Recovery from surgery can take time. Even if we feel like getting right back into our usual routine, our bodies may tell us otherwise. To make a speedier recovery, it’s critical that you follow the post-surgery plans as outlined by your doctor. It’s also important to get a lot of rest and to do any physical activity that your doctor or physical therapist recommends. Thankfully, to assist in our recovery, nature also provides many foods that promote healing and can help fight several post-surgery complications. Here are eight foods in alphabetical order that can get you feeling like your old self more quickly. Remember, eating healthier prior to surgery can also assist in your eventual recovery, so you might want to rethink your diet now!
8 Powerful Foods That Can Help You Heal After Surgery
It’s what’s on the inside that counts! Crack open some eggs to give your body a boost. Just one egg gives you a dose of protein, vitamins A and E, B-complex vitamins (including B12), riboflavin, folic acid, calcium, zinc, and iron. There’s a reason why eggs are among the first things served to recovering patients.
This one may come as a surprise to some people, but not all fat is bad fat! Following surgery, healthy fats help your body absorb vitamins from the other foods in your diet. It strengthens the immune system and can decrease your chance of infection. Other benefits of fats include providing energy and vitamin E, and they can also reduce the appearance of scars. Some healthy fats to add to your diet include:
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
Before and after surgery, you’ll want to get yourself a fruit bowl and fill it with all your favorites (simplify things and ask friends or family to send a fruit basket!). Fruits offer a good dose of vitamin A, C, carbohydrates, fiber, and antioxidants. One of the best fruits are berries; they may be small, but berries pack a punch! They’re also a great source of vitamin C, which has been shown to rebuild collagen and soft tissue, healing your incision site faster. Not a big fruit eater? Get out the blender and make delicious smoothies. There are countless recipes online! Some of the best fruits to consider in your diet include:
Greens are like nature’s multivitamin, providing a wealth of nutrients a healing body needs. Eating greens will give you a healthy dose of vitamin A, C, and E. Not familiar with vitamin K? It’s produced by plants and is well-known for its role in blood clotting, which aids in healing. Need more proof that greens are good? They also give your body a hearty amount of fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Go green with these leafy greens:
- Bok Choy
- Collard Greens
- Romaine Lettuce
- Turnip Greens
Meats or Alternatives
It’s surf and turf time! The protein and iron provided by meats are important to repair damaged muscles following your procedure. The amino acids in meat help regenerate tissue and aid in the production of collagen, which protects the skin and ensures effective healing. If you’re one of the 7.2 million Americans who abstain from meat, there are numerous other sources of protein. Vegetarians (and even vegans) can get their proteins from soy (it’s even better in the form of tofu), buckwheat, oatmeal, rice, quinoa, beans, hummus—even that old favorite, PB&J sandwich! Food to stock up on for better healing include:
Probiotics are living bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial to your body. These healthy bacteria help your body digest food, achieve mental balance, and fight off germs and infections. When you have surgery, you can harm the equilibrium of good and bad bacteria in your body; ultimately, you could wind up with more bad bacteria that can lead to complications, constipation, and nausea. So, you’ll want to include some of the following probiotic foods in your diet to keep that bad bacteria in check!
If your mom always told you to eat your vegetables, she had good reason to! Vegetables provide some of the most important vitamins and nutrients to help your healing body. Vegetables also provide a source of carbohydrates, which give you energy and help stop muscles from breaking down. A healthy amount of carbohydrates will help you fight some of the fatigue you may feel following surgery. These vegetables are great sources of vitamin A and C, and add fiber to your diet, which can reduce constipation, a common side effect of pain medication and lowered mobility. You want to keep yourself from becoming constipated as putting strain on your body can compromise your wound closure, even resulting in wound dehiscence. Vegetables to consider include:
- Bell Peppers
- Brussel Sprouts
Most of us know the importance of fruit and vegetables, but often overlook whole grains, which is a mistake we must not make. This essential food group contains an extensive list of vitamins and nutrients, many of which are necessary for wound healing: protein and zinc to help repair tissue, iron to deliver oxygen to the wound bed, and magnesium to up the body’s defense mechanisms. Some foods to consider introducing to your diet include:
- Whole wheat or rye sourdough breads
- Wild Rice
While these eight foods can help speed up your recovery process, it’s important to remember that other foods can hurt the healing process and cancel out the benefits of these power foods. So, try to avoid caffeine, alcohol, excessive sugar, and salt; all of these can slow bone healing by depleting your body of nutrients. And remember, drink plenty of water!
One more way you may be able to reduce recuperation time following surgery? Ask your physician about using BandGrip. BandGrip, Inc.—recently named a 2019 top orthopedic solutions provider by MedTech Outlook magazine—offers a non-invasive method of wound closure that uses micro-anchors to grip the skin and hold it together, allowing for more natural healing without the need for sutures or staples. BandGrip wound closures improve ambulation, and reduce the amount of time physicians need to spend on suturing with no return trip for removal.