Proper Post-Op Nutrition
Plastic surgeries may vary in complexity and anticipated recovery times, but everyone is ultimately looking to heal faster and minimize downtime after a procedure. While you should never actively rush your body’s healing process, it’s important to reflect on simple steps you can take to optimize your chances of fast recovery, and plan ahead while you are fully functional. In conjunction with proper sleeping habits, the food you eat can heavily influence expected downtime after surgery; correct nutritional choices can promote faster wound healing while mitigating the chance of complications.
Be Sure To Eat!
This may sound obvious, but don’t forget to eat. Depending on the location of your surgery, eating may become painful or inconvenient— while an impromptu diet may sound appealing, now is not the time to swear off food. Your body vitally requires nourishment when it is in a state of self-repair, and denying your system important nutrients could carry harmful consequences. If suffering from nausea, stick to simpler meals that are easier to keep down. If eating proves painful or uncomfortable but otherwise digestible, opt for calorically denser foods. If you can only handle ten bites per meal, make sure that your body is getting the most out of each bite.
High-fiber foods help stabilize your digestive processes, and reduce the risk of constipation, a relatively common side effect of surgery. Popular foods include whole grain breads, fruit, vegetables, beans, and certain fiber-rich cereals. If concerned about constipation, avoid dehydrated or processed foods, dairy products, red meats, and sweets.
After surgery, muscle tissue is damaged and in need of repair. Adequate protein intake helps your system rebuild these body tissues. Vegetarians and vegans should seek protein through almonds, tofu, tempeh, and seitan. Those with carnivorous inclinations should avoid red meats due to saturated fat levels, instead opting for lean meats such as chicken, pork, and seafood.
Adequate Vitamin A intake promotes epithelial and bone formation, as well as boosts general immune function. For high vitamin concentrations, try leafy greens such as kale and spinach. Other viable sources include yams, carrots, squash, and bell peppers. Vitamin A is fat soluble, meaning that it must be consumed with fat for optimal absorption, so considering preparing your cooked kale with a serving of extra virgin olive oil.
Collagen regeneration is required to restore structural proteins in the skin, a vital element of recovery after facial surgery. In addition to boosting collagen formation, Vitamin C promotes immune function, and acts as a tissue antioxidant, blocking the harmful effects of free radicals in your system. The vitamin is water soluble and requires a continuous supply, as residual amounts of Vitamin C are expelled from the body in our urine. Vitamin C rich foods include citrus fruits, kiwi, mango, broccoli, and potatoes.
Drink Plenty of Water
Proper hydration is vitally important to daily nutrition, infinitely more so when recovering from surgery. Adequate water consumption flushes impurities (including surgery drugs) out of your system, stabilizes your metabolism, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue. Leading up to your surgery date, increase your water consumption to 8-10 glasses of water per day, and gradually work your way back up to that intake rate after the procedure.
Consider Vitamin Supplements
For those concerned about adequate post-op nutrition, vitamin supplements are available and worth considering. Speak to a specialist to determine which, if any, supplements are right for you and your recovery plan. If you are taking any special medications, be sure to ask your doctor if any foods are off-limits while you recover.
For comprehensive post-surgery advice, including a nutritional consultation, book an appointment with Dr. Philip Miller. A recognized facial plastic surgery specialist, Dr. Miller has been voted among the Best Doctors in America each year since 2007. His office, located at 60 East 56th Street in New York City, can be reached by phone at (646) 791-3025.
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