After surgery nutrition can be an aspect of recovery that is neglected or less commonly looked at. Your body needs several different vitamins and minerals to maximize the recovery process after the taxing event surgery can be. Whether for a major operation or a minor operation, after surgery nutrition is an important factor to look at. We will talk about the importance of several different vitamins and minerals along with common dietary sources of them.
What to Eat After Surgery Tips:
Vitamin C is a vitamin most well known for boosting the immune system, it is very commonly taken to help treat a cold or as an antioxidant. Its effects are documented and supplementation is recommended for several different reasons. The aspects we are especially interested in after surgery along with the immune boost would be for the formation of collagen, as a tissue antioxidant, and to boost the absorption of iron. These factors are all important to have adequate tissue formation while also keeping the body healthy and functioning after the stress of surgery. The recommended dose is 90 mg for adult men or 75 mg for adult women. Commonly dietary sources for Vitamin C include citrus fruits (oranges), vegetables (broccoli), and fortified beverages. Most multivitamins will also be an adequate source.
Zinc is an essential micronutrient that has numerous roles in the human body. It is critical in growth and development, the production of over 3000 proteins, cell membrane repair, and tissue maintenance. These are just some of the uses of zinc that show its importance in after surgery care where damage to the body must be repaired. Lack of zinc has been shown to delay wound healing and can even cause lesions to occur. The recommended amount of zinc is 11 mg for adult men and 9 mg for adult women. Dietary sources of zinc include red meats, oysters, and beans.
Bromelain is an enzyme that has anti-inflammatory properties. It has several properties that make it ideal for usage after surgeries such as earlier complete pain relief, reduction of post-surgery inflammation, and some trials indicate a reduction of bruising. Bromelain also can help with other disease states such as arthritis due to the inflammatory reduction, possibly helping with quality of life in patients suffering from those ailments who have also gone through surgery. Interestingly enough, the major source of dietary bromelain comes from pineapple flesh and stem. Supplementation through sources such as WoundVite may be a more easily taken source.
Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid that has an important role in wound recovery. Arginine is synthesized normally, but an additional amount is useful in times of injury or damage. It is part of the urea cycle and is turned into Nitrous Oxide which has beneficial effects upon the blood flow. An additional benefit to supplementation is an increase in the release of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor, both of which help aid wound recovery. All these aspects make arginine an important part of recovery nutrition. Dietary sources of arginine come from protein-rich sources such as fish, beef, and soy products.
Glutamine is another amino acid that may be useful for wound recovery in a more indirect manner. Glutamine is used as an energy source for dividing cells and is utilized in decreasing infection. Some studies show that glutamine supplementation can reduce the duration of the hospital stay after surgeries, but the exact method still needs further research. Even with some unknowns, the benefits of glutamine supplementation can be seen and these benefits make it an important factor to look into. Dietary sources of glutamine also come from protein-rich sources such as fish, beef, and soy products.
- Several nutrients and vitamins are essential to after surgery care.
- There are many dietary sources of each nutrient, but a varied diet is important to get adequate amounts of them all.
- Supplementary medication such as WoundVite may be easier for some patients to get many of them from one source.
- Research for a more in-depth look at the importance of supplementation after surgery.
- As always, consult with your physician or pharmacist before making any changes to medication regimens.