Nutrition and Recovery: Is there a connection?
Undergoing a major surgery can take a toll on your body in many ways. You may also experience weakness and lack of energy. Is there anything you can do to help your body heal better after surgery? Well, there’s certainly a connection between nutrition and recovery. Healthy eating will help you return to your active lifestyle with minimum downtime.
Following orthopedic surgery, you should consume a high-protein diet that is packed with plenty of vitamins and minerals as well as calories, so your body has the necessary materials and the capacity to rebuild injured tissue. The following are some important nutrients that you should focus on.
Protein is one of the primary building blocks of your body. Adding protein to every meal will help heal wounds, increase energy, and strengthen your immune system. Healthy protein sources include lean meats such as chicken and fish, low-fat milk, eggs, beans, and peanuts.
Calcium is necessary to maintain and rebuild strong bones. Food sources that are rich in calcium include spinach, kale, and dairy products. Other important minerals include iron which can be obtained from whole grains, poultry, apricots, beans and zinc found in seafood, beans, and meat.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium from the food you consume and hence is an essential nutrient for healing after orthopedic surgery. Food sources of vitamin D include eggs, fortified cereals, and fish.
Vitamin K, found in green leafy vegetables, liver, and fish, is a necessary ingredient for blood clotting. Other important vitamins that enhance the wound healing process are vitamin A that can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and kale as well as vitamin C from sources such as citrus fruits, potatoes, tomatoes, and melons.
If your appetite has been reduced, you may try nutritional supplements that contain adequate protein and calories to alleviate fatigue, help the body with healing, and give you energy.
In addition to eating healthy whole foods; avoiding sugar, alcohol, and processed foods is also important for faster recovery.
Dr. Ronak Patel is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon offering a full range of care for all problems of the knee and shoulder with a special interest in complex knee disorders. Book your appointment with Dr. Patel today.
At a Glance
Ronak M. Patel M.D.
- Double Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained Orthopaedic Surgeon
- Past Team Physician to the Cavaliers (NBA), Browns (NFL) and Guardians (MLB)
- Published over 49 publications and 10 book chapters
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