The Best Diet For Recovering From Surgery
As Americans, we’re inundated with diet trends and new studies about preventative eating to minimize poor health outcomes, but we’re much less familiar with diets for the sake of recovery. Sticking to a diet doesn’t just mean cutting out foods and reducing calories. When the body is recovering from something as intense as a surgery, it needs calories to rebuild.
This doesn’t mean those recovering from surgery should be eating extra calories for the sake of calories, also known as empty calories, but that more nutritional calories should be consumed. Consciously trying to add extra protein, minerals, calcium, vitamins, carbohydrates, and even some fats are all beneficial. Increasing nutritional calories allows tissues, ligaments, and muscles to heal more quickly. With most surgeries, muscle is either moved out of the way or cut through and one of the body’s first priorities is to heal the damaged tissue.
In order to regenerate and repair muscle, we need protein. Think about the way bodybuilders add muscle.
Try consuming more:
These will all give you a sustained boost in protein.
- Truly Natural Peanut butter
- Organic Greek Yogurt
These all make great healthy snacks. Try these recipes for 3 Homemade Snack Foods That Are Healthier And Tastier Than Store Bought and will give a healthy hearty boost of protein!
For those who are vegetarian or vegan:
- Peanut butter
- Alternative nut butters
These are the best protein options. Some surgeries do restrict grains and nuts, so be sure to consult your doctor about what is allowed/not allowed.
Next, the body needs vitamins and minerals as well as protein to heal. While taking a regular vitamin supplement has its benefits, natural food sources are best when recovering from a surgery.
If you’re not regularly a fruit and vegetables person, post surgery is a great time to start.
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
These are just a few examples that are packed with Vitamin C. Vitamin C aids soft tissue repair, calcium helps rebuild bone, vitamin E is an antioxidant, and vitamin D maintains overall organ and bone health. Milk contains both vitamin D and calcium.
Also, try adding sunflower seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, and avocados to your diet for a boost in vitamin E. It is important, however, to abstain from taking vitamin E supplements 7-10 days before surgery. Vitamin E is associated with production of red blood cells, meaning a higher possibility for increased bleeding during surgery.
Hand in hand with the food you eat!
It is imperative to stay hydrated.
- Try to drink at least eight cups of water per day beyond your consumption of caffeinated beverages.
- Try to reduce alcohol intake while the recovery process is ongoing.
- Try add drinks that are healthy but will keep your body hydrated and filled with electrolytes so if you feel you can’t drink eight cups of plain water try some excellent healthy choices: Coconut water, green tea, bone broth is a great alternative For those seeking a nutrient rich beverage, consider switching to full-fat dairy products such as raw whole milk over fat-free milks.
This article is not intended to be one-size fits all, but regardless of the type surgery, your recovery diet will greatly impact recovery time so it is important to take it seriously. Countless studies have maintained that when recovering from surgery, a nutritional diet is half the battle. Consult with your doctor first because each situation is unique and what is beneficial for one person may not be beneficial for another. The way you recover can determine the overall success of the surgery, the need for additional or repeat surgeries, and the ultimate result so it pays to consider all factors.
Author Bio: Max Gottlieb is the content manager for ALTCS and Senior Planning. Both organizations work in tandem to provide free assistance to the elderly and their families when it comes to finding care options, benefits, or senior housing.