How better nutrition after orthopedic surgery can aid healing

  • 1 Minute Read
Joanna Kriehn
Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

You're on target with good nutrition and an active lifestyle when an unexpected injury sidelines your goals, leaving you wondering about life after surgery. Here’s how to optimize your post-op nutrition to promote a speedy recovery so you can return to the sports you love!

Nutrition after surgery

Your nutrition goals after surgery are best focused on healing, not weight loss.

A sudden switch from an active lifestyle to immobilization may cause you to worry about gaining weight, especially knowing the human body actually increases its calorie requirements following surgery.

Additional calories are needed to assist in rebuilding tissue, repairing ligaments and muscles, and rebuilding bone. Your specific calorie needs will depend on the type of procedure you underwent. For example, the awkward nature of using crutches increases calorie demands.

If you use a nutrition tracker such as MyNetDiary, set your target to weight maintenance. If this target seems too high, set it to a weight loss of ¼- ½ a pound a week for a more suitable daily calorie budget. You can adjust your goals in MyNetDiary from your home screen or Dashboard.

Protein is vital for healing and repair

Protein is a critical macronutrient after surgery. Protein building blocks known as amino acids help repair muscles and heal wounds. Need a refresher on foods rich in protein? Then check out this article on protein.

If you can eat regular meals, then strive to include a lean protein at each meal. Small meals or protein-rich snacks are wise options when you don't feel like eating larger meals. Here are some clever ways to boost your protein intake through snacks or meals.

Food and drink ideas to help you meet your nutrition goals after surgery

Appetite and taste changes, nausea, and fatigue may keep you from consuming sufficient nutrition after surgery. In such times, turn to system-friendly soft and moist foods such as:

Strive to eat whole foods while limiting processed foods to help ensure you are meeting your micronutrient needs.

Positive thinking improves outcomes

Positive thinking and a positive mindset can speed healing and may help manage pain, therefore requiring fewer pain-reducing medications.

Research shows that optimistic thinking may positively affect a person’s surgical stress response. Experiment to find what feels and works best for you. It could be listening to guided meditations, reading affirmations, keeping a gratitude journal, or talking with friends.

Make these and similar activities a habit. Plus, this type of therapy has no negative side effects, so you have nothing to lose.

We hope these tips help you optimize your nutrition after surgery and heal as quickly as possible.

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Still new to MyNetDiary? Learn more today by downloading the app for FREE.

Exercise->Injury Recovery
May 13, 2024
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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