Interview with a Top Health Expert for Women

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As busy moms, we take on many roles. Perhaps the most important role is making sure our family is as healthy as they can be. Citrus fruits are a common part of most people’s diets. However, there’s lots of confusing data out there regarding whether or not you should eat certain foods, such as grapefruits, while taking certain drugs. Doctors are perhaps the most valuable source of information available when it comes to a topic like this. Today I have, on behalf of Sunkist an interview with Dr. Donnica Moore.

Donnica L. Moore, MD is highly regarded as a women’s health expert and advocate: as a physician educator and as a media commentator. She is a popular speaker for both medical and consumer audiences on topics related to general medical issues, women’s health, drug development, as well as balancing work and family.

So I hope you learn something, as I did, from the questions I asked Dr. Moore:

1. I take a calcium channel blocker for Raynaud’s. In the past one of the drugs was Nifedipine which had the “no grapefruit” warning. I followed that 🙂 but never questioned why I couldn’t have grapefruit. What is the interference?

Some prescription and non-prescription medications don’t mix well with grapefruit or grapefruit juice. Grapefruit can increase the absorption of some drugs into the bloodstream which may lead to adverse affects. As a doctor, one thing I try to share with my patients is that the reason for concern only applies to some, specific medications – not all of them. Therefore, my best advice is to check with your doctor or pharmacist and ask them about whether the specific medicines you take may have an interaction with grapefruit. Don’t make assumptions! Chances are, you may find out that grapefruit is perfectly safe to enjoy with your medicines. Also: Use your doctor’s visit to also ask about whether you still need to take all your medications. It might be time to update dosages or time to discontinue a prescription. Or, your doctor may change you to a medicine which is similar to the one you were originally taking, but is perfectly safe to enjoy with grapefruit.

Why does grapefruit interact with some medicines? Grapefruit is a potent inhibitor of the cytochrome P450 enzyme, which can affect the metabolism of a variety of drugs, increasing their bioavailability. In some cases, this can lead to serious elevations of some drugs in the blood-stream as well as decreases in their rates of metabolism. The onset of the interaction can occur within 30 minutes following intake of a single glass of grapefruit juice, and the inhibition can last up to 3 days following the last administration of grapefruit juice.

2. Now I take Diltiazem instead.. but it doesn’t have this warning. I am under the impression that it does the same thing as the Nifedipine did so why is there no interference with this drug?

(see answer above)


3. Is it okay for women that are at risk for or have diabetes to eat citrus fruit or drink citrus juices?

It is important for women who have diabetes to monitor their food intake carefully as part of a well-balanced, carbohydrate-controlled meal plan. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) fruits are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber and should be a part of a diabetic diet — but you need to watch portion sizes and keep track of them as you would do for all your carbs. Eating the fresh fruit itself is preferable to drinking fruit juices (for everyone, not just women with diabetes); avoid fruits canned in syrups or with any other sugar. If you are using the glycemic index (GI) to manage your diabetes, you can be reassured that most fresh fruits are a good choice because they have a low GI. Eat one orange or half a grapefruit and you’ve gotten all the vitamin C you need in a day. Oranges also are a good source of folate and fiber, and pink and red varieties of grapefruit are excellent sources of vitamin A. For women who have diabetes or who are at risk for type 2 diabetes, weight management is extremely important, and eating citrus fruits can be a healthy way to help reach your weight management goals, especially if eaten in moderation and in lieu of processed snack choices.

4. I’m going to be honest the new “food plate” confuses me sometimes! What is a serving size of fruit – specifically citrus fruit that can grow so large? Oranges and grapefruits can be huge!

While there are serving sizes for fruits available in grams, this isn’t practical for most Americans, unless the most diligent amongst us who are using a kitchen scale to weigh their portion sizes! For practical purposes, a “serving size” of grapefruit is one half of a medium sized grapefruit; for oranges, it’s a whole medium sized orange.


5. I’ve heard a lot about adding lemon to your water – especially first thing in the morning. Why is that?

In addition to enhancing the flavor, adding lemon to your drinking water is a fast and easy way to add beneficial antioxidants and nutrients to your diet which can help promote positive health and impact the way you look and feel. In fact, just 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice contains 20% of your vitamin C. In addition, water flavored with Sunkist lemons has a refreshing taste and aroma which is a great way to start your day. Not to mention, water is hydrating and Sunkist lemons are fat-free, cholesterol-free, sodium-free and low in calorie, making the combination the Ultimate Diet Drink® that can be enjoyed throughout the day!

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