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What you should eat before, during and after your cosmetic surgery: Part 1

We all want to get the best results possible from our cosmetic surgery. Some things are crucial in getting to that goal - stop smoking, get healthy, and come as excited and stress-free as possible. But there other things that are important as well and I’d like to spend a few minutes talking about one of them - diet.

Surgery places numerous stresses on the body, and good nutrition can mitigate some of them. As a result, we can expedite wound healing, reduce risk of infection and minimize scarring.

Since cosmetic surgery is usually elective, you’ll have time to prepare by eating well. Unless you already have an exceptional diet, you may be able to improve your daily intake of macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. And this is important - allow at least one month to see the effects of any significant dietary change.

Protein deficiency impairs wound healing, as protein is needed for fibroblast proliferation, new blood vessel formation and collagen production. Apart from wound healing, proteins are essential to the function of the immune system and the central nervous system.

As a guideline, women should aim for 1.2g protein per kg (ideal) body weight per day and men should aim for 1.5g protein per kg (ideal) body weight per day as a minimum. The best sources are lean organic meats, wild fish, and eggs. Vegetable sources such as nuts, seeds, soy products and quinoa are useful, but don’t supply the amino acids needed for new protein construction in the same proportion as animal based protein. Without some animal-based protein, I’ve seen wound healing delayed significantly!

Any stress, but especially the stress of surgery, increases free-radicals that can damage tissue and slow down healing.

Antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A, selenium, CoEnzymeQ10, and manganese provide protection against free-radical damage. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants, and patients should consume a minimum of three portions a day. It is also worth supplementing a quality antioxidant complex.
Foods high in refined sugar or with a high glycemic index such as high fructose corn syrup can alter immune function and promote inflammation and should be avoided.

One week before surgery:

Certain foods can interfere with anesthesia, bleeding time, immune function and healing time.

  • Omega 3s can increase bleeding time. Patients should either decrease intake of oily fish high or balance it with lean red meat, which has arachidonic acid and counteracts blood thinning.
  • Vitamins E, C, K, B, fish oils and all herbal supplements should all be stopped two weeks before surgery (including the multivitamin). This is especially important!
  • Green tea, cayenne, ginkgo, garlic, ginger, flaxseed, tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant may affect anesthesia or bleeding time. Please stop them.
  • Aspirin and all other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that thin the blood should not be taken.


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