A complete fluke is what sent me for emergency surgery as a rare birth defect had built up scar tissue in my small intestine. If not treated this could lead to organ failure which can have a domino effect to the other organs. Not something I would have on my wish list. The pain hit me completely out of the blue at work one day and thinking it was a stomach flu tried to let it pass.
When it was clear this was something serious, I went to the hospital for maybe the third time in my life where I had to take a whole lot of tests. An MRI revealed what was happening inside me and it was a damn good thing I had got to the hospital when I did. I had to be rushed into surgery and before I knew it I was waking up in an operating room unable to walk or do much else for myself. The healing process would not be easy, but having my background in fitness and nutrition I wanted to tackle this head on.
Focusing On Post-Surgery Nutrition
The first few days after surgery are not exactly pie in the sky. I woke up from surgery feeling pretty great but I chalk that up to the amount of pain killers I was hooked up to. I had a laparotomy so my abdomen had been cut right through and sitting up, let alone walking, was almost impossible. I was hooked up to Iv’s, catheters and oxygen for the first few days and my only source of nourishment was the 5-star culinary experience that is hospital food…(enter sarcasm here..)
I knew when I got home I would have more control over my diet and could set up a real game plan to recover as best I could. Here are 5 things I focused on to heal.
1. Bone Broth
You will probably not have much of an appetite the first few days after a surgery but this is when nourishing yourself is paramount. Enter in bone broth. Bone broth can be used in easy to eat meals like soups and stews as it has some amazing healing properties. Bone broth is full of minerals such as:
Since it is full of minerals and gelatin extraction from the simmering bones broth can help with:
Healing the lining of the gut
Reduce joint pain and inflammation
Promote strong healthy bones
These are some pretty good things when you’re looking to heal.
2. Make Sure You Are Taking In Enough Protein
Protein does a lot of things including helping to make hormones and enzymes along with immune function but we’re all aware how it is important in tissue recovery. Muscle repair and recovery is most people’s main use of protein but rebuilding and repairing all tissue is of key importance for those looking to heal from surgery.
Your goal after surgery for protein requirements should be to intake around 1.5 grams per kg for a minor surgery and up to 2 grams per kg for more invasive and major surgery.
3. If Taking Antibiotics Focus On Taking In Probiotics
You’re probably very conscious about the damage antibiotics can do to the gut but at some point during medical issues infections can happen and antibiotics are administered. This was my case and I made sure to introduce a lot of gut healing probiotic foods to help rebuild my “good gut bugs” as best as possible. Besides using a probiotic supplement your best food choices will be:
4. Eliminate Inflammatory Foods
This one is more about something you don’t want as opposed to the things I’m listing that you do want. At this point it would make a lot of sense to avoid those foods that cause more inflammation in the body. That would include:
- Refined carbohydrates
- Added sugar
- Vegetable oils
- High fructose corn syrup
- Trans fats
- white pasta, bread and rice
Your body is trying to heal and consuming inflammatory foods is just going to make things worse and make it tougher for your body to heal itself. You are missing out on nothing by not consuming these foods and will be better off in the long run.
5. Make Sure You’re Drinking Enough Water
Water helps regulate body temperature, aids in digestion and absorption and helps with circulation among many other things. In the case of healing, it is also involved in flushing toxins out of the body. When you’ve had surgery you’ve had a lot of pretty foreign stuff floating around in your body that you’re probably wanting to get out. Water helps to flush out and cleanse, keeps you hydrated and allows the body to run smoothly.
Find the purest form of water you can and look to drink half your body weight in ounces of it each day.
Keep Moving Forward With Your Nutrition
These are tips that can not only assist in helping someone get on the road to recovery but also are great tips for those at any stage in their health looking to make positive changes. The foods that heal your body after a surgery are the same things you would want to include on a daily basis to keep yourself functioning optimally. When you combine this with the elimination of detrimental foods you’ve got a good combination that can result in better health.
Featured photo credit: Frann Leach via flickr.com