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7 Foods to Eat After Having an Orthopedic Surgery

Dr Dipendra Dhillon
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If you are looking at a healthy recovery after having an orthopedic surgery like knee replacement or even a fracture, then along with ensuring plenty of rest and proper wound care you must also factor in good nutrition. An orthopedic surgery can place immense stress on the body as the body’s metabolism is elevated when it is in the repair mode. If you are looking at a healthy recovery after having an orthopedic surgery like knee replacement or even a fracture, then along with ensuring plenty of rest and proper wound care you must also factor in good nutrition. An orthopedic surgery can place immense stress on the body as the body’s metabolism is elevated when it is in the repair mode. A well-balanced and nutritious diet becomes indispensable for proper tissue growth, repair and speedy recovery. Mentioned below are the nutrients that act as building blocks during the post-operative period and aids a quick and healthy recovery. Most of these nutrients can be easily obtained from food that we regularly consume. Let’s dive in to know more about these bone-healing foods that can help you recover faster. 1. Protein Protein constitutes 55% of our bone volume and hence becomes a key ingredient of the bone-healing diet. Adding this important nutrient to the diet after an orthopedic surgery has shown to attenuate bone loss, reduce the probability of post-surgical infections and increase bone mass. On the other hand, protein deficiency leads to decreased bone building hormones, which in turn slows down the recovery. Vegetarian Sources of Protein In order to obtain the essential amino acids present in protein vegetarians are suggested to include the following food items in their diet: • Soyabean and soy products • Quinoa • Chia seeds • Spinach • Beans • Artichokes • Peas • Lentils Non-Vegetarian Sources of Protein: If you gravitate towards non-vegetarian sources of protein, following are your best options: • Meat • Poultry • Seafood • Egg To support the healing process 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram body weight is recommended. 2. Calcium Calcium acts in synergy with protein for bone formation and therefore is an essential mineral post-surgery. Even our heart, muscles and nerves need calcium to function properly. The best sources of calcium include dairy products such as low-fat and no-fat milk, yogurt and cheese; fortified foods for example seeds, tofu or rice milk. Dark leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale etc. Studies suggest that 600-1,000 milligrams of calcium a day is a reasonable goal for bone health. 3. Vitamin D Vitamin D works with Calcium to promote bone health as it helps our body absorb and utilize calcium. Sun is the best source of Vitamin D but our body’s ability to make Vitamin D depends on time of year, time of day and where we live. A small amount of Vitamin D can also be obtained from food sources like fatty fish, salmon, tuna, egg, cheese or fortified milk. 4. Vitamin C Vitamin C boasts of antioxidant properties and hence is an integral part of our body’s immune function, especially would healing. It can neutralize the effects of free radicals that promote disease. Vitamin C also helps in collagen synthesis, which is required for repairing tendons, ligaments and healing other surgical wounds. Adding adequate amount of this important nutrient in the diet can lead to faster healing post-surgery. Citrus fruits like orange, strawberries, kiwi, and lemon; and vegetables including broccoli, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts etc are a good source of Vitamin C. The daily recommended allowance of Vitamin C during post-operative period is 500 mg as the body requires more of this vitamin for better healing. 5. Zinc Zinc along with Vitamin C and protein can substantially speed up the recovery after an orthopedic surgery. Deficiency of the same is associated with poor bone health. Zinc has been shown to aid wound healing, unite bone fractures and prevent osteoporosis due to its role in collagen synthesis. This mineral is mostly found in animal foods. Oysters, meat, dark poultry etc are considered to be the best non-vegetarian sources of protein. On the other hand, fortified cereals, dairy, beans, nuts etc also provide moderate amount of zinc. 6. Omega 3 Omega 3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and their role in bone formation. DHA and EPA found in fatty acids have shown to aid bone formation and prevent bone loss. They also boast of anti-inflammatory properties that that protects against the disease causing agents of the bone. Col-water fatty fish like salmon or tuna are good sources of Omega 3. Other vegetarian sources include tofu, walnuts, canola and flax seeds etc. 7. Fiber Pain medications that are prescribed after the surgery can lead to digestive problems like constipation. As such fiber-rich foods along with drinking plenty of water can have a laxative affect that can help with constipation. Fruits and juices are considered to be most effective in this case. Adding the aforementioned foods associated with bone healthy nutrients in your diet can really help you recover quickly from surgery. But make sure you consult your doctor on the appropriate proportion of each nutrient in the diet

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