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Recover from Surgery with a Plant Based Diet

Eating the right foods after surgery can promote faster healing and minimize the swelling, bruising and inflammation that often accompany a surgical procedure. Certain foods can also minimize digestive upset caused by antibiotics and prevent constipation caused by pain medication. Not to mention, fueling your body properly will give you the energy needed to get back to your normal routine more quickly.

It is highly beneficial that patients follow a plant based diet which includes foods high in fiber (such as raw fruits and vegetables) and drinking plenty of water and fluids, since analgesics (pain medication), anesthetic agents, stress, dehydration and decreased activity may promote constipation after surgery. Prunes are a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fiber which soften and adds bulk to stool. Other foods that are high in fiber include beans and legumes, apples, pears, bran flakes, oatmeal and flaxseed meal (1).

Cutting down recovery time with a plant based diet.

A plant-based diet may actually be optimal during the healing process, helping the body regulate levels of inflammation (characterized by the enlargement of blood vessels, the leaking of blood into tissues, and the release of antibodies that occur after injury). While inflammation may be designed to protect the body, it can easily get out of control (2). The closer you get to no animal products at all, the better off you will be. Avoid eating red meat, dairy, eggs and cheese. Among the foods recommended for a better and quicker recovery are nuts, avocado, berries, beans, mushroom, green leafy vegetable, fruits, extra virgin olive oil, and whole grains (buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, and steel cut oats).

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and plays an important role in knitting tissue back together. Typical protein intake is around 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. But, after surgery, the demands for protein are much higher, especially if you have incisions to repair (3). Getting extra protein doesn’t mean eating more red meat. Excellent lean protein sources include fish (Alaskan salmon and Norwegian mackerels fish), beans and legumes. Aim to get 0.68 to 0.90 grams of protein per pound. For example, if you weigh 170 pounds, target 116 to 154 grams of protein per day. A plant based diet induces ketogenesis and utilization of fat as a source of energy. Using this diet would promote weight loss after liposuction and abdominoplasty. Implementing healthy eating habits along with regular exercise (taking advantage of the new increased metabolism after surgery) is essential to keep stimulating weight loss, avoiding retrieving the rendered fat, and maintaining your beautiful results.


(1) “Ten best healing foods to eat after surgery” VitaMedica Corp. www.vitamedica.com

(2) Bucklin, Stephanie. “How a Vegan Diet Affects Your Body’s Ability to Heal Itself”. New York Magazine. www.thecut.com

(3) Huckleberry Yvonne. “Nutritional Support and the Surgical Patient”. Medscape. https://www.medscape.com

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