What is the Best Diet Before Surgery?

Some nutritionists have noticed recently that some people who are following high carbohydrate, low fat diets do not get enough protein. In the attempt to avoid fat, they are avoiding protein sources in their diets. The optimal amount of protein is 50 to 60 gm per day for a woman, and 70 to 90 gm per day for a man, or about .5 gm per pound of body weight.

Here is one suggested diet to start 3 weeks before surgery to ensure an intake of 50 to 70 grams of protein per day:

  • Two small (2 oz) servings of lean chicken, turkey, beef, fish, or shellfish for a total of 28 grams protein (7 gm per oz) per meal, twice a day.
    • Alternatively, the following can be substituted for animal protein:
    • 1 egg = 7 gm protein
    • 1 oz cheese = 7 gm protein
    • 1/4 c cottage cheese = 7 gm protein
    • 1/2 c beans or legumes = 7 gm protein
    • 4 oz tofu = 7 gm protein
    • 1 oz nuts or 1 1/2 T. peanut butter = 7 gm protein
  • Two 8 oz. servings of skim or low fat milk or yogurt – 16 gm protein. One 8 oz (1 cup) = 8 gm protein

Breads, cereals, grains, potatoes, pasta and vegetables will contribute the remainder of the protein, probably about 10 to 20 gm. Larger women and most men should add a little more to this basic plan. Carbohydrates like beans, whole grain pasta, brown rice, and quinoa are excellent to combine with the protein. While most vegetables are ideal, stay away from excess garlic, as this can also make you bruise easier.

What Vitamins and Minerals Should I take Before Surgery?

Taking a well balanced multi-vitamin starting three weeks before surgery can help with wound healing. You should have the optimal levels of vitamins before surgery, but not too much of one specific Vitamin, except Vitamin C. Large amounts of Vitamin C have shown in studies to help with wound healing. However, you must be careful with Vitamin E. Large amounts of Vitamin E (more than 400 mg per day) can increase bruising and bleeding. Be careful about taking any homeopathic supplements. There are many supplements which increase bruising and bleeding. They are advertised as good for your health, but they may actually interfere with surgery. Especially risky are herbal remedies. Often, the ingredients are untested and can increase bruising and bleeding.

Things to definitely avoid during the month before surgery:

These supplements increase bleeding and bruising:

  • Vitamin E
  • Ginko
  • Ginseng
  • St. Johns Wart
  • Fish Oil

These medications increase bleeding and bruising:

  • Aspirin
  • Advil
  • Aleve
  • Naproxen
  • Ibuprofen of any type

Taking Aspirin during the week before your surgery is highly risky and may cause your surgeon to delay your surgery by a week or more. Regular use of Advil, Aleve, or other types of Ibuprofen can also result in this. If you have any questions, call the office and ask. It is always better to be safe than sorry.


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