During and post-surgery, the body is put under an incredible amount of stress. Not only is it dealing with the physical shock and ‘trauma’ of the procedure, it also requires more fuel in order to heal itself quickly and effectively. Add a cocktail of medications for pain and antibiotics into the mix and you’ll find that nutrition plays a huge role in aiding the body to perform its best after surgery.
It’s important to understand which nutritional components the body seeks as it heals itself so that one can provide it with the best dietary choices in the days and weeks afterwards.
We’re looking at three key elements to focus on post-surgery.
As the muscle tissue is often damaged during invasive surgery, the body begins to repair itself by creating new fibres. In order to make these muscle fibres, it needs protein. If it isn’t receiving enough protein from your diet during this stage, it will find it from elsewhere. This can lead to non-essential muscles deteriorating as the body takes protein from them in order to heal.
What to eat: poultry, fish, lean meat, soy based foods, beans, lentils, eggs, natural yoghurt.
As it’s responsible for the creation of connective tissues, vitamin C is a crucial element in the healing process of the body. This is because the enzymes which help form the collagen (which is responsible for the structure of connective tissue) cannot function without its co-factor – vitamin C! It is also a powerful antioxidant which can help stabilise your immune system when it might be weakened by surgery.
What to eat: citrus fruits, strawberries, pineapple, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, kale and tomato.
Vitamin A plays an important role within cell regeneration which is key in the healing process. It also helps to lower risk of infection as it aids the immune system and can help with inflammation.
What to eat: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, dark leafy greens and cantaloupe.
A word on healthy fats:
It is common knowledge that healthy fats are a huge benefit to your overall diet but they are especially important during a period of healing. Not only do good fats assist in the body’s immune response, they also play a big part in its ability to absorb vitamins.
It’s important to note that this post focuses nutrition through your diet. Should you be considering boosting your intake of any of the above via supplements, first speak with their doctor or dietician first.
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