Nutrition plays a vital role in post-surgical recovery

Surgery, Etc

Image by heymrlady via Flickr

A common question often posed to me is, “Should I do any preparation before my surgery or should I wait to start my rehab therapy until a few months after surgery? and is there anything i should be eating before or after the surgery?”

Many therapists would recommend on the importance of strengthening prior to surgery (pre-hab). Meanwhile, nutrition also plays a vital role in recovery. Your body recovery rate is determined in part by the available nutrients in your body. One of the best things you can do is to focus on whole foods. For example, an orange would be a whole food whereas orange juice would be a more processed version. Other dietary supplements can also play an important role in increasing  recovery time. According to a study published in Clinical Nutrition Journal, dietary supplements given to post-operative patients undergoing moderate to major gastrointestinal surgery results in clinically significant benefits and improved recovery.  Specific nutrients are vital in recovery and wound healing.

Zinc: helps with wound healing and boosts immune function to reduce infection. Topical zinc ointments, also inhibits bacteria growth on the surface of skin.

Vitamin C: is required to make collagen, the connective tissue. According to the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, levels of vitamin C actually drop in post-op patients and those with physical trauma.

Bromelain: is an enzyme found in the stem of pineapples and is useful for reducing post-op swelling when taken on an empty stomach..

Oligomeric proanthocyandins (OPC) : it is a powerful antioxidant (20x more powerful than vitamin C and 50x more potent than vitamin E) and has excellent anti-inflammatory properties.

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