Good Foods to Eat After Thyroid Surgery

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Removal of part or all of the thyroid gland is called a thyroidectomy, and is necessary when you have a cancerous thyroid nodule. You may also require surgery if you are suffering from symptoms due to a benign thyroid nodule. Other reasons for thyroid surgery include recurrent thyroid cysts, Graves’ disease or goiter. Recovery from an operation on your thyroid is usually quick. Most people require only a one-night stay in the hospital, then return to their regular routine and a normal diet within a week or two.

Immediately Following Surgery

Ice cubes
Piles of ice cubes (Image: Kritchanut/iStock/Getty Images)

When you awake from your operation, your neck will be sore and stiff. You will likely experience discomfort when swallowing due to irritation from the breathing tube inserted in your throat for your anesthetic. Sucking on ice chips will help to relieve your thirst and also soothe your throat. Some people experience nausea following surgery, so begin your fluid intake slowly.

Clear and Soft Diet

Mashed potatoes
Bowl of mashed potatoes (Image: Inga Nielsen/iStock/Getty Images)

Surgery requires that you discontinue eating and drinking after midnight on the night prior to the operation, so once the the effects of the anesthesia have worn off, you will likely feel hungry. Begin by eating a clear liquid diet, such as broth or plain gelatin. Your doctor will tell you when to return to your usual diet. If you still have a sore throat, begin with easily swallowed soft foods, such as milkshakes, smoothies, soup, ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, pudding, oatmeal, tender vegetables, soft-cooked eggs, mashed potatoes and applesauce or other mashed fruit.

Foods Containing Vitamin C

fresh strawberries
Fresh strawberries in bowl (Image: Maris Zemgalietis/iStock/Getty Images)

As you recover from surgery, eating a nutritious diet containing a wide variety of foods will aid your body in healing. In particular, vitamin C is necessary for healing wounds and forming scar tissue. Since vitamin C is water soluble, your body requires a continuous supply of foods containing this nutrient. Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C include strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, sweet bell peppers, and orange and tomato juices.

Foods Containing Zinc

Grilled chicken breast
Grilled chicken breast (Image: beti gorse/iStock/Getty Images)

Zinc is a trace mineral found in cells throughout your body. It plays an essential role in the healing of wounds and in proper immune system functioning, both of which are important as you recover from surgery. High-protein foods such as chicken, beef and pork are excellent sources of zinc, as are whole grains, legumes and nuts. If you are a vegetarian or if you eat a low-protein diet, you may require zinc in supplement form, since fruits and vegetables are not good sources.

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