Which Foods Help Promote Spinal Surgery Recovery, & Which Should You Avoid?

Surgery is a very common event as we age. During your lifetime, you’ll likely go in for surgery or take care of someone who is recovering from surgery. There are millions of surgeries performed every year, including spine surgery. Every type of surgery, even elective and planned ones, are a source of bodily trauma.

After the surgery, you or your loved one has a higher risk of infection, pneumonia, falls, decreased mobility, weight loss or gain, or loss of energy and motivation. However, your surgery is meant to improve your quality of life. To do so, there are a few key things you can do to make your transition from the hospital to your home smooth. One of the biggest ones is your diet and nutrition.

Foods to Eat After Spine Surgery

There are several foods you should eat after your spine surgery to help promote healing and reduce the chances of infection. We’re going to touch on the biggest ones for you below.

1. Healthy Fats

Healthy fat is good for you, especially after you have spine surgery. Healthy fats help your body absorb vitamins that you’re getting from your fruit and vegetables, and fats also help you strengthen your immune system while decreasing the chance of infection. You want to add olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, seeds, and nuts. You’ll get a long-lasting source of energy. Additionally, many nuts and fats are high in vitamin E. This vitamin helps your wounds heal quicker and reduce the appearance of scars.

2. Vitamins

The minerals and vitamins that you get in vegetables are some of the most important nutrients you get to help you heal after your spine surgery. You should add sweet bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and potatoes. They’ll add carbohydrates to your diet to help reduce the fatigue that you typically have when you get home from the hospital. They give your brain energy while stopping your muscles from breaking down. Your body will also get vitamins A and C, and it’ll add fiber to your diet to reduce constipation.

3. Dark Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are vitally important to add to your diet after you have surgery of any type. They give you a nice serving of vitamins A, E, and E, as well as vitamin K, and this is essential to help your blood clot correctly. You want to add spinach, kale, bok choy, swisschard, romaine lettuce, and mustard greens. You’ll also absorb B-complex vitamins, and this helps improve your energy levels. They’re also good sources of iron, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. As a bonus, you can eat them raw or cooked.

4. Berries

Antioxidants are very important after surgery because their main job is to help repair damage to your body. You should try to add pomegranates, grapes, raspberries, blueberries, gojiberries, strawberries, and blackberries to your diet. They’re all a great source of vitamin C, and this vitamin is helpful for assisting in rebuilding collagen inside your soft tissues. So, eating berries can encourage your incision site to heal a little quicker than it would without them. You only need to eat a little bit of these berries to get the benefits.

5. Meat or Alternatives to Meat

It’s important to eat adequate amounts of protein as you age. Following any surgical procedure, your body will need a high amount of iron and protein because your muscles have potentially sustained damage or been manipulated or moved during the surgical procedure. The amino acid content in the protein can help repair muscle damage by speeding up wound healing and regenerating tissue. Iron can help you regain your energy levels more quickly. You can add iron and protein to your diet by eating seafood, poultry, lentils, beans, eggs, nuts, and tofu. Try meat that has been slow-cooked in sauces or ground meats because you could have trouble chewing tougher meat cuts.

6. Probiotics

Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that your body uses to provide mental balance, digest food, and fight off all the infections and germs that are around after a procedure or hospital stay. A few probiotic-rich foods include sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, and kimchi. Painkillers, antibiotics, and anesthetics can all upset the delicate balance in your digestive system, and this can lead to constipation, digestive upset, and nausea. So, adding a healthy dose of probiotics can balance your system.

Foods to Avoid After Spine Surgery

Along with foods you should eat, there are foods you should avoid after you have your surgery. The goal is to get a balanced healthy diet, and avoiding these foods can help.

1. Full-Fat Dairy Products

You do want to add some dairy products into your diet after you have your surgery. However, you do want to cut back on the full-fat dairy products like sour cream and ice cream. Doing so can encourage constipation, especially when you mix them with painkillers.

2, Dehydrated or Dried Foods

Your stomach is going to be sensitive after surgery, and you may not be able to process dried or dehydrated foods as much as you usually can. Avoid eating dried fruits, beef jerky, and some potato chip varieties. The exception to this is prunes because they can help ease constipation.

3. Red Meat

You do want to add protein to your diet after surgery, but you should avoid red meat as it is high in saturated fat. Saturated fats can trigger digestive issues and constipation, and this can make your recovery process miserable. Red meat includes beef, lamb, and pork.

Contact Florida Spine Associates

Are you considering spine surgery in Boca Raton? If so, you want to contact Florida Spine Associates. We have a dedicated staff available that are ready to schedule a consultation, answer your questions, and address your concerns. We’ll make sure you have a perfect diet plan in place after your surgical procedure.