How to eat well after surgery


Your priority should be wound healing and recovery after surgery. You can recover faster and feel stronger if you eat well. However, if you eat insufficiently or with the wrong foods, it may cause malnutrition, prolonged wound healing, and increased infection risk.

Consult your doctor or dietitian about your diet after surgery. Individuals’ nutritional needs will vary based on their age, gender, weight, pre-existing conditions, and type of surgery.

Some foods may be helpful after an operation for healing and recovery. You will probably need more calories, nutrients, fluids, vitamins, and minerals as you recover from an operation.

After your surgeon has given you permission to eat solid foods following a surgery, the following can be added to your diet.

1. Protein-rich food

After surgery, it is crucial to consume enough protein. Your body needs more protein for wound healing. Protein is also important for building muscles and improving your immune system. These are some examples of protein sources:

  • Lean meat, skinless poultry, fish
  • Egg
  • Soy and soy products such as tau kwa, tofu, and fortified soymilk
  • Yogurt and milk products
  • Lentils and beans
  • Nuts

2. Whole grains

Carbohydrates provide your body with energy. Whole grains are better than refined carbohydrates. They are high in fibre and prevent constipation. These are some examples of whole grains:

  • Oatmeal
  • Cereals
  • Wholemeal/whole wheat bread
  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat pasta / noodles

3. Fruits

Fruits are rich in fibre and vitamins C, which can be used to rebuild collagen and soft tissues as well as aid wound healing. Increase your intake of orange, red, and green-coloured fruit. Vitamin C-rich foods include:

  • Orange
  • Kiwi
  • Papaya
  • Guava
  • Berries (e.g. strawberries, blueberries)

4. Vegetables

Vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals. They also provide essential fibre which is necessary to prevent constipation. These are high-fibre vegetable examples:

  • Vegetables with green leaves
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Bell peppers

5. Healthy fats

Fats, like carbohydrates, are another great source of energy. After an operation, it is important to consume healthy fats. These healthier options are low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fat.

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sesame oil

6. Iron-rich food

Iron is an important component of haemoglobin. This protein in red blood cells carries oxygen from your lungs to all parts. Insufficient iron can cause fatigue and weakness. Iron-rich foods can be a good option to replenish your red blood cells after surgery. These are some examples of iron-rich foods:

  • Meat, especially beef
  • Organ meats
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Enriched bread
  • Spinach

8. Calcium-rich food

Calcium is essential for strong bones, teeth and teeth. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth.

Calcium is found in milk, which is the most common source. You can also get calcium from these other sources:

  • Yoghurt and dairy products
  • Soy milk, soy products (e.g. tofu, tau kwa)
  • Canned fish (e.g. Sardinines with bones
  • Calcium-fortified foods (e.g. cereals, orange juice)
  • Vegetables with green leaves

9. Water

It is vital to remain hydrated after any operation. Your body will require more fluids during wound healing. Your skin may be more vulnerable to damage if it is dehydrated. Consider drinking more:

  • Water
  • Milk
  • Fortified soy beverages
  • Soup
  • Fruit / vegetable juice

Here are some foods to avoid following an operation

  • Sugary foods

After surgery, blood sugar levels can rise so it is important to avoid sugary foods such as cookies, cakes, sweetened drinks, and soft drinks.

  • Alcohol

Avoid alcohol because it can cause interactions with prescription pain medication and decrease the effectiveness of the medication. Dehydration and impaired wound healing can also be caused by alcohol.

  • Highly processed food

Many processed foods have very little fibre, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. These processed foods may contain high amounts of sodium, fat, and sugar. Avoid processed foods such as chips, fries, and fast food.

Because every person’s situation is different, speak with your doctor or dietitian to get personalised advice about your diet that will help you recover.

Good nutrition can help you recover quicker, increase your energy, and prevent constipation after surgery. Your body will recover faster if you make good food choices. This will allow you to return to your normal activities more quickly.