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.
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.
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.
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.
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.