What Foods To Eat & Avoid When Taking Nitrofurantoin Macrodantin

Urinary tract infections cause over 8 million visits to a healthcare provider’s office each year. 

About 10 in 25 women and 3 in 25 men will experience a UTI in their lifetime.

Urinary tract infections are uncomfortable at the least and can cause more serious health issues if left untreated at the worst.

While you can prevent urinary tract infections to some extent, their treatment often involves using antibiotics. 

One specific antibiotic specifically for preventing and treating UTIs is nitrofurantoin (brand name Macrodantin). 

Keep reading to learn more about nitrofurantoin macrodantin, including which foods you should eat and avoid while taking this medication. 

What is nitrofurantoin macrodantin?

Nitrofurantoin (brand name Macrodantin) is a type of antibiotic used to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections (UTIs). Other brands of nitrofurantoin include Furadantin and Macrobid.

Nitrofurantoin comes in tablet, capsule, and liquid forms. It is commonly prescribed at a dose of 50-100 milligrams at bedtime for the prevention of urinary tract infections for adults and teenagers. 

The typical dose of nitrofurantoin for treating active urinary tract infections is 50-100 milligrams every six hours.

Nitrofurantoin is available in extended-release capsules with a common dosage of 100 milligrams every 12 hours for children 12 years and older and adults. 

Nitrofurantoin isn’t recommended for babies under the age of one month. For use in children under the age of 12, the dose is based on body weight.

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How does nitrofurantoin macrodantin work?

Urinary tract infections (also called bladder infections) impact both men and women. However, women are much more likely to develop UTIs because their urethras (the tube carrying urine out of the bladder) are much shorter than in a man. This means that bacteria can more easily travel from outside the body and into the bladder.

It’s important to treat UTIs promptly because, left untreated, they can lead to kidney infections.

Nitrofurantoin works by killing the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. Most of the drug is filtered out of your blood and gets concentrated in your bladder, where it can most efficiently kill bacteria. Nitrofurantoin is unique because it’s designed to be concentrated in your bladder.

22 foods to avoid when taking nitrofurantoin macrodantin 

For the most part, you can eat a normal diet while taking antibiotics like nitrofurantoin. However, certain things can reduce the absorption of antibiotics in general, such as calcium supplements and grapefruit juice

Because recommendations regarding calcium and grapefruit while taking nitrofurantoin vary among online sources, you should consult your pharmacist for the most up-to-date recommendations.

While scientific studies are lacking regarding sugar intake and UTIs, anecdotally, it’s recommended to avoid high-sugar foods to help prevent UTIs.

You might be more prone to developing glucose in your urine if you have a history of insulin resistance and/or high blood sugar. High urine glucose can feed bacteria and might lead to a urinary tract infection.

High-sugar foods

For general health, try to avoid high-sugar foods and drinks like:

  • Soda
  • Sweetened teas and coffee
  • Fruit-flavored drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Sweetened cereals
  • Desserts like cookies, cake, ice cream, etc.
  • Flavored yogurt
  • Granola and snack bars
  • Sports drinks
  • Flavored non-dairy milk
  • Salad dressings, condiments like ketchup, etc.
  • Table sugar, honey, agave nectar, etc.


Drinking alcohol in moderation while taking antibiotics like nitrofurantoin likely won’t impact its effectiveness. However, drinking large amounts of alcohol when you’re not feeling well isn’t a good idea and might make it take longer for you to feel better.


Taking large doses of caffeine might cause antibiotics to become more potent in certain cases, which could cause health problems. Caffeine also acts as a natural diuretic, making you urinate more frequently. 

Consuming large amounts of caffeine and not drinking enough water could lead to dehydration and worsen symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

The symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or burning when passing urine
  • Fever
  • Urine that looks dark, cloudy, or reddish (blood may be present in the urine)
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Pain when not urinating
  • Tiredness
  • Pain in your back or side below your ribs
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Only a small amount of urine despite a strong urge to urinate
  • In women, pressure above the pubic bone

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35 foods to eat while taking nitrofurantoin macrodantin

Now you know which foods to avoid while taking nitrofurantoin macrodantin, what foods should you include in your diet?

Taking antibiotics helps kill harmful infection-causing bacteria, but it can also kill beneficial bacteria. The healthy bacteria in your body are called your microbiome. They play an important role in your immune health, gut health, and more.

One of the most common side effects people experience while taking antibiotics is diarrhea from their beneficial bacteria being wiped out.

Most beneficial bacteria are found in your large intestine (colon) and part of your small intestine. So, this is why diet plays a major role in the health of your natural gut bacteria.

Probiotic-rich foods

Eating probiotic-rich foods can help support your healthy bacteria and prevent the negative side effects of a gut bacteria imbalance. 

Signs of a gut bacteria imbalance include:

  • Autoimmune issues like type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems, etc.
  • Digestive issues (irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, bloating)
  • Sleep issues
  • Skin problems
  • Allergies
  • Sugar cravings
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Mood disorders like depression and anxiety
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain

The best sources of probiotics are in foods and drinks like:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Sourdough bread
  • Foods with added probiotics
  • Certain cheeses like Swiss, provolone, Gouda, cheddar, Edam, Gruyère, and cottage cheese

High-fiber foods

Fiber acts as a prebiotic, so it helps feed beneficial bacteria in your gut. 

Some examples of high-fiber foods to include while taking nitrofurantoin include:

  • Whole grains (whole wheat bread, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, etc.)
  • Barley
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Aim to get at least 25 grams of fiber per day to help support your beneficial gut bacteria.

Protein-rich foods

Protein takes longer to empty from your stomach compared to carbohydrates like grains, fruits, and vegetables. Eating protein-rich foods might help reduce side effects like nausea and diarrhea while taking nitrofurantoin.

Fill up on protein from sources like:

  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Soy products like tofu, edamame, etc.

Bland foods

If you’re experiencing nausea, diarrhea, or other stomach upset while taking nitrofurantoin, a bland diet can help. Foods like bananas, applesauce, rice, and toast are popular when dealing with an uneasy stomach.

Low-fiber foods

While high-fiber foods are ideal to help feed your healthy gut bacteria, too much fiber can worsen diarrhea if you’re experiencing it as a side effect.

If you’re experiencing antibiotic-related diarrhea, temporarily easing your fiber intake can help ease symptoms. 

Some low-fiber foods to eat for diarrhea include:

  • Refined grains (white bread, white pasta, white rice, etc.) and foods made with refined flour
  • Canned fruits and vegetables without skin or seeds
  • Skinless and well-cooked vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Dairy products (as long as you don’t have lactose intolerance)

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What foods have antibiotic properties?

Some foods have natural antibiotic properties, which might help prevent and treat urinary tract infections. 

Some foods that might have antibacterial properties include:

  • Pineapple
  • Honey
  • Spices like cinnamon, cumin, ginger, clove, oregano, thyme
  • Garlic
  • Citrus fruit
  • Chili peppers
  • Seaweed
  • Cranberries (popular for the prevention of UTIs)

Other things to avoid while taking nitrofurantoin macrodantin

  • Avoid taking antacids that contain magnesium trisilicate (e.g., Genaton), which can prevent the antibiotic from working properly.
  • Sulfinpyrazone should be avoided while taking nitrofurantoin. Sulfinpyrazone is primarily used to treat gout, a type of joint inflammation from high uric acid levels.
  • Probenecid is another medication used to treat gout and should be avoided while taking nitrofurantoin.
  • While nitrofurantoin can be used during pregnancy, you should avoid it during the third trimester due to a small chance of a red blood cell problem in the baby.
  • You shouldn’t take nitrofurantoin if you have renal (kidney) impairment, such as a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of less than 60 mL/minute (1).

Urinary tract infection prevention

Prevention is the best medicine, and that is especially true for urinary tract infections. You should practice habits that reduce your risk of UTIs when taking nitrofurantoin and when you’re not. Many of these tips target women because they’re more prone to UTIs.

Some healthy lifestyle tips to help you avoid urinary tract infections include:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated helps flush bacteria out of your urinary tract. Dehydration is linked with a higher risk of UTIs, so drink enough fluids so that your urine isn’t dark in color or strong in odor.
  • For women, wipe front to back. One of the most common sources of bacteria that cause a UTI comes from the rectum, which is why you should never wipe from back to front when using the restroom.
  • (Women) Avoid using products like douches, scented sprays, and powders near your genital area. These products may alter the normal pH of your vaginal flora and might predispose you to a UTI.
  • (Women) Urinate after sex. Many women get UTIs after sex when bacteria are introduced into the urethra. Try to urinate after sexual activity to help flush out bacteria and reduce the risk of getting a UTI.

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Should nitrofurantoin macrodantin be taken with food?

You should take nitrofurantoin with food or milk to reduce potential side effects. Taking nitrofurantoin on an empty stomach makes you more likely to develop gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Taking nitrofurantoin with food can help increase its concentration in your bladder by up to 40%.

What is the best time to take nitrofurantoin macrodantin?

You should take nitrofurantoin as prescribed, which is typically at bedtime or every six hours. It doesn’t matter what time of day you take it, but you should stay on schedule and try to time doses when you can eat a meal or snack with your dose.

Any other safety concerns?

Side effects

The most common side effects of taking nitrofurantoin include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or sleepiness


Nitrofurantoin is also associated with certain risks such as:

  • Liver problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Red blood cell damage (hemolysis)
  • Lung inflammation
  • Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances due to diarrhea

How to reduce the side effects of nitrofurantoin macrodantin

The best way to reduce the side effects of nitrofurantoin is to take it with food or milk and to take it as prescribed. If you miss a nitrofurantoin dose, don’t take two doses the next time you’re scheduled to take it.


Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic specifically meant to treat and prevent urinary tract infections. To help promote gut and overall health while taking antibiotics like nitrofurantoin, it’s ideal to eat probiotic-rich foods, high-fiber foods, and protein-rich foods. 

You should eat bland, low-fiber foods only if you’re experiencing diarrhea or other types of stomach upset that can come with taking antibiotics.

Avoid eating high-sugar foods, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and consuming large amounts of caffeine while taking antibiotics like nitrofurantoin macrodantin.

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  1. Squadrito FJ, del Portal D. Nitrofurantoin. [Updated 2022 Jun 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470526/ 

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