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Foods That Help Healing After Knee Surgery

author image Rachel Fox, RD
Rachel Fox has been writing since 2010, primarily for LIVESTRONG.COM. She is a registered dietitian from Michigan. Fox received her Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Central Michigan University.
Foods That Help Healing After Knee Surgery
Speed surgery recovery with proper healing foods. Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Consuming the correct types of foods before and after surgery is important for timely wound healing. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are two nutrients involved directly with wound healing, zinc and vitamin C. Adequate amounts of zinc are needed for the immune system to function properly. Zinc is also involved with cell growth and wound healing. The daily recommended amount of zinc is 8g for women and 11g for men. Remember, zinc has a tolerable upper limit of 40g per day. Excess zinc can be toxic. Vitamin C is involved with the formation of cartilage and bone. It also helps to repair tendons, ligaments and skin by aiding in collagen formation. Vitamin C is necessary for wound healing. The recommended amount of daily vitamin C is 90mg for men and 75mg for women. There is no upper limit, although above 2,000mg may cause stomach discomfort. Consume foods that contain zinc and vitamin C to aid in wound healing after surgery.


All fruits contain vitamin C, some are higher than others. Guava, papaya, oranges strawberries, grapefruit, and cantaloupe have the highest concentration of vitamin C. Guava is the highest with 160mg per fruit, papaya has 95mg per fruit, oranges have 60mg, strawberries 50mg per half cup, grapefruit 40mg in one half fruit, and cantaloupe has 35mg in each half cup. Two to four servings of these fruits daily would meet and possibly exceed the recommended amount.


Vitamin C is found in vegetables as well. Sweet red bell pepper, broccoli, green pepper, and kohlrabi contain the highest concentration. In each half cup serving red pepper has 95mg, broccoli 60mg, green pepper 45mg and boiled kohlrabi has 45mg. Consume three to five servings of vegetables daily. Include at least one of the vitamin C-containing vegetables daily to meet the required amount.


Zinc is found in highest amounts in meats. Beef products have the highest concentration. Most beef cuts have 5g or more of zinc per 3 ounce serving. Oysters are also high with 5g or more per 3 ounces. Pork, turkey and veal have between 1g and 3g per 3 ounce serving. Vegetarian proteins like nuts and legumes contain zinc, but in a lower concentration than meats. Nuts, seeds, and nut butters contain between 1g and 3g in each 2 tablespoon serving.

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