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Eating Well During Recovery

Optimal nutrition plays an essential role in supporting a strong recovery and helping you get back to what you love to do as quickly as possible. Here are a few “dos and don’ts” of post-operative nutrition to ensure you or your loved one gets the nutrients they need to power through the recovery period

Keeping Your Calories Up

It is a common misconception that being less active and resting while you recover from surgery requires fewer calories, it’s quite the opposite. Surgery increases your body’s need for calories so maintaining a good post-op diet with enough calories is essential.

Managing Surgery Side Effects

Early nutrition is essential to the recovery process, but decreased appetite and nausea can make getting your much need nutrients difficult. If appetite or nausea presents an issue, patients should try to eat smaller nutrient-dense meals more frequently.

Getting Enough Protein

Proteins are critical in helping repair damaged body tissues, form antibodies to fight infections, and synthesize collagen, which is necessary for scar formation. It is common to consume about 60 grams of protein per day, but after surgery, your body needs much more to help the healing process—so expect to up your intake of protein following your surgery!

What to Cut Back On

Now that you know a few of the essentials that make up good post-operative nutrition, here are a few things you should definitely keep to a minimum to keep your recovery on track:

  1. Sugary Foods. Keep in mind that blood sugar levels may rise after surgery, so it is a good idea to avoid foods high in refined sugar like cake, cookies, chocolate, and soft drinks.
  2. Alcohol should be avoided as interaction with pain medications can cause negative side effects. Alcohol can also cause dehydration and hinder your body’s ability to heal wounds.
  3. Highly Processed Foods. Most processed foods contain low amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. They may also have higher levels of sodium, preservatives, fat, and sugar.

We hope these couple of pointers help you to develop a good post-operative nutrition plan for yourself or a loved one. If you’d like to stay connected with us for more health tips and the latest on St. Cloud Orthopedics, sign up for our eNewsletter and follow us on social media!