Having heart surgery is a major procedure that requires strict preparation to ensure the best outcome. During surgery, your body undergoes significant stress, so you doctor will order blood work and perform other tests to make sure your health is as good as it could be. In addition, you should take initiative in improving your diet and losing weight before heart surgery to reduce your risk of complications and promote a better recovery.
Heart Surgery and Weight Loss
Losing weight before heart surgery can reduce your risk of infection, according to a study published in May 1998 in the journal "Circulation." In the study, the researchers compared outcomes of coronary artery bypass surgery between obese and non-obese patients. They found that although there was no difference between the number of patients who had a stroke or died, there was an increased rate of infection in the obese group. Therefore, losing weight before heart surgery may reduce your risk of infection following surgery.
Reduce Portion Sizes
You must reduce your portion sizes to effectively reduce weight before heart surgery. Eating more food will likely cause you to consume more calories, which will result in weight gain. Eat your meals on a smaller, saucer-sized plate to reduce your overall intake. Smaller portions mean fewer calories, and a smaller plate can help you reduce your portions. Reducing the amount of food you eat will result in significant weight loss.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a source of vitamins and nutrients needed for a successful heart surgery recovery and also promote weight loss. Specifically, fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber. You can eat larger servings of most fruits and vegetables and still lose weight. In addition, the high fiber content helps you feel full faster, which will cause you to eat less. Set a goal to consume at least five servings per day of fruits and vegetables to lose weight before heart surgery.
Complex carbohydrates should be the only type of carbohydrates you eat to lose weight before heart surgery. Complex carbohydrates contain the high-fiber grain found in brown rice, brown pastas and whole-wheat breads. High-fiber carbohydrates allow a slow digestion of the carbohydrate and a steady release of sugar, or glucose, into your bloodstream. Because glucose is released slowly, less will be stored as fat. Therefore, you should replace white rice, white pastas and white breads with complex carbohydrates. Avoid simple sugars, such as table sugar, candy, cookies and sweet desserts.
Avoid fatty meats before heart surgery. Instead, consume more poultry and fish, which contain less saturated fat and fewer calories. Fish also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for heart health. Lean meats are also a good source of protein, which you will need to help injured muscle and tissue heal after your surgery. A serving of meat should be no larger than a deck of cards.