Recommended Diet and Nutrition before and after Surgery

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Diana Smith, World Executives Digest |  Any type of surgery is bound to cause our body a lot of stress. Our tissue often gets cut through and then stitched back together. A surgery can cause a significant amount of pain, too. So, how do we prepare our body for a surgery and help it heal afterwards? One way is through nutrition. So, here’s what to eat before and after surgery.

4 weeks before surgery

To make sure your body is strong enough to go through surgery, you should boost your immune system first. This means you should eat fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin C, such as strawberries, oranges, mango, broccoli or peppers. Also, you can find vitamin E in almonds and vitamin D in eggs. Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids can also be helpful, so eat a lot of fish, like salmon or sardines. Furthermore, spinach, poultry and various types of seeds can help boost your immunity. In addition to this, try drinking 8 glasses of water a day and some green tea with honey and lemon, since these are great antioxidants. When our body turns food into energy, harmful free radicals remain in our bloodstream as byproducts of this process. Antioxidants help us remove these radicals. Aside from water, tea and lemon, foods rich in antioxidants include tomatoes, berries, red grapes, apples and peanuts. What you eat before the surgery can help you heal afterwards, so make sure you eat a lot of protein-rich foods. Some recommendations would be cottage cheese, fish, poultry, yoghurt or eggs, but also walnuts or almonds, as well as soy milk and tofu for vegetarians. Moreover, include Zinc in your nutrition, since it helps heal wounds. Foods rich in Zinc include lamb, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas or cashews.

A week before surgery

There are certain foods that are good for your overall health, but can interfere with anesthesia and the bleeding and healing period after the surgery. These foods should be avoided a week before surgery. Vitamins C, K, B and E fall into this category, as well as green tea, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. Allergenic foods should be eliminated from your diet, so stay away from wheat, soy, peanuts or milk, but also foods rich in refined sugar, which suppress immune function. Omega-3’s can increase your bleeding time, since they’re blood thinners, so avoid fish before your surgery. And don’t forget that alcohol and caffeine are considered neurotoxic, which means you should avoid those completely. Although there are some surgeries that are less invasive than others, the same dietary regimen should be applied to those, too. However, this is something you should consider and talk to your doctor about. For example, minimally invasive surgeries like laparoscopy or microsurgery, instead of the classic ones may work better for you. There are even completely non-invasive and non-surgical procedures, such as coolsculpting in Perth, which eliminates excess body fat on areas of your choosing without the stress of real surgery.

After surgery

The post-surgical period requires you to eat foods which will help you heal and recover as quickly and painlessly as possible, while reducing swelling and inflammation. Although you should continue eating what you did before the surgery and avoid allergenic foods, alcohol and caffeine, there are certain nutrients you should now add to your diet. It is usually recommended that the first week after surgery, you eat the same foods you did a week before surgery. You should add foods with anti-inflammatory properties, like avocado, sour cherries, or extra-virgin olive oil, and avoid fried or processed food, rich in saturated and trans-fats and refined sugar. Supplements like Zinc, Coenzyme Q10, Probiotics and Glutamine will go a long way to help your recovery, while Bromelain can reduce post-operative bruising and swelling.

Knowing that there are foods that can make the whole surgical process easier on us is extremely helpful. So, follow the advice from this article, but stay on the safe side by also consulting with your doctor about your specific surgery and what you are and aren’t allowed to eat before and after it.