When you start taking sertraline, it’s important to be aware of foods to avoid that can interfere with the medication or worsen its side effects. Sertraline, an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), affects neurotransmitter levels to treat depression symptoms and other mental health conditions. Foods to avoid with sertraline can include high-sodium foods, grapefruit, high-tyramine foods, and certain herbal remedies and dietary supplements.
Alcohol, caffeine, and high-tyramine foods can increase the side effects of sertraline, such as jitteriness or anxiety. Drinking caffeinated beverages and eating high-tyramine foods can also trigger a rapid heartbeat. Alcohol can also exacerbate some of the sedative effects of sertraline, including drowsiness and dizziness.
It’s recommended to take sertraline on an empty stomach, at least 30-60 minutes before a meal. Eating foods and drinking liquids at the same time can interfere with absorption and slow down how fast the medication is broken down in the body. Staying well hydrated can also help.
Grapefruit juice can block enzymes that break down sertraline, causing too much to build up in the body and potentially leading to negative side effects. Other foods to avoid when taking sertraline include pickles, salty chips or pretzels, and smoked meats such as bacon or sausage. You should also avoid St. John’s wort vitamins or herbs because they can decrease the effectiveness of sertraline. For these reasons, it’s best to discuss a diet with your doctor before beginning treatment. They can identify what foods and drinks to eat with sertraline and help you establish a safe and effective eating plan for your unique situation.