Healing After Surgery the Vegan Way


Having surgery is hard on the body and we need to do everything we can to help ourselves mend as quickly as possible afterward. Though it’s likely the furthest thing from ones mind when facing surgery, diet should definitely be a main consideration. Surgery weakens the body and increases our chance of infection. However, we can increase our odds of having a successful surgery and recovery by boosting our immune system before and after surgery with a healthy vegan diet. Here’s how.

• Choose a diet high in nutrients and antioxidants while cutting fat and cholesterol. Have vegetables or fruits with every meal. Cruciferous vegetables are especially beneficial as they add bulk to the meal. Avocados offer good fat and some protein. • Foods high in vitamin C will help with wound healing. These include grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries and oranges. Red bell peppers are also a good choice. • Beta carotene, the vitamin A precursor, has been shown to help repair membranes around the site of an incision. Orange vegetables and fruits such as sweet potatoes, carrots and cantaloupe are a few good picks. • We need protein to develop new tissue and hinder infection. Legumes are a great source of protein for vegans. Beans also contain zinc, a good nutrient for wound healing. Hulled hemp seeds offer a good amount of protein as well. Other good choices include peas, nuts, non-dairy milk and tofu or seitan (in moderation). • Brown rice, barley, oats and other whole grains add a good source of fiber which is both filling and cleansing. This is important to avoid constipation and its complications after surgery. • Use olive oil for cooking and flax oil for salads and other uses. However, never heat flax oil. Avoid vegetable oil and margarine. • Sweeten with natural fruits and vegetables and not sugar or artificial products as they only give empty calories and can cause harm to the body.

Putting together a diet plan is relatively simple. Just make sure you have a good variety of foods for protein, vitamin C, beta carotene and fiber. These foods contain other essential nutrients as well. Here’s what a sample diet would look like.

• Breakfast might include old-fashioned oatmeal mixed with berries, walnuts, ground flax seeds or hempseeds. Alternatively, a couple of slices of whole grain toast with nut butter, some fruit (such as strawberries) and dairy free milk will give a good source of vitamin C and protein. • Lunch may consist of a baked potato, tossed green salad with garbanzo or other beans and a home-made vinaigrette along with some nuts or seeds. An alternate lunch might include lentil soup with whole grain crackers and cut up vegetables. • Supper may include an enjoyable veggie burger on a whole grain bun with a salad or side of vegetables. Or try nutrient dense stir fry vegetables over brown rice.

Vegetables and minerals obtained from plant-based diets are great sources of health for every body. Those eating a vegan diet may also have a lowered risk of certain diseases and chronic health conditions. If followed correctly a vegan diet can offer high levels of antioxidants, vitamins C & E, beta carotene, folic acid, protein, fiber and other nutrients for strong immunity, better healing and high energy.

This post comes from surgery of Dr. Simon Weight in Perth, Australia. If you are planning to enter into surgery, then please speak with your physician, nutritionist and the surgeon before you go on any diet plans.