Surgery can bring about stress in the human body. A lot of hormonal and metabolic changes often take place after the body undergoes injury or trauma. After surgery, the body increases its metabolic rate, and the best way to cope with this is through good nutrition. Nutrition can hasten recovery, rebuild damaged muscles and bones as well as replenish the body of lost nutrients.

So, what are the best diets for people recovering from surgery? Here they are:

Whole Foods

By this, we mean foods which are “whole” or unprocessed.  Examples of whole foods are fresh fruits and vegetables while processed foods would mean powdered juices, white bread, chips, cakes and pastries. Avoid intake of processed foods.Fresh fruits and vegetables contain a lot of fiber which is necessary in rebuilding damaged tissues.

One disadvantage you may encounter while eating fresh fruits and vegetables after surgery is too much gas. However, this is only temporary as your body adjusts its gastrointestinal function for normal passage of food after surgery. Gas and abdominal cramps may disappear within a day or two and may subside when you increase your intake of whole foods gradually.

You may also take in whole grains instead of refined grains. Whole grains contain healthy amounts of vitamins and minerals that speed up your recovery. Choose whole grains and cereals instead of white, refined ones. You can gradually add rice into your diet, but be sure to consume unprocessed rice so that essential nutrients are preserved in them. Brown rice is one such type of rice you can consume after surgery.

The best time of adding whole foods into your diet is during the morning. So why not skip the bacon and eggs and focus on a whole grain cereal with whole bread and fresh fruits?

High Fiber Diet

Fiber is an essential food in your recovery because it has various health benefits. Fiber can help prevent constipation, which is a major problem after surgery. Examples of high-fiber foods are whole grain breads, fruits, vegetables and cereals.

There are various foods you have to avoid because they may cause constipation after surgery. Constipation can contribute to abdominal pain and discomfort after surgery and may place additional stress to abdominal incisions. Avoid constipation-causing foods such as dried or dehydrated foods (including dried fruit except prunes), potato chips, beef jerky, cheese, milk and other dairy products, red meat, sweets and other processed foods.

Lean Protein Foods

Protein is necessary in building and repairing body tissues. However, choose lean cuts such as lean meats, chicken, turkey and lean pork. Avoid consuming red meat because it contains a lot of saturated fat which can in turn cause constipation. Other non-meat, protein-containing foods are nuts, beans, tofu and other vegetable-containing foods. If you have difficulty in taking in food, you can sprinkle protein powder on your soups and cream bases.

Milk and dairy products may be consumed but only in moderation. If you crave for milk and dairy, choose low fat types such as yogurt, skim milk and cottage cheese.

Calorie-Dense Foods

These foods are recommended if you have problems in eating properly after surgery. Examples of calorie-dense foods are avocados, low-fat milk smoothies, cottage cheese, skim milk, heavy cream, potatoes, and fruits. You can also enjoy a bedtime snack to squeeze in more calories to your body.

If you have any questions about post-surgical nutrition, talk to your doctor or nutritionist so that your questions may be answered and your eating habits may be optimized for your fast recovery.

This is a guest post by Daniel Vanderhoek who works for Injury Lawyer Abbotsford BC.

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