as 1/4 cup of cranberries. Cooked egg yolks still contain nearly as many antioxidant properties as an apple.
Consult your doctor about the safety of eating eggs while taking warfarin. If you have heart disease, ask your physician if eggs are approved for your diet. If you enjoy eggs but need to follow a low-cholesterol diet, eat only the egg whites or use an egg substitute. Use two egg whites or 1/4 cup of egg substitute in any recipe that calls for a large egg.
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