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Diet and recovery

There once was a time when the league of friends’ hospital shop would do a roaring trade in Lucozade and grapes. It was the standard fare with which you would arrive at the bedside of a family member or chum recuperating after surgery.

And there is nothing wrong with this, for a touch of nostalgia. However, here is some good advice from Katie Peck, the dietitian who supports Benenden Hospital’s weight loss service, for when it comes to maximising the changes of the best recovery following an operation. Katie is a health coach, nutritionist and dietitian and also runs Peck Nutrition.

Katie said first and foremost it is paramount to heed any advice of the team in the run up to the surgery. This will have been dished out in the pre-op assessment. These are the experts and it will be specific to you so do not disregard their guidance.

Next, she said: “This is important for everyone of course, but make some healthy choices in the two weeks beforehand – minimise stress, get lots of sleep, stay well hydrated, get some fresh air and eat well. Avoid takeaways, sugary and fatty foods and instead opt for three meals a day with a range of fruit and vegetables, dairy, healthy fats and protein.”

Katie Peck, Dietitian

Protein is an essential nutrient, responsible for multiple functions in your body, including building tissue, cells and muscle, as well as making hormones and anti-bodies. It is obvious to see why protein-rich foods such as turkey, chicken, fish and lean red meats would be wise, both before and after surgery.

Vitamin C helps improve the production of collagen - a consideration when good skin needs to be a focus. Raw capsicum peppers – the red, green, orange and yellow varieties from the supermarket - are an excellent choice.

And zinc promotes wound healing so go for spinach, pumpkin seeds and kiwi fruits to get your fix.

Katie added: “Drink lots of water or fruit juices diluted with water post-surgery and listen to and follow the advice of your surgical team. But you also know your body so go easy and chose foods you can tolerate. It may take a little while to rebuild your appetite. Lighter options may be best to start with, including soups.”

Katie specialises in caring for people going through weight loss surgeries.

Drink lots of water or fruit juices diluted with water post-surgery and listen to and follow the advice of your surgical team. But you also know your body so go easy and chose foods you can tolerate. It may take a little while to rebuild your appetite. Lighter options may be best to start with, including soups.”

Katie Peck, Dietitian

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