Get the Coumadin Cookbook!

Coumadin Book

This indispensable book includes:

• A primer on WHAT a Mediterranean-style diet is and WHY it's great for you
• 95+ delicious Coumadin safe recipes
• Information about managing your diet on Coumadin
• Ingredient and cooking tips throughout the book
• Complete Nutrition Facts, including Vitamin K content, for each recipe

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Note: This is a revised and updated version of Dr. Harlan's The Dr. Gourmet Diet for Coumadin Users. These are the same recipes with updated Nutrition Information, with the addition of information on a Mediterranean-style diet.

How Much Vitamin K is in...?

Find out the exact amount of Vitamin K (in micrograms) of almost a thousand common foods! Listed both alphabetically and then in order of the amount of Vitamin K in the food, this list will help you know exactly how much Vitamin K you're eating. Just $4.95 for the eBook (PDF) or $12.95 for the paperback. Get your copy now!

It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy


Ask Dr. Gourmet

Should those on Coumadin (warfarin) with CHF avoid salt substitutes?

I read one of the questions and answers about a Warfarin patient concerned about Vitamin K levels in Mrs. Dash. That was useful info. However, my mother's (CHF - also on Warfarin) doctor says that salt substitutes are not good either, because of the high levels of Potassium Chloride. What is your opinion regarding this?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Salting food

My opinion about issues such as these must always be considered on a case by case basis. What might be a good choice for you could spell disaster for someone with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). Depending on your mother's particular case, her physician may not want her to be getting any extra potassium in her diet. We are usually not as concerned unless our patients have kidney disease, which can impair the body's ability to get rid of excess potassium.

That said, many folks with (CHF) use diuretic medications. Some can raise the level of potassium in the blood and others will lower it. This is because different medications act on the kidney in different ways, with some telling the kidney to hold onto potassium and others releasing it into the urine. This could be another reason for your mother's doctor wanting her to be careful.

Most salt substitutes do use some variation of a potassium "salt" to mimic the action of table salt (sodium chloride). The more popular are mostly made up of potassium chloride.

Salt substitutes contain varying amounts of potassium -- some as little as 300 milligrams (mg) for the AlsoSalt and others as high as 800 mg in 1/4 teaspoon for Nu-Salt. So how much is too much? Again, I would check with a physician before making the choice.

When we give the type of diuretic that causes potassium loss, we generally give between 10 and 20 milliequivalents (mEq) of potassium chloride in pill form. There's about 200 mg of potassium in 10 mEq of potassium chloride so you can see that 1/4 teaspoon of salt substitute might be even more than prescribed by a physician.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet