The role of nutrition in post-operative recovery

April 11, 2024 Post-Hospital Care

The role of nutrition in post-operative recovery

The importance of a post-operative diet

Eating well is so important for your health, it becomes even more imperative to eat well during the post-operative phase. We must all maintain a balanced diet, it is essential to maintaining a healthy body. However lets look at how the body responds in a post-operative situation.

Having an operation is extremely emotional and physically stressful, so getting your body back to 100% health as quickly as possible is important. Research has shown the quicker a person starts walking, eating and drinking after an operation the shorter their recovery time. If you can take an active role in your recovery, all the better.

We know that the foods we eat has a huge impact on our recovery. There are foods that can help heal wounds quicker, so it advised to watch what we eat during the recovery process. On many occasions medication is prescribed as part of the recovery process, however, sometimes these can cause side effects such as constipation, high blood glucose levels, heartburn, meaning that the essential protein your skin needs to heal is being blocked. So, to counteract these side effects naturally and safely you will need to address your nutritional intake and eat foods that help our bodies get back to working 100%.

Foods high in fibre

  • Whole grain foods; bread /pasta/ rice (look for those that have the 100% wholegrain stamp, this means it is made from whole grains such as; whole barley, brown rice, whole grain oats, whole-wheat pasta
  • Fruits – such as melon, strawberries/blueberries in fact any berries and oranges which also is good for Vitamin C
  • Vegetables – broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn
  • Nuts and Seeds

Lean protein foods

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish

Non-meat options

  • Lentils
  • Beans, chick peas, black eye peas
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Quinoa

Foods to avoid

  • Processed foods – these have high content of fat, sugar and salt. So, stay away from snacks – crisps, cakes, biscuits and tinned vegetables
  • Microwave meals – they generally tend to have a high salt and sugar content
  • Sausages and bacon.
  • Red meat – due to the high levels of saturated fat (this can sometimes lead to constipation)

What to drink during the post operative phase 

We all know to stay away from sugary drinks, and alcohol. Therefore, the one major and vital item to assist the good food you eat is to drink plenty of WATER. Drinking water is just as important, if not more important. Our bodies are made up of 55-65% of water. Dehydration is common especially after surgery so made sure you drink regular cups of water. If you are not a lover of plain water trying infusing with your favourite fresh fruit, drinking coconut water, or herbal teas.  All types will help you stay hydrated and on the road to recovery.

Eating well is crucial, your body needs food to help repair and that comes from your nutritional intake. Nutritional support/intake and physical exercise are fundamental to help rebuild the initial protein mass/body cell mass your muscles need to get back on your feet and be active.

Further information for post operative nutrition

There are many sources of information that offer help with your overall nutrition. Below are a few that can offer you guidance on your nutrition during post-operative phase.

  1. NHS Advice Centre
  2. The Daily Meal
  3. North Central Surgical Center


How can Cavendish Homecare help?

Cavendish Homecare provides specialised private home care nursing throughout London and the South East. Our high quality homecare services included are varied and range from post-operative homecare and respite homecare to live-in care homecare and even holiday care support . If you or someone you know is scheduled for an operation but would like to continue treatment in the comfort of their own home, our strong long-standing relationships with both the NHS and private hospitals allows us to provide you with a smooth seamless transition of care from hospital to home until full recovery is achieved.

We work with discharge teams, doctors and other health professionals to ensure you receive the highest quality of care at your home. If you require, or know a friend or family member that might needs support post-surgery in their home, get in contact.

About the Author…

Grace Laudy

Recruitment and Compliance Assistant

Grace Laudy, a dynamic individual driven by a strong passion for making a positive impact on society and excelling in her professional life. Grace is actively involved in her local leisure centre, championing inclusivity in sports for individuals with disabilities. Grace’s compassion extends beyond community involvement to her personal life, where she provides support to a family member living with Parkinson’s disease.

Having transitioned into a pivotal role as a recruitment and compliance assistant at Cavendish Homecare, Grace excels at guiding nurses and carers through the onboarding process and expertly handling the meticulous management of compliance. Grace’s multifaceted contributions showcase her as an exceptional professional with a genuine commitment to making a positive impact on all clients, nurses, and carers.

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