Many of my patients see a cosmetic surgery procedure as a chance for a renewed start. They frequently want to know if there is anything else they can do to improve their lifestyle so that they can enhance and extend the results from their surgical procedures and make them the next step in a personal transformation. While there are few things more exciting than showing off plastic surgery results at the gym, I have found that making subtle changes to your diet can both help you recover from surgery faster and make you healthier for years to come.
After surgery, it is important to avoid foods that can increase the risk of certain post-operative complications. Refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour; saturated fats from red meat and organ meats; trans. fats from commercially-baked cookies, cakes and pastries; and alcohol have all been shown to increase inflammatory response, or swelling, which would work counter to your healing process. Constipation is another potential difficulty, which can increase your pain level and place additional stress on your incision. When recovering from a surgical procedure it is important to avoid processed foods, cheese, milk and dairy products, red meat, and sweets, all of which can cause constipation. Some studies have suggested that vitamin C and zinc contribute to the healing process, and both vitamin B12 and iron help the bone marrow form new blood cells, so foods rich in these specific vitamins and minerals may contribute to your healing process as well.
In the long term, one of the simplest ways to eat healthier is to focus on “whole foods” rather than “processed foods”. For example, a raw apple is a whole food while a frozen, store-bought apple pie has been processed. Processed foods tend to have much higher amounts of fat, sugar, salt and chemical additives, but far less fiber and vitamins than their whole food counterparts. An easy way to stick to more nutritious, less processed foods is to focus on the outside aisles of the grocery store, in the produce, butcher/fish, dairy, and bread areas. Further, focus on foods that are good sources of fiber, such as whole grain breads that are darker in color or brown rice and oatmeal. White bread is typically too refined to be a good source of fiber. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also excellent sources of fiber in their natural state. Finally, the body requires the amino acids in protein, particularly as you recover from surgery, for wound healing and tissue regeneration. Lean meat, specifically chicken, turkey, pork and seafood fulfills this role nicely. Dairy products, such as cheese and milk, as well as red meat can also serve as excellent sources of protein, however they are often only recommended in moderation as their high levels of saturated fat can lead to other complications.
If you are interested in any cosmetic procedure I perform, please contact us today to schedule a consultation. Also be sure to connect with me, Dr. Allyson Maske on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery news.