Top 20 Foods To Support Recovery After Surgery


Healing and recovery is the topmost priority of an individual after surgery. Eating healthy and sufficient amounts of food can help you recover faster; insufficiency in your diet can lead to prolonged wound recovery, risk of infection, and even malnutrition. To reduce these chances, one needs to have a quality diet. There are ample foods that are delicious, accelerate your healing, fight off infection, and increase your strength. Some of them even possess tissue-healing properties. [Caution- an individual’s nutritional requirements differ based on the type of surgery you have had, your age, height and weight, gender, or any pre-existing medical conditions. Always consent your doctor dietician before following any diet] Here are the top twenty foods to eat after surgery:

1.Whole Grain

Whole grains are Complex Carbohydrates providing rich nutrients that help support your immune system. It stops your muscles from breaking down and provides energy to your brain. They also provide fiber which can prevent constipation while recovering from surgery. A lot of dietary fiber after surgery, Whole grain is one of the best sources of fiber. It helps your bowel movements and prevents constipation, as many patients suffer discomfort due to constipation post-surgery medications. Examples: Wild Rice, Quinoa, Steel Cut Oats.


2.Sweet Potato

Healthy high-carb foods, like sweet potatoes, are essential food for recovery. It provides enzymes like hexokinase and citrate synthase, which help you repair wounds and provides the energy your cells require for healing. Sweet potatoes have anti-inflammatory plant compounds, vitamins, and minerals like vitamin C, carotenoids, and manganese that help post-surgery recovery. Consuming sweet potatoes will help your body in healing faster. It is also a source of vitamin A that our body needs for repairing soft tissue and the mucus membrane. It helps in constipation, which is common after surgery.


3.Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables are those vegetables that are of the Brassicaceae family. These vegetables are well known for their impressive health benefits. They possess a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which helps in recovery. They contain nutrients that our body craves post-surgery for recovery. These veggies boost immunity as they have high indoles. Cruciferous veggies are known for containing glucosinolates, which are compounds that your body converts into isothiocyanates that promote immunity by inducing death in infected cells, suppressing inflammation, and activating immune defenses. For great flavours, you can try roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflowers.
Examples: cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.



Berries have nutrients and plant compounds that can help your body’s recovery post-surgery. They contain Vitamin C, which helps in the making of collagen, which helps in the wound-healing process. They are a powerhouse of nutrition that helps the body repair damage and avoid infection. They get their vibrant colors from antioxidants like anthocyanins, which are plant pigments, in addition to providing immune-supporting effects, anti-inflammatory and antiviral. Examples: Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, and Blueberries, etc.



Eggs provide six proteins, Vitamins A, E, K, and B complex vitamins (including B12), calcium, zinc, and many more nutrients. Zinc helps in healing damaged tissues and also reduces the risk of infection. These nutrients help with increasing immunity and in the process of wound healing.


6.Dark Leafy Green

Leafy greens are equally essential as colorful berries. Eating them gives you an abundance of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as vitamin K, which is beneficial for blood clotting. You will also get vitamin B complex, iron, fiber, and magnesium, which help with energy levels. They have immune-supportive properties as they contain polyphenol antioxidants. As leafy greens consist of vitamin C, it helps in healing wounds post-surgery.
Examples: Kale, Spinach, Swiss chard, and Bok choy , etc.


7.Protein Rich Food

Protein is another healing food to eat after surgery. Its requirement increases during the post-surgery phase. Due to the increase in metabolic process for muscle healing, a patient requires more protein than an average person. As your muscles are damaged, moved, and even manipulated throughout the surgery, thus a high amount of protein and iron is required for your body to recover. It also helps in reducing inflammation around the wounds. After surgery, the need for amino acids in the human body can be satisfied by protein. Examples: Turkey, Fish, Chicken, etc.



Including vegetables in your diet gives you vitamins and minerals. They add carbohydrates to your diet that help to overcome fatigue during post-op. Even the brain gets its energy from Carbohydrates, which stop your muscle breakdown and increases vitamin A and C. Vegetables include fibers, which are required to reduce constipation as they are a common side effect of pain medication and decreased mobility. They boost your immune system and energy, which helps in recovery as they have nutrients. Examples: Carrots, Beetroot, Pumpkin, etc.



Water is one of the most essential nutrients needed for our body. After an operation, the need for water in our body rises more than our everyday need due to dehydration. For quick recovery, water is the best solution. Keeping your body hydrated post-op will reduce nausea, fatigue, and lightheadedness. Water with lime or lemon, Coconut water, herbal tea, and soup will help your body to stay hydrated and recover quicker.


10.Lean Meat

Lean beef contains protein. There is approximately 75% water, 20% protein, 5% fat, minerals, and carbs in Lean meat. The people consuming lean beef have a limited amount of saturated fat and consume less than 10% of calories, which is beneficial for post-op recovery. Whereas eating red meat means consuming more saturated fat, which may lead to high cholesterol and a higher risk of heart attack, it can be risky in the post-surgery phase. Hence, one should avoid red beef and consume lean instead.
Examples: chicken, turkey, Fish, etc.



If you are sweet-toothed and just had surgery, no problem, fresh and sweet fruits are the top-healing food after surgery, which consist of Vitamin A and C, fiber, and antioxidants. Afternoon healthy snacks or smoothies, including fruits, will help you reap the post-surgical benefits. They are rich in fiber and help with constipation. They help in rebuilding collagen and soft tissues. Examples: Tomato, Papaya, Mango, Apple, etc.


12.Citrus Fruits

Bell peppers are considered an excellent source of vitamin C. Plenty of vitamin C is found in Citrus fruits and is beneficial for the immune system. Hence, it is a must for post-surgery. For incisions, collagen is a crucial wound-healing protein. Therefore vitamin C is essential for producing collagen. Citrus fruits are responsible for reducing inflammation and swelling. Sources of vitamin C : guava, kiwi, Pineapple, Grape, Orange, etc.


13.Healthy Fat

Healthy fat is highly appreciated after surgery as it helps your body to absorb vitamins and nutrients that our body gets from fruits and vegetables. Strengthening your immune system and decreasing the chances of infection fat is essential for the post-surgical body. They provide long-lasting energy and have high vitamin E. Vitamin E helps to heal your wound faster and reduces the chances of a scar. Examples : Olive oil, Avocados, Coconut oil, etc.



Mushroom are macrofungi, which contribute to treating the wound and increases the healing process. Vitamin D in mushrooms is an essential element after surgery. It helps in healing bones. There are many species of mushroom, but the extract of lion’s mane mushroom speeds up the recovery due to any injury by increasing the growth of nerve cells.


15.Calcium Rich Food

Calcium is a mineral that is often associated with the making of bones and teeth. Calcium is essential post-surgery as it plays a critical role in blood clots and maintains regular heartbeat and nerve function. Dairy products though being a high component of calcium, may result in constipation, which can cause a problem, so it is better to rely on other calcium-rich food. Consider choosing dairy products only if you can consume them without getting constipated. Examples calcium rich food, other then dairy products : Soybeans, Orange juice, Sardine, Soy milk, etc.


16.Iron Rich Food

Red blood cells have a protein called Iron that distributes oxygen to different parts of the body. Iron is a significant component of hemoglobin. Insufficiency of Iron may lead to fatigue or weakness. To replenish red blood cells in your body, consider including iron-rich food in your post-operation diet, as any surgery involves some amount of blood loss. Examples: Beef, Liver, Organ meats, Spinach, etc.


17.Nuts And Seeds

Nuts And Seeds have plant-based proteins that help with healing wounds. They provide quick energy and are considered a healthy fat. They even promote cell growth, which is essential during the post-surgery phase. They are good sources of zinc/vitamin E. Vitamin E acts like an antioxidant in your body. It’s also critical for immunity. Vitamin E is a natural killer cell that helps fight infection and disease.
Examples : Almonds, Pumpkin seeds, Walnut, Sunflower seeds, etc.

A variety of healthy and organic nuts and seeds in piles on a slate surface.


Salmon is one of the healthiest fishes, having various minerals, vitamins, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. According to studies, omega-3 fatty acids promote wound healing and reduce inflammation. It contains selenium, protein, vitamin B, zinc, and other nutrients. Selenium helps in regulating inflammation and immune response. Eight-five grams of wild-caught salmon gives you about 70% of selenium. Though eating salmon is considered safe, you can consult your doctor before taking salmon after surgery.



Turmeric is a traditional Indian spice generally used to add taste to your food. Along with this, it has other properties as well. The wound-healing property is one of them. Curcumin is an essential element of turmeric. Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric and contains a powerful ability to control inflammation. It reduces the chances of a heart attack after surgery and improves blood circulation. It helps with wound recovery and even reduces the risk of having cutaneous wounds. The study also shows that turmeric helps with skin regeneration and boosts collagen. Turmeric also helps with cancer as well as skin diseases. You can consume turmeric along with food or in tea. Drinking turmeric tea can be very helpful post-surgery to improve your digestive system.



Antibiotics are the most common medications people consume post-surgery, but sometimes these can disturb the balance of bacteria in the gut. Yogurt helps to restore gut health after surgery and antibiotics as it contains healthy bacteria. It even helps in regulating your gastrointestinal system. It also reduces the chances of vomiting and nausea. It contains protein and zinc, which increases the healing process.