What Meals Should I Eat Before Surgery?

DAner kebap - Chicken Salad Sandwich Wrap
A grilled chicken breast wrap on a plate. (Image: Reddiplomat/iStock/Getty Images)

More than likely your surgeon will give you instructions not to eat anything after midnight on the evening before your scheduled surgery. However, the meal you do eat on that night, as well as your diet on during the week before your surgery, can play an important role in how your surgery goes and how quickly you will recover. Certain foods can work to help speed recovery while other foods may delay your recovery or cause complications.

Solanaceous Glycoalkaloids

Solanaceous glycoalkaloids, or SGAs, are natural compounds that are found in foods such as potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant. In potatoes, the greener the skin of the potato, the higher the levels of solanaceous glcoalkaloids will be. According to research conducted by the University of Chicago Medical Center, researchers discovered that even tiny amounts of SGAs slow the metabolism of certain anesthetics and muscle relaxants and increases recovery time following surgery.

Natural Blood Thinning Foods

While preparing you for your surgical procedure, your physician more than likely advised you not to take pain medications such as aspirin or other pain medications because they contain salicylates. Salicylates work to prevent against blood clots by preventing platelets from clumping together. Salicylates occur naturally in a variety of foods and these foods should be avoided in the days preceding your surgery. According to the Auckland Allergy Clinic, foods high in salicylates include fruits such as berries, oranges, pineapples, grapes and plums, vegetables such as hot peppers, tomatoes, radishes and olives, almonds and water chestnuts, and various herbs including cayenne, curry and Worcestershire sauce.

Protein and Vitamin C

Protein is a building block of life and is necessary for the body to repair and heal itself. Protein can be found in foods such as meats, fish, eggs, poultry, beans, nuts and seeds. Vitamin C is needed for the growth and repair of all tissues in the body. Vitamin C can be found in some quantity in all fruits and vegetables. In the week prior to your surgery, eating a balanced diet including protein and vitamin C can be beneficial to your recovery.

Easily Digested Foods

For your final meal before surgery, Lakeland HealthCare recommends eating a light dinner consisting of easily digestible foods. Foods that are easily and quickly digested include fruits, juices and water and non-starchy vegetables. Foods high in fats and fiber are difficult to digest and should be avoided. Avoid dairy products and spicy foods as they can also affect digestion.

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