Foods, Vegetables, and Vitamins to Avoid Before Surgery

You should avoid certain foods and dietary supplements before surgery. Some foods leave a residue in your digestive tract that may complicate intestinal surgeries or cause diarrhea. In addition to this, having food in your system may cause nausea and vomiting. Various types of vitamins may also cause complications during surgery. Your doctor or surgeon will give you diet advice prior to surgery.

Cereal, coffee and juice. (Image: Robert Anthony/iStock/Getty Images)


The night before your surgery, you should only drink beverages you can see through. These beverages include lemon-lime soda, apple juice and black coffee. Your body will digest these drinks quickly so your digestive system is cleared for surgery. Avoid juice with pulp, coffee with cream, cola and milk. Pulp contains fiber which is difficult for your body to break down and stays in your body for an extended period of time. Fatty dairy beverages may also take time for your body to break down and stay in your body for awhile.

High Fiber Foods

While fibrous foods are normally healthy for your body, you should not consume them prior to surgery. Fiber takes a longer period of time for your body to break down and your bowels need to be cleared out before surgery. Avoid high-fiber foods such as whole-wheat pasta, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, beans and lentils. This is referred to as a low-residue/low-fiber diet, as reported by the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruits are also high in fiber and should be avoided 24 hours before surgery. According to the MayoClinic website, fiber is not easily digested by your body and it stays intact in your intestines. This residue material in your gut may complicate some types of surgeries. You should avoid high-fiber vegetables such as artichokes, peas and broccoli. Do not eat fruits including raspberries, pears, apples and oranges. If you do eat vegetables and fruits before surgery, consume varieties that have been cooked or canned. The tough fibers are broken down during processing and do not remain in your system as long.

Vitamins and Supplements

Your doctor may recommend that you stop taking any supplements one week before surgery. Vitamin E increases blood flow in your body. According to EOrthopod, some doctors and surgeons may request that you discontinue use of vitamin E before surgery to eliminate the risk of excessive bleeding. Vitamin C also affects blood flow and causes your blood vessels to remain relaxed and open. Your physician might also ask you to discontinue consuming multivitamins between 24 hours and one week prior to surgery. Multivitamins have high amounts of vitamins E and C which may impact blood flow during surgery.

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