What we eat is one of the most important factors in our overall health and can influence our physical, mental and even emotional wellbeing. This is particularly critical after undergoing surgery, as any cosmetic surgery procedure involves an element of trauma to the body.
We asked Nutritionist Yvonne Wake which are the top ten foods that will help your body fight off infection, speed up recovery, promote optimal wound healing and boost your energy and strength.
Healthy fats are an invaluable energy source and strengthen the immune system to fight off infection. They also help the body to absorb nutrients from other foods we consume. Nuts, particularly almonds, are also high in vitamin E, which can reduce the appearance of scars. Other healthy fats include olive oil, avocados and oily fish.
#2 Wholemeal bread
Avoid refined grains and cereals and opt for whole grains which are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and that all important fibre. Breakfast can be the ideal time to add whole grains and cereals to your diet, by choosing oatmeal or wholemeal bread.
Berries are a powerful source of antioxidants; these help the body repair damage by rebuilding collagen, so can speed up scar healing. Cranberries, blueberries and blackberries are considered to contain the highest level of antioxidants.
Protein is essential for repair and the healing of muscle, as the amino acids in protein help to regenerate muscle tissue. Eggs are a good source of protein as they are so versatile and can be incorporated into lots of dishes.
#4 Sweet potatoes
In recent years, carbohydrates have got a bad press with the proliferation of low-carb diets, but they are essential for our body to function properly. Refined carbs offer little to no nutritional value, but vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals as well as giving you the energy boost you need when recovering from an operation.
There’s a reason why Popeye loved his spinach; leafy greens provide a vital dose of vitamins A, C and E, as well as containing magnesium and potassium which can help to maintain your energy levels. Combining spinach with berries and bananas in a smoothie can be a good way to ‘eat your greens’.
Zinc is essential for good health, particularly after surgery, as it maintains your immune system and grows and repairs body tissues. Your body doesn’t store zinc, so you have to be consuming enough zinc-rich foods to get your daily requirements and legumes like chickpeas contain substantial amounts. They can be an essential source of zinc for vegans and vegetarians.
Look for probiotic yoghurts which have had live and active cultures added. These healthy bacteria can help you fight off infections and also restore balance to your digestive system, which is often affected by anaesthetic or antibiotics.
#8 Pumpkin seeds
Your body needs high amounts of iron for cosmetic surgery recovery. A tummy tuck, for example, entails the abdominal muscles being moved and manipulated and those muscles require iron to repair themselves. Iron also creates new blood cells which will boost your energy levels. Pumpkin seeds are a small but mighty source of iron, making it the perfect post-procedure snack.
#9 Kiwi fruit
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is needed for the production of collagen and is therefore essential for skin healing after cosmetic surgery. It’s also a potent antioxidant that protects cells from damage by free radicals and supports your immune system. A medium-sized kiwi fruit provides about 70 milligrams of vitamin C, packing a greater punch than an orange.
Water is essential for optimal health and particularly important for cosmetic surgery recovery. Staying hydrated supports every function of the body as it begins the healing process.
At Karidis Clinic, we believe in offering our patients comprehensive support on their cosmetic surgery journey and Yvonne has devised the Karidis Cosmetic Surgery Diet to prepare patients for operation and aid them during their cosmetic surgery recovery process. If you’re interested in finding out more, we are hosting a Nutrition in Discussion event in the clinic with Yvonne on Friday 7th February, at 11am or 1pm. Meet Yvonne for a light brunch and ask any questions or discuss your concerns in a relaxed and informal environment.