Caffeinated drinks and chocolates lower absorption of antibiotics

"While coffee makes you alert, your body has to break it down to get rid of it. Some antibiotics can change the way your body processes caffeine, slowing its breakdown. This can cause you to feel jittery or experience headaches," shares Pharmacist Grace Lim Eng Fui from the Pharmacy Department at Sengkang General Hospital (SKH), a member of the SingHealth group.

The milk in caffeinated drinks also weakens the absorption of antibiotics, making your body less effective in fighting off infections. Remember, caffeine also exists in sodas, energy drinks and chocolates.

Spicy food is another that you should consider going easy on or avoiding while taking antibiotics. This is because a common side effect of some antibiotics is diarrhoea and nausea, and consuming spicy food and caffeinated drinks can worsen the condition.

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Another popular food question commonly asked is...

Are leftovers safe to eat?

"Eating leftovers may result in consuming incorrect portions of food groups and having an unbalanced meal the next day. Also, improper storing and reheating leftovers run the risk of food poisoning," advises Dietitian Chan Ya Ling from the Department of Dietetics, also from Sengkang General Hospital (SKH).

To minimise leftovers, you can:

  • Plan, prep and store food correctly to prevent leftovers.
  • Portion out and keep the extra food in clean covered containers if you are cooking more than one meal.
  • Always spoon out the portion you want to eat onto a separate dish to prevent contamination of the remaining food.
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  • Bacteria multiply in the temperature danger zone of 5 to 60°C. Do not leave food in this danger zone for more than two hours. Otherwise, refrigerate it (4°C) and throw out any food that has been left out standing for more than four hours.
  • Consume cooked food within two to three days of cooking and these should not be reheated more than once.
  • Young children, pregnant women, the elderly, transplant patients, chemotherapy patients and patients on immune suppressing medications should avoid eating leftovers, as they are more vulnerable to getting food-borne infections and developing serious complications.
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Articles on are meant for informational purposes only and cannot replace professional surgical, medical or health advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Photo courtesy of iStock.