There are many steps that can be taken to help speed up the recovery from surgery:
Follow surgeon's instructions: Be sure to adhere to post-operative instructions, including wound care, dressing changes, and medication.
Maintain hygiene: Keep the wound area clean and dry, practicing proper hand hygiene.
Protect the wound: Avoid activities that may disrupt or strain the incision site, and prevent trauma or excessive pressure.
Eat foods promoting wound healing: Consume a nutrient-rich diet with protein, vitamins (especially C and A), and minerals for tissue repair and collagen synthesis. Read more below.
When recovering from an accident or surgery, nutritional intervention can support your body to heal at a healthy rate.
Leafy green vegetables: Leafy greens are essential for general health and wellbeing, however certain nutritional factors can make them especially helpful such as vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, folate, and provitamin A, all of which are essential for immune function and overall health[i].
Eggs: Protein is needed by the body when it is healing. Eggs contain highly absorbable protein, providing 6 grams per large egg (50 grams). They also contain nutrients that support immune health[ii].
Salmon: Salmon is an incredibly nutrient-dense food, containing high levels of protein, B vitamins, selenium, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fats. Moreover, omega-3 fats may promote wound healing, enhance immune response and reduce inflammation[iii].
Berries: are rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanins, and plant pigments that give berries their vibrant colour and provide anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and immune-supporting effects[iv].
Nuts and seeds: provide plant-based protein, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals that support healing. They contain a source of zinc, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant in your body, protecting against cellular damage and supports immune health[v]
Poultry: is known to contain glutamine and arginine, two amino acids that may aid recovery and healing; glutamine provides cellular protection when the body is under stress, such as illness and injury, while arginine assists collagen production and wound healing[vi]
Organ meats: contain very high levels of tissue- growth supporting nutrients such as: vitamin A, iron, zinc, B vitamins, and copper, which are needed for the production of connective tissue and collagen[vii]
Cruciferous vegetables: recovery due to the wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they contain, namely glucosinolates, which are compounds that your body converts into isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates have been shown to promote immune health, suppress inflammation and activate immune defences[viii]
Shellfish: Zinc is crucial for healthy immune function. This mineral may also help speed recovery and promote wound healing, making shellfish great for recuperating from surgery [ix]
Try the following supplements for skin and tissue healing:
[i] Stuetz, W., Gowele, V., Kinabo, J., Bundala, N., Mbwana, H., Rybak, C., Eleraky, L., Lambert, C., & Biesalski, H. K. (2019). Consumption of Dark Green Leafy Vegetables Predicts Vitamin A and Iron Intake and Status among Female Small-Scale Farmers in Tanzania. Nutrients, 11(5), 1025. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051025
[ii] Wischmeyer, Paul E. MD, EDIC*; Carli, Franco MD, et al. for the Perioperative Quality Initiative (POQI) 2 Workgroup American Society for Enhanced Recovery and Perioperative Quality Initiative Joint Consensus Statement on Nutrition Screening and Therapy Within a Surgical Enhanced Recovery Pathway, Anesthesia & Analgesia: June 2018 - Volume 126 - Issue 6 - p 1883-1895
[iii] Yu, J., Liu, L., Zhang, Y., Wei, J., & Yang, F. (2017). Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on patients undergoing surgery for gastrointestinal malignancy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC cancer, 17(1), 271.
[iv] Blesso C. N. (2019). Dietary Anthocyanins and Human Health. Nutrients, 11(9), 2107.
[v] Lee, G. Y., & Han, S. N. (2018). The Role of Vitamin E in Immunity. Nutrients, 10(11), 1614.
[vi] Chow, O., & Barbul, A. (2014). Immunonutrition: Role in Wound Healing and Tissue Regeneration. Advances in wound care, 3(1), 46–53.
[vii] Wu M, Cronin K, Crane JS. Biochemistry, Collagen Synthesis. [Updated 2021 Sep 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/b...
[viii] McManus, H., Moysich, K. B., Tang, L., Joseph, J., & McCann, S. E. (2018). Usual Cruciferous Vegetable Consumption and Ovarian Cancer: A Case-Control Study. Nutrition and cancer, 70(4), 678–683.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.