When you're gearing up for surgery, diet might be the last thing on your mind. However, what you eat before your procedure can significantly impact your recovery. A well-balanced diet can strengthen your immune system, reduce the risk of infection, provide essential nutrients for tissue healing, and potentially shorten your hospital stay. In this article, we'll delve into pre-surgery nutrition and highlight the best foods to include in your surgery diet to promote a smooth and speedy recovery.
As you prepare for surgery, try to follow a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from all food groups. This approach ensures you receive the full spectrum of nutrients necessary for healing. The key components of your pre-surgery diet should include:
As your surgery date approaches, you may receive specific dietary guidance during your pre-operative assessment. Depending on your circumstances, you may be advised to make adjustments to your diet. Here are some common considerations:
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After surgery, the type of diet you should follow depends on the kind of surgery you had and any existing health conditions you may have so it is always worth asking for advice. For example, if you had bowel surgery, you might need a low-fibre diet to help your digestive system heal properly. People with kidney or liver issues may be advised to limit their protein intake. Conditions like diverticulitis or intestinal stricture may require you to avoid hard-to-digest foods like nuts. In some cases, like after dental surgery, you might need to stick to liquids and soft foods for the first few days to ensure a comfortable and smooth recovery. A diet after heart surgery should include foods that are rich in protein, antioxidants (fruit and veg), and omega-3 fatty acids (oily fish).
As a general rule, to prepare for a successful recovery, plan to consume healthy, plant-based foods rich in fibre, including beans, fruits, lentils, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables. After surgery, the combination of pain medications and reduced physical activity can often lead to constipation. Consuming these high-fibre foods and staying properly hydrated can help.
After surgery, patients often receive antibiotics as part of their treatment. Taking probiotics can help restore the balance of beneficial gut bacteria that may be disrupted by antibiotics. This can help support a healthy gut microbiome, reduce the risk of infections, alleviate digestive issues, and support a faster recovery overall.
A well-nourished body is better equipped to handle the stress of surgery and recover effectively. Prioritising a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet with an emphasis on healthy proteins, grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can help boost your immune system, facilitate wound healing, and contribute to a smoother recovery.
Wishing you the very best of health!
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