I am sure you heard of the expression that you are what you eat. Well it’s no myth. Think of your body as a machine and everything that you eat helps to keep it running. When we digest our food, the body breaks it up into many small molecules that are vital to our survival. The biggest of these are proteins, carbohydrates (sugars), and lipids (fats). Many vitamins, minerals, and other molecules are also available through the foods we digest.
The body can generate some of these required nutrients on it’s own, but a lot of them are only accessible through our diet. Proteins for example are comprised of even smaller molecules called amino acids. Some are made naturally by our bodies, but we need to get the rest from food.
These amino acids are called the essential amino acids since there is no other way for us to obtain them. You might have guessed it already, but some foods are more enriched with nutrients then others.
Sweets are the biggest culprit since they contain little to no nutritional value. It is important to eat them sparingly and to make sure that you balance your diet with the right foods that you need.
Speaking of the right foods, this is doubly important for when you are recovering from an injury or surgery recovering from an injury or surgery, and it is not the time for dieting or noshing on junk food.
Many patients are concerned about weight gain during the recovery period since they have become less active. Healing your foot should come before fitting into your swimsuit. It is true that you are inactive and are burning fewer calories, but your body still needs nutrients in order to function.
It’s trying to heal itself. Depriving the body of the factors that it needs to function properly can take away from the work that it needs to do in order to repair and renew.
Eat healthy while you recover and just cut down on the sweets if you are really worried about the weight. You should not be eating as much of them anyway just because of the lack of real nutritional value.
Below I’ve compiled a list of some nutritional guidelines for you to follow during your recovery. However, dietary needs can change for each individual since pre-existing medical conditions and/or medications can influence the type of foods that you can eat.
For example; for those of you that have high levels of blood sugar, your doctor, nutritionist or dietary specialist might require you to eat less fruits or limit your intake of fruits that are high in sugars. Always check with a specialist to see what food options are right for you.
Being fully hydrated is no joke. Water is a key component in a lot of the body’s functions, such as digestion, metabolism, and many cellular mechanisms. It is always thought wise to drink about eight glasses of water a day (64oz), but during recovery this is especially important. You want to make sure you’re constantly hydrated throughout the day.
Patients recovering from surgery need a high protein diet. Normally when people think of a high protein diet they think of those people that hit the gym on a regular basis. In a way, the logic behind both is the same. Body builders and athletes intake high amounts of protein to increase muscle mass, as well as to strengthen and tone. In the same sense, protein works to repair and strengthen damaged and injured muscle.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Carbs are broken down into glucose, which gives us the power that we need to go throughout our day. In foods, carbohydrates are comprised of simple carbs and complex carbs. Unlike what diet trends tend to portray, carbs are important for your diet. The thing about low carb diets is that carbs turn into fats and are stored in adipose tissue if not used. So if you limit your carbs, you limit the amount of fat being stored. Carbs also supply our immediate energy. So if you limit your “immediate” energy source, then your body has to break into it’s fat supply in order to keep itself powered. But for very active people and especially those recovering from surgery, you need to get a healthy amount of carbohydrates in your diet.
Unfortunately fats have gotten a bad rap due to the society we live in. The truth is that we need fats just as much as we need proteins and carbs. Fats are part of the lipid group of molecules, which play a large role in the health of our bodies.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Did you know that each day your bones go through a breakdown and remodeling process? It’s true. Two cells are responsible for doing this; osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Osteoblasts create new bone, while osteoclasts breakdown old bone. The strength and durability of your bones depends on this intricate relationship. And right in the middle of it all is vitamin D.
Ah, good ol’ vitamin C. Vitamin C packs a lot of good mojo for our bodies. For post-operative healing, it plays a key role in collagen formation. Collagen is the main component of fibrous connective tissue, which makes up tendons, ligaments and skin. It’s important to get a lot of vitamin C to build up your connective tissues, especially if you have had soft tissue surgery or suffered a soft tissue injury.
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