Naproxen is a commonly used medication for pain relief and reducing inflammation.
While it can be effective, it’s important to be mindful of what you eat while taking naproxen. Certain foods can interact with Naproxen and potentially cause negative effects or reduce its effectiveness.
In this article, we’ll talk about Naproxen and the conditions in which you should avoid it. We’ll also discuss 10 foods that you should avoid while using Naproxen, and finally, we’ll give you some alternatives to consider.
Naproxen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID) that totally reduces the hormones causing swelling and pain in the body. It’s often prescribed for conditions like arthritis, gout, ankylosing, bursitis, spondylitis, and menstrual cramps.
It can also be used to treat sudden pain caused by other conditions not mentioned in this medication guide.
While it is an effective treatment, it’s important to note that it can interact with certain foods potentially causing stomach upset, an increase in blood pressure, or reduced effectiveness of the drug.
Therefore, doctors usually recommend a specific dietary guideline for those consuming naproxen.
When should you avoid taking Naproxen?
There are specific medical conditions under which taking Naproxen might be unsafe. Check with a doctor or pharmacist to make sure it’s safe for you to use this medicine if you have any of these conditions:
- If you have a history of a heart attack, stroke, or blood clot.
- high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or if you are smoking
- history of stomach ulcers or bleeding
- pregnant or plan to become pregnant
- liver or kidney disease
- allergic to aspirin or other NSAIDs.
According to Drugs, using an NSAID in the last 20 weeks of pregnancy could potentially lead to significant heart or kidney issues for the unborn baby and potential complications during your pregnancy.
Breastfeeding while using Naproxen may not be safe. It’s recommended to check with your doctor about any potential risks.
10 Foods to avoid while taking Naproxen
Remember that what we eat can have a great impact on how our bodies process medication. Here are some foods you must avoid when taking Naproxen to make sure it works effectively and safely.
Alcohol is at the top of the list of foods and drinks to avoid when taking naproxen. Alcohol can irritate the stomach lining which increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding—a known side effect of NSAIDs.
Chronic use of naproxen and frequent intake of alcohol can lead to serious stomach ulcers and even liver damage. If you’re using naproxen for a while to manage a condition like arthritis, be sure to avoid alcohol completely to lower the risk of stomach bleeding.
It’s best to avoid all forms of alcohol, including:
- Hard alcohol
- Wine coolers/alcoholic seltzers, etc.
2. High-Sodium foods
Foods that are high in sodium, such as processed meats, canned soups, and fast foods, should be avoided. Eating high-sodium foods can cause fluid retention, so it’s important to avoid consuming a super salty diet while taking naproxen, especially if you’re taking it for a long time.
Taking in too much sodium can make these effects worse and cause more problems, especially for those who already have high blood pressure or heart disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 40% of the sodium in the usual Western diet comes from these 10 foods:
- Breads and rolls
- Hamburgers and other sandwiches
- Cold cuts or cured meats
- Pasta mixed dishes
- Meat-mixed dishes
- Chips, pretzels, and other savory snacks
3. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice is a common breakfast for many, but it’s one that should avoid when taking naproxen.
This is because grapefruit and its juice can interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize certain medications, including NSAIDs like naproxen.
This interference can cause a significant increase in drug levels in the body, which can amplify the chances of side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, and cardiovascular issues.
According to the FDA, even small amounts of grapefruit can cause serious interactions with certain medications, so it’s best to abstain completely.
Garlic is the most commonly used ingredient in our kitchen. It also can interact with naproxen due to its blood-thinning properties.
When combined with drugs like naproxen, which may increase the risk of bleeding, garlic can potentially amplify this effect and cause serious complications like prolonged bleeding time, easy bruising, and even an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
While moderate amounts used in cooking might not create any significant risk, it’s best to avoid high doses of garlic, especially in supplement form.
5. Green tea
We all know green tea has many health benefits. But it contains vitamin K which is known for its blood-clotting properties.
So, it has the potential to counter the effect of naproxen, which stops blood clotting. Increased blood clotting can raise the chances of heart problems or stroke, especially for those already at risk.
Furthermore, green tea also has a mild diuretic effect which can alter the effectiveness of naproxen. So, it’s best for you to consult with your doctor before taking green tea if you are on a regimen with naproxen.
6. High-Fat Foods
High-fat foods, especially saturated fats, should be avoided while taking naproxen.
Foods like fried dishes, fatty cuts of meat, and high-fat dairy products can slow down the absorption of naproxen in your system. This might reduce the effectiveness of the medication.
Here are some high-fat foods that you should avoid:
- Fried foods like fries, fried chicken, or donuts.
- Processed foods like sausages, hot dogs, and bacon.
- Full-fat dairy products, including cream, cheese, and butter.
- Red meat, particularly cuts high in marbling like rib-eye.
- Trans fats, commonly found in cakes, cookies, and pastries.
- High-fat sauces like mayo or ranch dressing.
Gluten is a type of protein found in many grains like wheat, barley, and rye.
For people who have conditions like celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten while taking naproxen could exacerbate the symptoms of gastrointestinal, a common side effect of NSAIDs like naproxen.
It’s important to know that many processed foods contain hidden sources of gluten, so always check labels carefully before buying any food items from the market.
Here are some gluten-containing foods to avoid:
- Bread and baked goods
- Some types of wheat include wheat berries, emmer, semolina, spelt, farro, graham, and einkorn wheat.
- Cereal and granola
- Some sauces and salad dressings
- Beer and malt beverages
Even if you do not have a diagnosed gluten sensitivity, reducing your intake of gluten-based products can help to minimize stomach irritation while taking naproxen.
8. Rich in Vitamin E foods
You might want to be a bit careful about eating foods high in Vitamin E while you’re taking naproxen. Vitamin E is greatly beneficial for skin health, vision, and boosting immunity. But it also has a downside, like having mild blood-thinning properties.
These properties can increase the risk of bleeding when combined with naproxen, which also slows down clotting.
Foods high in Vitamin E include:
- Sunflower seeds
- Olive oil
This does not mean you have to completely avoid these healthy foods from your diet, but it’s recommended informed your doctor be informed about your dietary habits, especially if you consume large amounts of Vitamin E.
9. Coffee and Other Caffeinated Drinks
Caffeine, which is found in drinks like coffee, tea, and energy drinks, can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb and metabolize naproxen.
Some studies have suggested that caffeine can increase the amount of naproxen in the bloodstream which potentially increases the risks of side effects like stomach ulcers, heart problems, and bleeding issues.
According to the Mayo Clinic, limiting caffeine intake to less than 400 milligrams per day (about four cups of brewed coffee) is generally considered safe for most healthy adults, but individual tolerance can vary.
10. Foods with High Sugar Content
Foods with high sugar content, like sweets, soft drinks, and desserts, should be consumed in moderation while taking naproxen.
High levels of sugar can increase the inflammation in the body, which is counterproductive to the anti-inflammatory properties of naproxen.
Plus, consuming a diet high in sugar can lead to weight gain, which increases stress on the joints and can worsen conditions like arthritis, a common reason for naproxen use.
Here are some high-sugar foods and drinks to limit:
- Soft drinks and sweetened beverages
- Candy and chocolate
- Baked goods like cakes, cookies, and pastries
- Breakfast cereals with added sugar
- Ice cream
- Processed foods with added sugars, like ketchup and BBQ sauce
- Sweet spreads like jam and honey
According to the US Dietary Guidelines, a good amount of sugar is around 50 grams or less for a 2,000-calorie diet. However, it’s even better to aim for 25 grams or less per day.
What foods to eat while on Naproxen?
While it’s important to avoid certain foods when taking Naproxen. On the other hand, there are many beneficial foods that can support your overall health and may even enhance the drug’s effectiveness.
Foods high in dietary fiber can help prevent constipation, a common side effect of many medications including naproxen. Some examples include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and lentils.
Lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, and tofu provide essential amino acids that support your body’s healing and recovery processes. They also maintain blood sugar levels, reducing cravings for sugary and fatty foods.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, which mostly find in foods like fatty fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, and chia seeds, can help fight inflammation in the body. This adds to the anti-inflammatory properties of naproxen, which could potentially make it work even better.
Plus, omega-3s improve heart health, which is an important consideration when taking NSAIDs like naproxen which can have cardiovascular side effects.
Hydrating Foods and Beverages
Hydration is important while taking NSAIDs, as these medications can potentially harm kidney function. Foods like cucumbers, watermelon, and celery are high in water content and can help with hydration levels. It’s necessary to drink a lot of water throughout the day to maintain good kidney function.
Probiotics are good bacteria that support our gut health and immune function. NSAIDs like naproxen can potentially damage the lining of your stomach, leading to digestive issues.
Consuming yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut like probiotic-rich foods can help maintain your gut bacteria and lower the chances of stomach problems.
Alternatives to Naproxen
If naproxen doesn’t work for you, whether it’s because of its side effects, interactions with food, or your personal health conditions.
There are several alternatives that you can consider. However, talk to your doctor before starting any new medication.
- Acetaminophen. Also known as Tylenol, acetaminophen is an over-the-counter(OTC) pain reliever and fever reducer. Unlike naproxen, it doesn’t reduce inflammation, but it’s less likely to cause stomach irritation.
- Ibuprofen. Like naproxen, ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that relieves pain, reduces fever, and combats inflammation. It’s generally used for shorter periods and at lower doses than naproxen.
- Aspirin. It can help manage pain and reduce inflammation. However, it’s also a blood thinner, so it may not be suitable for everyone.
- Topical NSAIDs. You can apply topical NSAIDs, like diclofenac gel, directly to the skin over the painful area. This method minimizes systemic absorption, thus reducing the chances of interactions with foods or other drugs.
- Natural Remedies. Home remedies like turmeric, ginger, and omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to relieve pain.
It’s important to consider the dietary implications when taking medications like naproxen. No doubt, it is an effective anti-inflammatory drug but like other drugs, it can also interact with certain types of food and exacerbate side effects.
It’s important to keep in mind some foods to avoid when taking naproxen like those high in sodium, alcohol, sugary foods, foods rich in Vitamin E, and caffeinated drinks.
At the same time, incorporating beneficial foods like fiber-rich items, lean proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, hydrating foods, and probiotics can support your overall health and possibly enhance the drug’s effectiveness.
If you find that naproxen is not the right fit for you, there are other viable alternatives to explore. As always, personal health decisions should be made in consultation with a doctor.
Is Aleve naproxen?
Yes, Aleve is a brand name for naproxen. Which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that’s commonly used to treat pain, inflammation, and fever-like conditions.
Can I take naproxen if I have a history of heart problems?
It’s best to consult with your doctor before taking naproxen, especially if you have a history of heart problems. NSAIDs like naproxen can increase the chances of cardiovascular events, so it’s important to weigh the potential benefits and risks with your doctor.
How can I protect my stomach from naproxen?
To protect your stomach from naproxen, it’s recommended to have it with food or milk. You can also take it after a hearty meal or with an antacid. Avoid lying down for at least 10 minutes after taking this drug. If stomach upset continues, consult with your doctor.
Resources of Article
This article is used for general informational purposes, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor for personalized guidance. Remember, reactions to medications can vary between individuals, and effectiveness may also depend on dietary and lifestyle factors.