• MAY 14

    Nutrition Guide for Strength and Recovery

    Post-Surgery or Injury

    After surgery or injury, you can expect a variety of changes that will occur within your body, including swelling, loss of muscle mass, potential decrease in bone density, and maybe loss of sleep, depending on your surgical procedure. One way you can affect your healing process is through nutrition. What goes into your body can either expedite or hinder your healing time and road to recovery. So, what do I need to do to get back on my feet and back to an active lifestyle?

    Here are some of the essential nutrients you will need to aid in a faster recovery:


    Tips for success:

        • Further reduce muscle atrophy by increasing your lean protein intake to 4-6 servings of 20-25 grams per sitting each day, and consuming them every 4 hours. Some great sources include: turkey, fish, nuts

        • Make sure you are eating good sources of fiber, as some of the pain medications you take after surgery can cause constipation.

        • Makes sure you are eating good sources of collagen to help promote healing of connective tissue in skin, bones and cartilage, muscle and tendons, blood vessels, and ligaments such as kiwi, berries, almonds, avocado, carrots, dark greens, spinach, garlic, oysters, pumpkins, and tomatoes.

        • Eat as many nutrient-rich foods as you can to provide the calories you need.

    Vitamins and Minerals:

    Tips for success:

        • Further reduce inflammation by maintaining a good balance of Omega 3’s and 6’s, through fish and shrimp consumption, 3-9 grams of fish oil per day, and eating many fruits and vegetables that are rich in Vitamin A, C, and D.

        • Vitamin c and Zinc are superstars when it comes to healing! o Vitamin C is essential when making a protein called collagen which is needed for repairing tendons, ligaments, and healing surgical wounds. They are also important in preventing infection after your surgery!

        • Calcium and Vitamin D are nutrients associated with healthy bones, so make sure you are increasing your daily intake, especially if your surgery or injury involves the bone

    How much water should I be drinking?

    It is important that your body is getting the appropriate fluids and hydration it needs in order to aid in proper healing. Make sure you get at least 8 cups of water or non-caffeinated beverages every day. You may need to increase your intake depending on the type of medication you are taking or the extent of your injury. Remember, do not wait until you’re thirsty. By then, you’re already dehydrated!

    Helpful Hints:

        • Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep and rest, as this can greatly affect your healing (between 7-8 hours per night).

        • If you are having difficulty sleeping, melatonin (3-5 mg) or magnesium supplements (200-400mg) can be taken prior to going to bed, which may help in better sleeping habits.

        • Limit caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco use at this time, as this can delay healing.

        • Always stick to dietary guidelines recommended by your doctor, and refer to your physician if you have any questions about dietary restrictions for secondary health reasons, such as food allergies or diabetes.

        • Although you might be immobile and are worried about weight gain, do not decrease your caloric intake, as your body needs a greater amount of energy from nutritious foods to fuel the healing process. If your overall energy and protein needs are not met, body tissues, such as muscles and ligaments, will begin to breakdown, which will compromise healing and may prolong your recovery period.

        • Your body requires more protein and calcium during this time, so take careful note of the daily recommendations and food sources listed above.

        • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water!

        • Continue to eat well-balanced meals and a wide variety of foods to obtain all the nutrients your body heeds for necessary healing to occur.

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