Adding This to Goji Berries Turns Them Into a “Deadly Poison”!

For individuals dealing with chronic conditions requiring long-term medication, the interplay between medication and daily diet is crucial. Once there is a conflict between food and medication, not only does it diminish the efficacy of the medication, but it may also lead to more severe consequences.

According to the “2019 Report on Cardiovascular Health and Diseases in China,” the number of individuals in China suffering from cardiovascular diseases is approximately 330 million.

Recently, a pathology report published in a reputable medical journal issued a warning: drinking goji berry tea while taking certain cardiovascular medications might lead to toxic reactions.

Why does drinking goji berry tea during cardiovascular medication intake pose a risk of toxicity? What are the contraindications when combining goji berries, a staple in health practices? What other foods in daily life should be avoided with cardiovascular medications? Let’s delve into these aspects to avoid potential pitfalls!

Vascular Medications + Goji Berry Tea: Potential Poisoning

A recent case report published in the “European Heart Journal” raises alarms: consuming goji berry tea while taking cardiovascular medications such as flecainide (antiarrhythmic drug) and warfarin (anticoagulant, preventing clot formation and strokes) may result in poisoning.

The report describes the case of a 75-year-old female patient who underwent mitral valve replacement surgery (cardiovascular surgery) three years ago. Post-surgery, she took warfarin orally for anticoagulation therapy, regularly monitoring her coagulation function and maintaining the international normalized ratio (INR) within the target range (2.5~3.5).

It’s essential to note that INR helps indicate whether warfarin dosage is inadequate or excessive, guiding anticoagulation levels while effectively preventing bleeding incidents.

Two years ago, the patient, diagnosed with atrial premature beats, started taking flecainide (100 mg, twice daily) for treatment. Recently, during the consumption of goji berry tea (1 to 2 cups daily), the patient experienced dizziness, nausea, extreme fatigue, and eventually fainted, necessitating emergency medical attention. Upon admission, the diagnosis was flecainide toxicity. Upon discharge, the patient was advised to discontinue goji berry tea.

In this case, the patient experienced poisoning from consuming goji berries, leading to two forms of cardiovascular drug toxicity:

  1. Flecainide toxicity, resulting in life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.
  2. Warfarin overdose causing an increase in INR.

The reason behind this is that goji berries can inhibit various enzymes responsible for metabolizing warfarin and flecainide drugs, ultimately leading to toxicity. Studies suggest that consuming large doses (exceeding 6 to 12 grams) of goji berries can significantly enhance the anticoagulant effect of warfarin, potentially causing dangerous situations like subcutaneous bleeding.

People Who Should Avoid Eating Goji Berries

  1. Those with Cold or Fever

Goji berries belong to the category of warm-tonic foods. Consuming goji berries or drinking goji berry-infused water during cold or fever exacerbates the conditions since these individuals are already experiencing weakness and internal heat.

  1. Those with Spleen and Stomach Deficiency

Individuals with spleen and stomach deficiency may experience phlegm stagnation and obstruction when consuming goji berries. This could lead to the formation of a phlegm-damp constitution, characterized by rapid weight gain, thick tongue coating, aversion to cold, and dislike of drinking water, among other symptoms. Treating a phlegm-damp constitution can be challenging once established.

Additionally, those who have trouble sleeping at night should avoid goji berries. Eating them could further stimulate the nervous system, ultimately resulting in insomnia.

Precautions for Brewing Goji Berry Tea

  1. Do Not Drink Goji Berry Tea Alongside Green Tea

Drinking both simultaneously can create substances in the body that are difficult to absorb, causing severe damage to the body if they accumulate over the long term.

  1. Do Not Use Boiling Water to Brew Goji Berry Tea

Brewing goji berries with water at too high a temperature can compromise their nutritional content. It’s best to let the water cool slightly before adding goji berries for optimal results.

However, in reality, soaking goji berries in water has limited efficacy. It is preferable to incorporate them into porridge or stir-fry dishes.

3 Types of Cardiovascular Medications and Their “Taboos”

Certain foods not only have the potential to affect the efficacy of cardiovascular drugs but can also worsen the condition. When individuals with cardiovascular diseases are taking the following medications, it is crucial to avoid foods that may interact adversely.

  1. Statins (Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs): Limit Grapefruit Intake

Taking statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) alongside grapefruit can increase liver and muscle toxicity. Statins are the most widely used class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, and the active components in grapefruit significantly raise their concentration in the bloodstream.

Research indicates that when patients with hyperlipidemia take a tablet of lovastatin with grapefruit juice, the blood drug concentration is 10 to 15 times higher than when taken with plain water.

  1. Diuretics: Limit Coffee Consumption

Caffeine promotes kidney function, leading to diuresis. Simultaneously taking diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide or furosemide, which have antihypertensive effects, can increase diuretic effects, resulting in excessive loss of sodium ions in the body.

  1. Antihypertensive Medications: Limit Banana Consumption

Bananas provide potassium ions that help lower blood pressure by excreting excess sodium ions from the body, reducing their hypertensive effects and minimizing damage to blood vessels.

Although studies show that regular consumption of bananas can prevent hypertension and even improve blood pressure conditions, it is advisable to consume fewer bananas, especially during the adjustment phase of antihypertensive medication. Otherwise, it may increase the side effects of the medication, causing excessively low blood pressure.

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