What Should You Eat While Taking Prednisone?

A corticosteroid, prednisone is a useful medication against a host of ailments, including arthritis, various disorders of the immune system, and inflammatory bowel disease (via Mayo Clinic). The drug's ability to reduce inflammation and suppress the body's immune system also makes it useful for patients who have recently received organ transplants. In addition, prednisone's anti-inflammatory capabilities make it a good choice to combat allergies and allergic reactions (per WebMD).

As with any drug, prednisone is not without its side effects, one of which is weight gain. People on prednisone can experience fluid retention, and an increased appetite, accompanied by a resultant increase in calories consumed. In addition, patients taking prednisone to combat an illness of the lungs will find it harder to undertake physical activity, and the sedentary lifestyle will also cause their weight to go up. Because of this risk, it can be hard for people on prednisone to know what they should be eating in order to get healthy and hopefully keep off the pounds.

Sugar should be avoided diligently

Since prednisone can fight inflammation, certain foods that produce an inflammatory response, such as sugar, can counteract its effects, according to Dr. Julie Rowin. As such, you want to avoid sweet treats like cookies, cake, and processed foods that can contain hidden sugars. However, sugar that's present in fruits isn't as harmful.

Fluid and sodium retention is such a common side effect of prednisone use, which means that people taking the medication will want to avoid salty, high-sodium foods. These include foods like crackers, potato chips, bacon, and canned foods. In addition to retaining sodium, prednisone can also cause your cholesterol levels to rise, which means that you should cut out high-fat foods like butter and margarine. That doesn't mean you should cut out all dairy products, however, as cheese is high in calcium, which prednisone inhibits the absorption of, according to the experts at WebMD.

Make a plan to stay healthy on predisone

It's good to boost your potassium levels while taking prednisone to help manage fluid retention (via UCSF Health). Choose healthy, high-potassium foods, like apricots, dried prunes, oranges, and cooked spinach. You can also opt for a high-protein diet low in carbs to help suppress your appetite and fill your plate with lean meats, poultry, and fish instead of fatty, fried foods.

In addition to eating healthy at mealtimes, you can also keep your hunger in check by opting for healthy snacks throughout the day, according to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Instead of snacking on potato chips, try raw vegetables, fresh fruit, seltzer water, or ginger snaps. If the diet isn't enough to stay healthy, you may also want to consider bolstering your diet with calcium and vitamin D supplements to give you the nutrients your body needs. Before taking prednisone, talk with your doctor to come up with a diet plan that can help keep your weight under control.