Nutrition

To promote healing, eat balanced, nutritious meals with adequate calories and protein to enable your body to replenish proteins depleted by surgery, and to reduce the risk of complications such as infections or poor wound healing. 

Your body needs carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water (called "nutrients") to support the repair process. Here are a few tips to speed your recovery and make things a little easier to handle.

How much water should I be drinking?

Drinking a sufficient amount of fluid is essential for maintaining adequate hydration and allowing your body to heal. More fluid may be needed, depending on the type of medication you are taking, or the extent of your injury. Don’t wait until your body is dehydrated or you are thirsty. Keep bottle of water handy, and plan for plenty of refreshing beverages throughout the day to maintain fluid balance.

What types of food should I be eating?

Eat well-balanced meals and a wide variety of foods to obtain all the nutrients your body needs for tissue repair. Your body requires more protein and calcium during this time of healing.

Are there special recommendations for patients having surgery? 

  • Increase your calcium intake to 1,500 mg/day, especially if your surgery or injury involves bone.
  • Be sure to meet your daily protein needs (about 6-12 ounces per day).
  • Avoid weight loss/crash dieting before and after surgery to ensure adequate nutrients and energy for recovery.
  • Eat well-balanced meals to lower the risk of infection after your surgery. Vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin A are especially important in preventing infections.
  • If following surgery you lose your appetite for a day or two, try nutrient-rich drinks and shakes in order to give your body enough nutrients and calories. Carnation® Instant Breakfast, Ensure®, Boost® and Sustacal® are good choices.

Now that I may experience limited mobility, what can I do to make life a little easier?

If you’re scheduled to undergo surgery, plan ahead for your recovery time:

  • Make sure that plenty of water, juices, milk, and other healthy drinks are available.
  • Prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them for later use.
  • Stock up on healthy, low-preparation foods such as yogurt, fruit, pudding, low-fat frozen dinners, instant cereals, canned or instant soups, shredded cheese, packaged tuna, or canned foods.