What Should I Eat After Surgery to Aid in Healing?

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When you look at these pictures, almost all of these foods are great to eat on an everyday basis. According to many nutrition websites, these foods are especially important to consume when you are recovering from surgery.

Putting the foods in categories helps us understand specifically how they aid in healing:

Protein-Rich Foods
Protein provides amino acids which help build and repair tissue. Animal protein also contains B12 aiding the body in producing new blood cells. Protein, unlike “bad” carbs does not spike your blood sugar meaning that your energy level should improve faster. Try to choose good sources of protein including fish, turkey, chicken, egg whites and many vegetable sources like legumes, beans, peas, and lentils.

Foods containing Vitamin C:
It is very important post-surgery to stay healthy and prevent infection. Use Vitamin C just as you would to prevent colds and other viruses. The vitamin protects your cells from free radicals and really helps in healing the wound. We automatically think of citrus fruits for large amounts of Vitamin C, but many other fruits & vegetables contain the vitamin also: red bell peppers, berries, kiwi, mangos, papaya, cantaloupe, leafy greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Iron-Rich Foods
It is common knowledge that iron is great for your blood. You should actually increase your hemoglobin content prior to surgery. And after surgery your blood needs to carry oxygen to your tissues for repair. Red meat, especially liver, is suggested, but if you are vegetarian eat:
Legumes: lentils, soybeans, tofu, tempeh, lima beans Grains: quinoa, fortified cereals, brown rice, oatmeal Nuts and seeds: pumpkin, squash, pine, pistachio, sunflower, cashews, unhulled sesame Vegetables: tomato sauce, swiss chard, collard greens

Foods to Increase Collagen:
Collagen is a type of protein, and works with keratin to provide the middle layer of our skin (dermis) with strength necessary to heal the wound. Plus we get the added benefit of collagen to reduce our wrinkles and improve the smoothness and elasticity in our skin. There are several foods to eat to increase collagen: soy, beans, red fruits and vegetables, dark green vegetables, flaxseed, avocado oil, rose hips, and chocolate.

Notice the overlap for many of these foods that are high in protein, vitamin C, iron, and collagen! Try to eat these everyday during recovery. Happy Healing!

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