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Best foods after surgery

1 answer | Last updated: Jul 12, 2012
dsbio asked...

I'm having knee surgery and what are best for quick healthy recovery.


Caring.com User - Beth Reardon
Caring.com Expert
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Beth Reardon, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is Caring.com senior food and nutrition editor and the director of integrative nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine. As...
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Beth Reardon answered...

It does not matter what type of surgery you are recovering from "“ eating the right foods can impact the speed of healing and overall recovery. Following any invasive procedure - even those done laproscopically, you can expect there will be a certain amount of inflammation, swelling and pain. For this reason an anti-inflammatory diet that provides the proper nutrients for healing and warding off infections is critical. Here are the essential ingredients to speed your recovery.

  1. Anti-oxidant rich diet: A diet rich in anti-oxidants provides essential nutrients for wound healing like vitamins C, E and A. They are found in a wide range of plant foods particularly the orange colored and green leaf varieties and fruits such as berries, cherries and citrus.

  2. Herbs and spices: Equally impressive are the significant anti-inflammatory benefits from herbs and spices like turmeric, curry cumin and ginger. These contain compounds that inhibit the formation of inflammatory hormones allowing the immune to system to focus on its number one priority of healing.

  3. Protein: Foods that are high in protein provide the body with zinc along with the essential building blocks needed for cell repair and proper immune function. Your body will require approximately 1.25 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. Focus on "clean anti-inflammatory sources "such as wild salmon, sardines, black cod and herring. These contain omega 3 fats that are critical to balancing inflammation. Nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs, organic meats, Greek yogurt and protein powders are other good sources.

  4. Fiber: Constipation is often an unwelcome side effect of surgery especially if anesthesia is involved "“ or if you will be off your feet for a bit. For this reason it is a good idea to bump up your fiber intake from whole vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. If a supplemental source is required, psyllium fiber "“ like that found in Metamucil, may be helpful. Be sure to drink plenty of water to allow the fiber to do its job.

  5. Finally I like the idea of consuming your favorite greens tea regularly throughout the day. It contains significant amounts of anti-inflammatory plant compounds that also help to inhibit inflammation and promote healing. Best of luck for a speedy recovery!