Eating well and maintaining a balanced diet are crucial for your overall health, particularly when recovering from breast surgery. Even with all the recommended medication provided for you during the recovery process, any doctor will definitely agree with a healthy diet to greatly optimize your healing. Keep in mind that each individual’s needs can vary, so it’s essential to seek personalized guidance from your doctor or a nutritionist. Essentially, this is more a general guide to have an idea of what it means to have a healthy diet for recovery and is by no means a mandate on what you should do.
The Power of Protein
One of the most crucial food groups in recovery is protein. Not only is it a crucial nutrient for healing and rebuilding tissues after surgery, it is also an important source of amino acids which are essential to many other bodily functions that tie back to your healing. You’ll be surprised to know that a lot of people are actually undereating when it comes to protein. Modern day food has been largely focused on simplified carbohydrates.
To measure your protein intake, just multiply 0.36 to your bodyweight in pounds. For example, a woman that weighs 120 lbs will need 43.2 grams of protein a day. Have a gram weighing scale ready to help you estimate that amount of protein. You don’t really need to hit it exactly at that amount but getting a feel of what that amount of protein is on a daily basis will eventually get you on a habit that won’t require a food weighing scale all the time.
Helpful tip: Plan your meals around your protein sources to ensure that you are getting enough throughout the day.
The Habit of Hydration
Sometimes, people will take for granted just how important a healthy intake of water is. We know we hear it a lot that drinking a certain number of glasses of water will keep you healthy. What you might not know is why water is essential for your recovery. Our tissues going through multiple developments in our body require water. Dehydrated tissues will slow down the process of healing and will also prevent the normal functions in your body. Did you know that being dehydrated can also lead to low blood pressure, lethargy and other complications?
Helpful tip: Track your drinking using a water bottle that you can bring around with you. You can also use an app to remind you about your drinking volume. Spreading out how much you drink throughout the day is better than trying to finish the volume goal at the end of the day.
Fruits and Veggies for Variety and Vitamins
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are essential for healing and overall health. Aim for at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, focusing on a variety of colors to maximize nutrient intake.
Helpful Tip: Pre-cut fruits and vegetables and store them in your refrigerator for easy access. You can also blend them into smoothies for a nutritious and convenient snack.
There’s Such Thing as Good Fat
Back in the 80s and 90s fat was considered something that was bad. It was a very simple logic that the media proliferated: you eat fat, you get fat. Today modern nutritional studies have shown that excessive calorie intake is the main culprit behind obesity! Not only is it good to eat fat, you actually need healthy fats in your diet that help with vitamin absorption and inflammation reduction!
You can find good fats in olive oil, avocado, mixed nuts and fish.
Helpful tip: replace your chips and junk food snacks with fun amounts of mixed nuts. Instead of eating sugary treats, snack on healthy nuts (Preferably not coated with chocolate or other sugary layers)
Sugar Is The Enemy
Unfortunately this is in fact the most difficult habit to break when it comes to your diet. When your tissues have gone through some form of destruction or tear, the last thing you want is the inflammation in that area to exacerbate. Multiple studies have shown how sugary products can trigger inflammation in the body.
You will find that a low to zero sugar diet can impact your life greatly. While weight-loss is one of the main benefits, your recovering tissues will also see significant improvement because of the lowered inflammation through your improved diet. Aside from just preventing inflammatory response, you are also preventing bad bacteria from growing in your body. These bad bacteria usually feed on sugar and eventually develop to become diseases that may interfere with your healing process.
Helpful tip:Replace instead of avoid. It is difficult to let go of something that makes us feel good when we eat it so looking for alternatives can help with the shift to a low-sugar diet. Instead of white rice, have cauliflower rice. Instead of white sugar, you can use stevia as a sweetener.
Trust Your Gut
This might be one of the more underestimated aspects of health: your gut microbiome. Good bacteria is necessary for our body to be healthy. Eating a variety of vegetables actually feeds the good bacteria. You may have heard their more popular name: probiotics. Taking probiotic supplements is also known to help with the healing process through improved wound-healing, sepsis prevention, and even improved immunity.
Helpful tip: Probiotic supplements are the easy way to have a healthy strain of good bacteria in your body. You can also enjoy delicious probiotic drinks that are fun to consume.
For Everything Else, Supplement
As much as we want to eat a very balanced diet, the reality is that there are times we don’t have enough variety of food to really fulfill all the vitamins and minerals that our body needs on a daily basis. For that, it is helpful to have a multivitamin supplement while bearing in mind these are what they are made for: supplements and not replacements.