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Post-Surgery Healing: Natural Steps to Speed Up Recovery

Post-Surgery Healing: Natural Steps to Speed Up Recovery

Very often, many people reach for prescribed drugs to help alleviate post-surgery discomfort. Although they may be helpful, they come with a bevy of potentially harmful side effects. Because of this, researchers have been looking for more natural ways to help aid in recovery. Listed below are a few ways to help you heal, naturally.

Lighten up Your Diet

After surgery, your body needs time to adjust to the foods that you would normally be able to eat. Often, it has a more difficult time digesting processed or fatty foods. To aid your body in its recovery, you should eat lighter than normal.

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According to Dr. Elson M. Haas, M.D., director and founder of the Preventative Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California, the best options would be meat and vegetable broths, pureed vegetables and fruits, nutrient or protein powders, light soups, and fresh juices. Be wary of low-nutrient liquids and soft foods that are often offered at the hospital. You may also have a problem with nausea and a decreased appetite. To increase your appetite, you can try sipping on lemon balm tea several times a day, while ginger tea can help relieve nausea.

Treat Pain with Natural Pain Relievers

Instead of reaching for potentially habit-forming, side effect-ridden pharmaceuticals to help alleviate pain after a surgery, why not try natural pain relievers? Devil’s claw, or Harpagophytum procumbens, was found to help significantly reduce the sensation of pain, as well as reduce inflammation. Another effective herb is bromelain, which is found in pineapple stems. It helps boost immunity, alleviates pain, and shows anti-inflammatory properties. Remember to always do your own research and check with your doctor before commencing use of any new medications.

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Exercise

Besides taking natural supplements and monitoring your nutrition, you should also try gentle exercise to get your body going again. Before doing this, you should talk to your physician to learn your limitations and have them write out specific exercises that you are able to do. Keep your exercise routines low impact, such as short walks. Do not push yourself past your limitations during recovery because it could create an entirely new set of problems.

Boost Your Immune System

Not only are you recovering externally, your body must recover internally as well. With a depleted nutritional reserve, your immune system is also impacted by the general anesthesia which is found to temporarily lower T-cell activity, antibiotics which can suppress immunity, and pre- and post-surgery CAT scans and X-rays that can decrease stores of antioxidants.

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To help boost your immunity, there are many supplements and herbs that can go along with a nutrient-rich diet, such as Vitamin C (increases production of antibodies, helps reduce surgical bleeding, and helps metabolize anesthetics), Vitamin A (enhances immune cell function and protects against infection), and green tea (protects against bacterial infections and may help “turn on” immune cells).

Treat Wounds Properly

Besides ingesting herbs to help in post-surgical healing, you may also use them as topical remedies. According to New Zealand researchers, honey aids in rapidly clearing infection, reduces inflammation, and provides a moist healing environment. Another study published by Aesthetic Plastic Surgery found that gotu kola, another herb, was found to facilitate the repair of connective tissue, increase antioxidant levels, and reduce scarring.

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Regain Health

Taking antibiotics is unavoidable while recovering from surgery. Although helpful, they also come with risks. Antibiotics fight bacterial cells but also kill good bacteria during the process. Think “friendly fire.” Because of this, you are at an increased risk for developing UTIs, digestive problems, or yeast infections. Thankfully, there are ways to counteract these effects with probiotics, which are naturally found in your digestive tract. Such supplements are bifidobacteria and acidophilus, two of the most popular probiotics.

While taking these antibiotics, you’ll also be undergoing post-surgical tests which can expose your body to toxins. To rid your body of these toxins, it is suggested that after full recovery, you should try a juice or detox cleanse for a day or two, then begin a two-week diet of organic foods.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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