Eating for a Healthy Recovery after Surgery

Recovering from surgery can be a challenging task for a senior.

Getting suitable types of food ensures the body has the proper nutrition to heal properly.

Each year in Canada, over one million surgeries are performed. If your loved one has or is scheduled for surgery after surgery care is so essential, and that includes eating healthy foods to help the healing process.

Whether surgery is planned or unexpected, it is a source of trauma to the body. After surgery, you are at a higher risk of infection, falls, decreased mobility, weight fluctuation, and fatigue.  Even though there are risks, surgery is meant to improve your quality of life in the long run!

The best way to achieve a quick and complete recovery is to focus on nutrition. Whole, unprocessed foods are the best because they have lower amounts of fat, sugar, salt, and additives than processed foods. Whole foods also give you more vitamins and fibre, which makes them a better choice after surgery.

Lean Proteins

Protein is essential for building new cells after surgery. It is ideal to pick proteins that contain a lot of iron for blood cell production. Good options include black beans, chicken, lean ground beef, and lentils. Red meat is not recommended because it may trigger constipation and contains high levels of saturated fats.

Seeds And Nuts

The healthy fats in walnuts, almonds, sesame, and flax seeds help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins properly. Most nuts and seeds contain a lot of vitamin E, which is necessary for speeding up wound healing and reducing scars. 

Fresh Vegetables

Vegetables are a great way to get the vitamins and minerals needed for post-surgery healing. Incorporating dark leafy greens into your diet, such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, and romaine lettuce, is like having a multivitamin with loads of fibre! Leafy greens also have B-complex vitamins and iron which will help you increase your energy and aid in wound healing.


Greek Yogurt is great for seniors to eat after surgery because it contains a lot of live probiotics. These helpful bacteria restore the body’s natural bacterial imbalance after managing antibiotics and potential infections from surgery. If you don’t fancy plain yogurt, add some healthy berries.


Berries are a great source of vitamin C and potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidants. Vitamin C is beneficial because it rebuilds the collagen in the skin. They are also high in fibre, good for the skin, and can help lower high cholesterol and fight off illness. All berries have vitamin C, but 1 cup of strawberries has 150% of the recommended daily intake!


It might not technically be a food, but water is essential to surgery recovery. Dehydration is common after surgery, and you will recover faster if you stay hydrated. If your loved one does not like plain water, try flavouring water with fruit or herbal teas. Coconut water is high in potassium and is known to lower blood pressure.


Eggs are a powerhouse protein source! They have a soft texture that is ideal for seniors after surgery. A single egg contains protein, vitamins A, B, E, and K, calcium, zinc, iron, and many other nutrients needed for recovery. You can have up to 3 whole eggs a day.

Whole Grains

There are many health benefits to eating whole grains after surgery will give you the carbohydrates you need for energy as well as fibre. When looking at bread, pasta, and cereals, look for 100% whole wheat or multigrain.

Older adults who need help maintaining their health while recuperating from surgery should consider professional in-home care. The healthcare team at Promyse will work with your parent or loved one’s doctors, specialists, and caregivers to tailor a care plan designed for the quickest recovery at home.

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