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Heal With Food: Recover From Surgery With A Nutritious Diet

While a balanced diet is always important, your body needs a little extra help to recover properly after surgery.  Creating balanced meals to help you recover will be easy as pie once you lay out what should be in a meal to make it nutritional.  Not to mention, planning ahead by grocery shopping before surgery will make recovery that much easier with one less thing to worry about.  Here’s a few tips from CosmetiCare Plastic Surgery Center and MedSpa to help you heal with food to recover from surgery.

Protein

Foods for after surgery

To promote new tissue growth, healing and to fight infection, you need to eat foods that are high in protein. Quinoa, rice and beans, green peas, and nuts are all good sources. Nut butter smoothies are loaded with protein and vitamins, and they can be a perfect breakfast or snack for those not quite ready for more solid foods. Here are some other ways to get protein into your diet:

  • Add some protein, vitamins and minerals to your smoothie by packing it full of raw spinach leaves — all the benefits with no spinach flavor.

  • Avocados can also be added to a smoothie, sandwich or toast and they are packed with good fat and protein. 

  • Tofu is a really versatile protein that is low in calories, and it’s essentially a blank canvas for flavor — it takes the flavor of what you cook it with. Try adding it to a simple stir fry for a quick serving of veggies and protein.

Beta-carotene

Foods for after surgery

Beta-carotene, can be found in a wide variety of plant products. A deficiency can lead to reduced immunity, so it’s important to make sure you get plenty before and after surgery. Here are some places to find this essential nutrient:

  • Beta-carotene can be found in orange foods like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin, carrots and mangos.

  • Dark leafy greens like mustard greens, collard greens, swiss chard, kale and spinach are also a great way to get some of this extremely important vitamin.

Vitamin C

Foods for after surgery

Vitamin C, also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ is critical to wound healing and bleeding prevention —  making this vitamin absolutely vital to your recovery. To make sure you get vitamin C in your diet, try some of the following:

  • Citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberries and bell peppers are all loaded with vitamin C.

  • Broccoli is also a great source of vitamin C, although your doctor may ask you to avoid foods that could make you gassy.

Vitamin E

Foods for after surgery

Vitamin E helps strengthen your immune system to fight infection after surgery. Free radicals can interfere with scar healing, but the antioxidants in vitamin E fight these free radicals and promote healing, improving the appearance of scar tissue. Vitamin E can be applied topically to dry skin to hydrate and reduce discomfort of healing skin.

  • Almonds, sunflower seeds and wheat germ are all rich in vitamin E.

Meal Ideas

It can be difficult to find the energy to make a nutritious meal even when you haven’t just had surgery, so quick and easy meals will be your friend during your recovery process. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Breakfast should be pretty straight-forward and easy. Some old fashioned oats with fresh fruits or nuts is a great way to start your day. Throw in some ground flax seeds for a little extra nutrition.  If oatmeal isn’t your thing, you can try whole wheat toast with nut butter and a side of fruit, or avocado toast with olive oil and smoked paprika sprinkled on top.

  • Lunch can include a baked potato or sweet potato, with a protein like tofu or garbanzo beans over steamed greens like spinach. Include some nuts for extra protein and a little fat.

  • Dinner could be a simple stir fry or something more involved like a lentil soup.  Steamed vegetables served over brown rice is a simple meal that can be put together pretty quickly as well.

If you don’t have much of an appetite for food right after surgery, teas can be great to help you feel better and increase your fluid intake.  Mint and ginger tea especially can help settle the stomach and soothe nausea. Additionally, they are rich in minerals and calm the nervous system.

Several months after surgery, when you are feeling back to normal, consider a mild detox to help your body release the anaesthetic and pain killers.

Remember: your health is your best asset. Take good care.

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