Foods To Avoid After Your Child’s Organ Transplant

January 19, 2021

Transplant is a beautiful gift, but also a difficult time for families due to many lifestyle changes and countless new worries. If your child has undergone transplant or is preparing for transplant, we are here to help you feel more confident about the nutrition component. Read on to learn the foods to avoid after transplant.

Foods To Avoid After Transplant

After transplant it is important to pay attention to the foods your child is consuming as some foods can interfere with anti-rejection drugs causing harmful effects to the newly transplanted organ.1 These side effects can cause your child to feel quite sick and even lead to loss of the organ. While many foods are nutritious for the new organ and safe to consume, there are several foods and drinks that should be avoided. These foods and drinks include grapefruit and grapefruit juice, starfruit, Seville oranges (used in marmalade), noni fruit and noni juice, pomelo, blood orange and black licorice.1,2

You may wonder why your medical team would single out these foods to avoid after transplant, or maybe you can’t quite remember which foods interfere with which medications – here’s a quick reminder. The foods stated above interfere with the absorption or breakdown of many immunosuppressive drugs such as Tacrolimus (Prograf), Cyclosporine, and Sirolimus (Rapamycin). Certain blood pressure medications like Amlodipine(Norvasc) can also be affected by these foods.1

Some spices and supplements have also been shown to affect the absorption of immunosuppression drugs and cause toxic interactions. To prevent these interactions, avoid the following spices: ginseng, evening primrose oil, astragalus, turmeric, herbal tea, and green tea extract. Supplements of garlic, ginger, and licorice should also be avoided.3

While it is easy to stay away from the whole fruits or spices on the avoidance list, sometimes we are unaware if a product contains one of these ingredients. These are called hidden sources and can cause significant effects if consumed without knowing. These hidden sources can be found in some of the most common US manufactured beverages, however, not to worry- we have done the digging and compiled a list of products where these ingredients are hiding! First off, we found hidden sources in certain Coca Cola products such as; Fresca/ Diet Fresca, Canada Dry Citrus Blend, Full Throttle Citrus Blend, Nestea Citrus Green Tea, Powerade Citrus Blend, and Vitamin Water Tropical Citrus. Hidden sources were also found in these Dr. Pepper and 7-Up products: Ruby Red Squirt, Squirt/ Diet Squirt, Sun Drop/ Diet Sun Drop, 7-Up (multiple flavors), Country Time Lemonade, Crush (citrus flavors), Orangina, Snapple (citrus tea flavors), Stewart’s (citrus flavors), and Sunkist (citrus flavors).4 The last hidden sources we found were in Pepsi Cola products including; Citrus Blast, Lipton Diet Green Tea with Citrus, Proper- Citrus Punch with Calcium, Sierra mist (multiple flavors), and SoBe Energy Citrus Energy.4

It is important to be aware of these avoidance lists in order for your child to have a successful recovery and life with their new organ. Always remember to never stop or start any medications without first talking to your transplant team and if any problems arise contact the team right away.2 Use our tips and avoid these foods, drinks, and products ensure no problems arise. We hope this will make this new journey a little less stress free for you and your family!

Questions about foods to avoid after transplant? If you are looking for support with your transplant child’s nutrition be sure to set up a free consultation with Courtney today.


  1. Transplant Education Book – Texas Children’s Hospital. Accessed November 16, 2020.
  2. Nutrition and Food Safety. Nutrition and Preventing Infection- John Hopkins Medicine. Accessed 2020.
  3. Kidney Transplant Nutrition Facts Food and Drug Interactions. Accessed November 16, 2020.
  4. Auten AA, Beauchamp LN, Joshua Taylor, Hardinger KL. Hidden sources of grapefruit in beverages: potential interactions with immunosuppressant medications. Hosp Pharm. 2013;48(6):489-493. doi:10.1310/hpj4806-489
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