Replacement surgery is usually a step towards a more mobile lifestyle, but the recovery can be lengthy and disruptive of every day life. During the healing process, it is common to crave “comfort” foods to ease the psychological strain – who doesn’t want a big bowl of ice cream after any medical procedure? However, new studies are finding that certain types of “super foods” can help to speed up the stages of recovery.
When first returning home after surgery, it is important to make sure you drink plenty of liquids. For your first few meals back at home, try sticking to light soups and broths, which can be soothing as well as hydrating. The important thing to remember about these first meals is to keep it simple.
Fresh fruit is beneficial for hydration, reducing inflammation, and for boosting and supporting the immune system. While almost all fresh fruits are rich in Vitamin C, pineapple is ideal for post-operative care, as it is rich in bromelain, a “super food” enzyme known for expertly reducing inflammation, especially around healing incisions.
Whole grains are a wonderful support to the digestive system during the healing process. Surgery strains all of the body’s systems, and anesthetics and opiate-based painkillers have a reputation of causing digestive distress. Ingesting enough fiber is important for supporting the digestive system. Whole oats and grains are also known for making you feel “full” more quickly. This can be ideal, especially during your time of immobility during recovery.
Once you start to feel a bit more back to normal, start to introduce light proteins into the mix. There’s a reason that athletes swear by the ingestion of protein after exceptional strain – it helps with recovery! Protein is high in amino acids and can boost your energy, while also helping to keep your spirits high. Try to stick to “white meat” – red meat is too dense and can be difficult for the digestive system to conquer. Choose chicken, fish, or raw almonds.
The most disruptive thing about surgery can be that the body’s systems all seem to get out of balance. Most doctors will recommend a probiotic, as well as eating foods with active cultures. Think pickles, yogurt, miso soup, and luckily, dark chocolate – foods such as these will help to support and regulate the body’s good and bad organisms, returning it to its natural fighting order.
The most important thing to remember during recovery is to listen to your body. Avoid empty calories and sugar, as these often cause you to feel sluggish and can cause irregularity in moods. Sticking to “clean,” healthy foods will promote your body to bounce back more quickly, and hopefully will get you back to your new, improved active lifestyle.