Diet and Joint Replacement: How Food Impacts Your Recovery

Do you have upcoming joint replacement surgery? You may wonder what kind of foods you can indulge in post-operation. 

Get-well cakes, cookies, and ice cream all sound like a good option. After all, you deserve it, right? Well, don’t over indulge just yet. What you eat could have more influence on your recovery than you know.

Eat This, Not That!

Joint replacement surgery is stressful on the body. Eating healthy foods before and after surgery can help speed up the recovery process. That means consuming a diet consisting of high-quality proteins, complex carbohydrates, anti-inflammatory fats, calcium, and vitamins C + D.

Eggs, cold-water fish, poultry, and meat are excellent protein sources. Whole grains, vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, and beans are great carb additions to your protein of choice. Fruits like kiwi, oranges, and grapefruit can help you reach your daily vitamin C intake while you recover.

The amount of stress the body endures after surgery causes your metabolism to work harder. Therefore, increasing your caloric needs. A poor diet post-recovery could slow down the healing process and makes you more susceptible to infections.

Avoid sugars and refined grains, like white bread. If necessary use natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. Avoid foods high in omega-6 fatty acids like nuts and fast food as it can lead to inflammation.

Dehydration is common after surgery, so drink plenty of fluids and limit or avoid alcohol and coffee if at all possible. Swapping yogurt for cheese is also recommended, as cheese can cause constipation. Yogurt has gut-friendly bacteria and is easier to tolerate.

The Road to Recovery

You know your body best, so eat what sits well with you. It is not uncommon to experience nausea as a side-effect of post-surgery medication, so you may be restricted to a bland diet as a result. Saltine crackers, toast, and ginger ale are simple foods that help soothe an upset stomach.

Sugary, simple carbs like sweets are okay to eat in moderation as a treat. Eating healthy foods won’t just help your body recover faster, it can also extend the life of your joint replacement. These tips are good to follow even after recovery, so you should continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle as best as you can.

Learn More, Ask the Experts

Do you have an upcoming surgery or questions about the recovery process? Find out how the comprehensive orthopedics program at Catholic Health can help you through the recovery process and connect you with nutritional services.


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