Nutrition and Surgery
Nutritional optimization – pre and post surgery
At The Layt Clinic we want you to have the best experience and recovery from your surgery, which requires you to work together with us by eating well before and after your surgery. Sometimes, muscle soreness after surgery can be very similar to that experienced following a strenuous physical workout at the gym so we need to think about how we feed and nurture our body after surgery.
Before surgery we recommend that patients maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow a nutritionally balanced diet during the weeks leading up to your surgery.
Hydration leading up to the day of surgery is important especially if you need to fast for six hours prior to your procedure. Fasting usually requires six hours of no food or water prior to your surgery time, we therefore recommend that you hydrate well in the days leading up to your procedure by ensuring your water intake is adequate and following the recommended intake per person per day of approximately two litres. Obviously, if you have an active lifestyle this would need to be increased to replace the loss of water from sweating during exercise.
On the day of your surgery we advise that you maintain a quiet period of time during your fasting. Please refrain from overactive physical activities, overheating or ‘rushing’ around during your fasting time so as not to dehydrate your body. We also ask that you do not drink red wine the night before, and do not take any aspirin or other blood thinning prescriptions prior to your surgery as these may thin the blood and cause bleeding or haematomas. Please consult your doctor for advice regarding your medications and whether they need to be stopped prior to your surgery.
Surgery can act like a major workout for your body so a ‘carb-loading’ meal the day before may also help in maintaining healthy levels of glycogen within the body. Protein intake in your diet prior to surgery also assists in strength and recovery of wounds and assists your immune system. Protein can be found in eggs, low-fat cottage cheese, yoghurt, chicken and meats. Vegetarians can eat soy based foods and nut products.
Vitamin C and zinc are super foods that help with healing. We can use topical creams and serums on our skin, however it is great to feed our healing cells from the inside. Collagen production and repair, and healing of surgical wounds can all benefit from foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi fruit, baked potatoes and broccoli, which are wonderful sources of vitamin C. Zinc can be found in meats, fish, dairy products, wholegrain, peas and beans and nuts and seeds.
Fibre is recommended, especially as some medications after surgery may have the side effect of constipation. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds can help. If constipation occurs, prunes and prune juice and drinking ample amounts of water can provide relief. If you are still suffering from constipation please contact your surgeon as you may require further medications to assist.
Stress on the body after surgery can lead to inflammation and complications. Foods rich in arginine and omega-3s can help support the immune system. Red meat, chicken, fish and dairy products contain arginine, and fish and fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids.
In summary, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and optimal nutrition will support your surgical journey and outcome. Nutrients that support this journey include dietary protein, along with amino acids glutamine and arginine, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids. These nutrients are key components to optimising your tissue and cellular recovery, minimise inflammation and support your immune function. Adequate hydration is also important.
Dietary source of these nutrients include:
Protein Lean red meats, fish, chicken, egg, tofu, legumes and nuts
Zinc Lean meats, shellfish, nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs, dairy, wholegrain cereals
Vitamin A Liver, oily fish, egg, green leafy vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables and tomato products
Vitamin C Berries, citrus fruit, rockmelon, mango, kiwi fruit, broccoli, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables, tomato, sweet and white potato
Vitamin E Nuts, seeds, wholegrain cereal and green leafy vegetables
Omega 3 Oily fish – salmon, sardines, tuna, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts
Glutamine Meat, chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, dairy products, wholegrain cereals, nuts, seeds, cabbage, spinach, kale, beans, Brussel sprouts, carrot
Arginine Meat, chicken, seafood, eggs, dairy products tofu, legumes, nuts, seeds, wholegrain cereals, spinach
For further assistance with Nutrition and a Healthy Lifestyle please contact Julie Albrecht and her team of dietitian – nutritionists at www.foodbodylife.com.au. PH: (07)5592 4545