Nutrition after Surgery

Good nutrition is essential for your recovery. What you put into your body has been proven to have a significant effect on your body's ability to heal effectively and reduce infection risk. Below are some general guidelines to make the best choices for your body and your recovery.

Which foods?

  • High fiber foods can help with your recovery and help fight conspitation
    • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, prunes
  • Lean proteins can help to fuel your body with the building blocks needed to recover. 
    • lean pork, poultry, seafoods, tofu, lean red meat in moderation
  • Healthy fats can help with vitamin absorption and energy for healing
    • nuts, seeds, avocados and butter/margarine in moderation, vegetable oils
  • Carbohydrates provide energy and prevent muscle breakdown
    • Whole grains, pasta, breads, rice, cereals


  • Alcohol can have unintended side effects while you are recovering from surgery.
  • Alcohol interacts with your pain medications and can cause excessive drowsiness and respiratory depression.
  • Alcohol can decrease the quality of your sleep.
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, moderation and caution is recommended.

Smoking and tobacco use

  • It is best if you can avoid any tobacco use for the month prior and three months after surgery
  • Smoking impairs your ability to heal after all surgeries
  • Smoking increases your risk of developing a post-operative infection
  • If you are looking for an excuse to quit, now is the best time


  • Calcium and Vitamin D are good for bone health and bone healing
  • Iron helps to build new red blood cells
  • Vitamin A and Zinc help with wound healing
  • Vitamin C helps to build connective tissue and promotes healing
  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant (avoid prior to surgery)
  • A multivitamin and a balanced diet should be sufficient to provide these nutrients. Generally there is not a need to take additional supplements unless you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or a vitamin deficiency.