Post-Surgery Diet for Fast Healing

Post-Surgery Diet for the Quickest Scar Healing Process

For the quickest healing of wounds, the body needs products containing:

  • Increased protein content (meat, fish provisions, poultry dishes)
  • Vitamin A (orange fruits and vegetables, liver, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables)
  • Vitamin C (citrus fruits, cabbage, sweet pepper, tomatoes, asparagus beans, leafy herbs)
  • Zinc (meat and beef liver, seafood, legumes, herbs)
  • Arachidonic acid (pork fat and liver)
  • Fatty acids (oil and fish oil)

There is a high risk of dehydration immediately after surgery. Therefore, it is crucial for patients to stay hydrated: the patient should drink up to 52 ounces of water per day.

The following article contains excerpts from an originally posted article on the Key which can be found here.

Top 10 Foods to Eat After Surgery to Promote Healing

The transition home after surgery has its challenges, but you can help aid healing and recovery with good nutrition.

There are a few key things you can do to have a smooth transition from surgery to your recovery at  home — and one of the most important things to focus on while healing from surgery is nutrition. These foods will provide your body with the energy and nutrition it needs to fight off infections, accelerate healing, increase your strength and energy and maintain your nutrient stores.

1. Berries

Antioxidants are a powerhouse of nutrition that help the body repair damage.

Fruits with antioxidants include:

  • Grapes
  • Pomegranates
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Goji berries
  • Blackberries

Berries are also an excellent source of vitamin C. Research shows that vitamin C is helpful in rebuilding collagen and soft tissue, meaning your incision site will heal quicker.

2. Vegetables

The vitamins and minerals you will find in vegetables are some of the most important nutrients in your healing diet.

Eat these vegetables as a snack or part of a meal:

  • Carrots
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Potatoes

Including these veggies in your daily diet adds a healthy source of carbohydrates, which will help you battle post-surgery fatigue. Carbohydrates provide your brain with energy and stop muscle from breaking down. Your body will also get a boost of vitamin A and C. Another great benefit is that the fiber in a diet high in vegetables reduces constipation, which is a common side effect of pain medication and decreased mobility.

3. Fats (nuts, oils, fish)

Remember, healthy fat is your friend. Especially following surgery, healthy fat helps your body absorb all of the vitamins you are getting from your fruits and veggies. Fat is essential for strengthening your immune system and decreasing your chance of infection.

Healthy fats to include:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Coconut oil
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Fats provide you with a long-lasting source of energy. Many types of fats and nuts are high in vitamin E, particularly almonds. Vitamin E also helps wounds heal faster and reduce the appearance of scars.

4. Dark Leafy Greens

A hearty serving of green on your plate (or in your smoothie) gives you a dose of vitamin A, C, and E, as well as vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting.

Incorporate these vitamin-rich, dark leafy greens:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Bok choy
  • Mustard greens
  • Romaine lettuce

You will also be absorbing the B-complex vitamins, which help with energy levels. Don’t forget fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Greens are like a multivitamin!

5. Meat or Other Alternatives

As we age, it is important to eat adequate amounts of protein. Following surgery, our bodies need a lot of protein and iron to help repair muscles that might have been injured during surgery. Amino acids in the protein help repair muscle damage by regenerating tissue and speeding up wound healing. Iron will help you regain your energy levels more quickly as iron creates new blood cells.

Stock up on iron and protein through foods like:

  • Poultry (chicken)
  • Seafood
  • Beans and lentils
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Tofu

After surgery, you may find that you have difficulty chewing tougher meats. Try meats that have been slow-cooked in sauces or ground meats. 

6. Eggs

Eggs are a traditional first meal to serve to easily pack protein into your recovery diet. These nutrients are vital for a quick recovery. The best part is that eggs are easy to serve and prepare

One egg provides you with:

  • 6 Grams of protein
  • Vitamins A, E and K
  • B complex vitamins (including B12)
  • Riboflavin
  • Folic acid
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Iron

7. Probiotics

Probiotics are the happy, healthy bacteria that your body needs to digest food and provide mental health after your procedure. Some of the most common forms of probiotic-rich foods are:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi

Surgery can be rough on your system. Anesthesia, antibiotics and painkillers upset the delicate balance in your gut leaving you with digestive upsets, constipation and nausea. A healthy dose of probiotics can help to regulate your system.

8. Brightly colored fruits

After surgery, it is even more important to eat all the colors of the rainbow. Pile a bowl full of the brightest colored fruits and veggies and get a good dose of vitamin A, C, carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, and the nutritious calories your body needs to bounce back.

Fiber is essential following surgery to avoid the discomfort of constipation. Fruits provide that fiber with a dose of color, vitamins, and energy-boosting carbs.

  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Melon
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Grapefruit
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Tomatoes
  • Pineapple

Not only are fruits a powerhouse of healing nutrition but they are also light on the stomach and ideal for small, regular portions.

9. Whole grains

Eating plenty of whole grains after surgery will provide your body with the carbohydrates your brain needs for energy and stops your muscles from breaking down. Whole grains also give you another dose of fiber. You are going to feel tired and worn out following your surgery and the right kind of carbs will bring your energy levels up.

Whole grain options:

  • Whole wheat or rye sourdough bread
  • Steel-cut oats
  • Quinoa
  • Wild rice

10. Water

The easiest and most overlooked thing we need after surgery is water. Dehydration is common and maintaining adequate levels of hydration will help you recover quicker. 

If drinking plain water is unappealing you can try:

  • Flavoring your water with lime or lemon
  • Drinking coconut water
  • Eating high water content foods like soup
  • Preparing a smoothie with extra fluid
  • Drinking herbal teas (either hot or cold)

Tips for a Fast Recovery after Surgery

Along with eating healthy after surgery, here are a few tips that can help you get back on your feet quicker.

  1. Manage your pain. You will experience pain after your surgery but following the pain medication plan that your doctor gives you can help. Make sure you are able to move comfortably. 
  2. Get adequate rest. Sleep is when your body can repair and heal. Make sure that you set aside time each day for rest. Set up your night environment to be comfortable and calming and allow yourself regular rest periods throughout the day.
  3. Get moving. Physical activity is just as important as rest. Do not push yourself to the point of injury. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about what activities you should be doing. Lying in bed all day can increase your risk of infection, pneumonia, and blood clots. Appropriate amounts of movement will help the flow of your blood, which can improve the healing process. We suggest walks or stationary biking. Nothing that is high impact or that will get your heart rate and blood pressure up. 

Recipes for Healing:

Anti inflammatory Smoothies:

Healing Soups:

Overnight protein oats:

Protein recipes:


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Dr Jordan Rihani is one of the best surgeons for facial plastic surgery, as well as facial cosmetic enhancements, in Texas.

Call (817) 529-3232 or fill out the form below for a consultation in our Fort Worth and Southlake clinics.

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