Eat Well to Heal Well after Breast Reconstruction
By: Courtney Floyd
Breast reconstruction is a journey—part of which is a period of healing. Lots of rest, proper wound care, and support are all essential during your healing process. But did you know diet can play a huge role in your healing journey?
After breast reconstruction surgery, especially surgery involving tissue flap transfers, your body requires more protein than normal to heal. Your body will be working hard to fight off infections, repair cells, and heal incisions. High protein foods such as turkey, fish, and cheese are good items to incorporate into your diet. You can also increase your intake of protein by adding protein powder to a morning smoothie or milk and eating high protein snacks like almond and peanuts.
Drinking lots of water is also important in your healing process. Water is responsible for every action in your body. This includes transportation of nutrients, digestion, and absorption of the things our bodies need to heal. By drinking more water, you will reduce your risk of side effects while on pain medication (such as constipation) and you can decrease your risk of infection.
It is important to eliminate caffeine from your diet for at least three weeks after your surgery. Caffeine may be a hard habit to kick, but will be well worth it for healing. Caffeine can cause dehydration which could slow your healing process and increase your risk of constipation associated with pain medication. Caffeine has also been known to increase anxiety, irritability, and cause nausea.
As with any diet recommendations, fruits and vegetables should be consumed on a daily basis. The more colorful your diet the better! Fruits and vegetables provide your body with many vitamins essential or healing and fighting infections.