What Should you eat before and After Surgery?

By Dr. Guru Prasad Painuly in General Surgery , Nutrition And Dietetics

Nov 08 , 2020 | 2 min read


Anytime our body undergoes an operation it’s being put under added stress.Why then, when it comes to surgery, we never prepare ourselves for that thought? 

Some truly emergency procedures are done to save a life while others are elective surgeries. Elective surgeries are a medical procedure that is scheduled by surgeons. Many of these procedures are done to replace a body part that is worn out, damaged or infected. And some doctors advise their patients to undergo preventative surgeries.

Our body requires more nutrients to recover from the surgery. A well nourished body is better equipped to handle surgery allowing the body to heal and recover quickly.

There are steps you can take to mitigate some of this stress to make your recovery as fast as possible.

Here’s what to eat before and after Surgery:


During a surgical procedure free radicals are released. Hence, it is important for you to consume foods that are rich in anti-oxidants before and after the surgery. Fruits are best enjoyed either raw or juiced and vegetables are often easier to digest when cooked. The objective is to consume as much as health giving foods before and after the surgery. Moreover, raw vegetable juices are very easy to digest and a make a good transition back to eating solid foods once you are back home after surgery.

Good sources of anti-oxidant rich foods include the following:

Allium sulphur compounds: Leeks, onions, garlic
Anthocyanins: Eggplant, grapes, berries
Beta carotene: Pumpkin, sweet potatoes/yams, mangoes, apricots, carrots, spinach, green leafy vegetables, lettuces, parsley
Cryptoxanthins: Red peppers, pumpkin, mangoes
Flavonoids: Tea, green tea, citrus fruits, onion, apples
Indoles: Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale
Lutein: leafy greens, spinach, kale, collard greens, green beans
Lycopene: Tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon
Manganese: Seafood, lean meat, milk, nuts
Polyphenols: Thyme, oregano, peppermint
Selenium: Seafood, lean meat
Vitamin C: Oranges, lemons, limes, berries, kiwi fruit, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, peppers
Vitamin E: nuts, avocados, seeds
Zinc: Seafood, lean meat, nuts


We all know that our body is made up of 80% water; therefore, the detoxification process relies on water to sweep away toxins and convert fat soluble nutrients to water soluble nutrients. Since our body is more on medications, it is important that to keep our liver hydrated before and after surgery so as to clear the unwanted substances from our body. It  is recommended that we should drink half of our blood volume of water per day, but if it difficult for people to stay without water, in that case begin you day with a glass or two and then just keep sipping water throughout the day. Always remember that filtered water is the best since there are several contaminates in tap water.

Easily digestible foods

Bone broths are excellent foods for anyone who is recovering immediately after surgery or who has any kind of serious health concern such as an autoimmune disease. Homemade bone broths contain collagen and gelatin that will provide relief from gastric ulcers so contains. They also contain glycine which will improve your digestion by increasing gastric acid secretion as well as avoiding the protein to break down in muscle. In addition to this, glycine also detoxifies the body and induces proper sleep. Bone Broths are a rich source amino acid called glutamine that is useful for healing small intestine and leaky GUT.