What is the best diet after plastic surgery?

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There are a number of different things that you can do before and after surgery to ensure a smooth recovery. Probably one of the most components of your recovery after surgery is the optimal diet. Your diet before surgery should help you reach or maintain your goal weight, if necessary, and limit foods and supplements that may thin your blood and contribute to increased swelling, bruising, and even bleeding post operatively. The optimal diet after surgery should provide you with the nutrients you need to heal while also providing you with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds to reduce swelling and inflammation.

What does your body need to heal?

After surgery, your body’s nutritional requirements are significantly increased to support healing (at least 10-30% more than your baseline requirements, according to some studies). This means you need more calories on a daily basis to promote healing. Aim for about 15-20 calories per pound of body weight. Nutritional needs can be even higher in cases involving liposuction and fat grafting, such as fat grafting to the breast or buttocks.

In addition, because our bodies are under stress while we are healing, our ability to utilize glucose (sugar) is affected. Increased stress hormones in response to healing leads to a state of insulin resistance, meaning that are bodies process glucose less readily, while breaking down fats at a higher level. For this reason, patients should stay clear of simple carbs and sugars post-operatively. These types of foods are also inflammatory, and can contribute to an inflammatory state after surgery.

Furthermore, your body needs specific nutrients such as protein to promote tissue repair, Vitamin C and Zinc for collagen synthesis and immunity, and iron to synthesize hemoglobin. Antioxidants and polyphenols can combat inflammation after surgery and promote more rapid healing and a speedy resolution of post operative edema or swelling, which can be marked after both body contouring and facial cosmetic procedures.

What is the best diet to support your healing and enhance your recovery? 

The best diet after surgery is a balanced, anti-inflammatory diet that provides you with the vital macro and micro nutrients your body needs to heal while also reducing inflammation after surgery. Many foods have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. In addition to reducing inflammation after surgery, which can contribute to swelling and prolong healing, these foods have been shown to lower the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression, which are exacerbated by chronic inflammation. 

Probably the best known version of an anti-inflammatory diet is the Mediterranean diet, the tenets of which are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and healthy fats (such as plant-based fats and fish). Red meat, processed foods, and sugars are limited with this diet. In addition to providing your body with the nutrients it needs to heal, this diet will provide you with the antioxidants needed to combat inflammation and ensure a speedy recovery. 

What are some examples of anti-inflammatory foods?

Anti-inflammatory foods generally involve lean proteins, whole grains and unprocessed carbohydrates, healthy fats, and antioxidant rich foods. A few examples are listed below— 

  • Lean protein 
  • Leafy greens 
  • Olive oil 
  • Fatty fish 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Fruits and berries 
  • Nuts

What foods should be avoided after surgery?

It goes without saying that patients should eliminate alcohol, tobacco, and vitamins and supplements that interfere with blood clotting pathways (high dose gingko biloba, ginger, omega-3 fatty acids, and many others) before surgery. Foods high in sodium and sugar, and processed foods can promote inflammation, fluid retention, and swelling, and also compromise your bodies immune function. Other examples of foods to avoid are listed below— 

  • Fried foods 
  • Soda 
  • Refined carbs 
  • Lard 
  • Processed meats

How can the anti-inflammatory diet improve your overall health and maximize long term results?

Chronic inflammation has been linked to many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s. While these diets can optimize healing after surgery, they can also impact your overall health. Continuing this diet after surgery will help optimize your overall health and also help ensure you are able to maintain your results long term.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.