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Tips to maintain a healthy diet before your surgery

6th June 2017 Print
Oats and fruit

The days and weeks leading up to surgery can be an anxious time, though advice, structure and guidance can help relieve some of this anxiety.  By preparing yourself in the best way you can, you can reduce the risk of complications during and after the procedure, and set yourself up for a smoother and happier recovery.  One way you can do this is to make sure you eat healthily as your surgery approaches.  Here’s some ‘food for thought’ to help with your pre-surgical diet plan.

It’s all about balance

The University of Michigan recommends a moderate mixture of carbohydrates to give the body energy, protein to help cell building, vitamins and minerals for a healthy immune system and fats to help vitamin absorption.  

Lean meats, fish and soya are good sources of protein, breads and potatoes are high in carbohydrate, and nuts, oily fish and avocados are rich in healthy fats.  Try to get a good mix of these elements in each meal.  Eating three nutritionally balanced, moderate-sized meals a day, starting with breakfast, will help you maintain energy to stay active and get exercise.  This, in turn, will keep your heart healthy and strong before your operation. 

Your doctor may recommend you stop vitamin supplements before the surgery in case of operative complications, but foods rich in B complex vitamins play a big role in converting nutrients into energy within the body.  Fish, soy and fortified cereals are all good sources of B vitamins and can help keep you strong and healthy before surgery.

Things to avoid

It’s an excellent idea to stop drinking alcohol in the few weeks before the surgery.  A study cited by the Guardian found that drinking alcohol before surgery can weaken the immune system and slow recovery.  It can also increase the risk of excessive bleeding during the procedure.  If you find it difficult to stop drinking completely, you can talk to your doctor about the best ways to cut down.

Healthline points out that junk foods high in salt and sugar can lead to obesity, which can increase the risk of post-surgical blood clots, and high blood pressure, which can lead to surgical complications.  Avoiding junk foods before surgery can help to improve your cardiovascular health and reduce the risks associated with anaesthetic, so it’s a good plan to replace fast food with healthier alternatives.    

The day before

If you are going in for a procedure such as knee arthroscopy treatment, you may be given one of the several different types of anaesthetic.  Any expert medical team, such as the consultants at Highgate Hospital in London, will ensure you have full guidelines on what or what not to eat in the day before the surgery.  They will also let you know the time from which you must be nil by mouth, and up to what time you can drink water.  This is part of their dedication to your well-being during the procedure and your recovery.

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Oats and fruit