Surgeries are scary and they’re even scarier when you don’t know what to expect. Surgery is something that’s been around for centuries, but it’s still not a guaranteed recovery method. There are many factors that will determine how well you’ll heal from any surgical procedure. These can be anything from how well you respond to antibiotics, your overall health prior to surgery, how well you detox from anesthesia, and even the foods you eat post-op.

Many of the top trends in the pharmaceutical industry are focusing on doing studies on the impact of certain diets on health. They want to know how they can create better medications that lead to better outcomes. Binging on junk may make you feel better emotionally, but it will not do anything to help you recover. Here are some of the ways that the right foods help your body heal after a surgical procedure.

The Right Foods Boost Your Immune System

You need a healthy immune system after surgery. Your body goes through a lot when it gets cut open, and these foods are the perfect way to help you heal. Studies show that certain foods can help boost your immune system. These include tomatoes, green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens, and oranges. Citrus fruit juices are also beneficial along with other foods high in beta carotene such as carrots.

Turmeric root is a spice that has been coming into popularity in the West, but it’s actually been used for centuries to treat various ailments including fevers, and to fight infection.

Collagen Helps Promote New Tissue Development

Collagen is a protein that makes up the structural framework of your entire body, including bones, skin, and internal organs. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, accounting for nearly 25 percent of all proteins found in human tissue. Collagen helps promote new tissue development after surgery by restoring strength and flexibility to overworked muscles and other tissues. You can get collagen through bone broth, meats with the skin and fat, and powder supplements. Adding extra collagen is critical to give your tissues what it needs to seal up your incisions from surgery and help you recover more quickly.

Get Enough Calories

Getting enough calories is also important for your body’s healing process. The amount of calories you need depends on your age and activity level, but overall, it’s best to make sure you’re getting enough energy from food to get through the day. Post-op is not the time to think about cutting calories unless of course, you had gastric bypass surgery, in which case, you’ll be eating and drinking special items only.

Don’t Skimp on Protein

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding the latest “superfood” and its magical healing powers, but one thing you shouldn’t neglect is protein. Protein helps build muscle, which then helps heal your body after surgery. You can find it in fish and meat, two of the most important foods to eat while recovering from a procedure.

A healthy dose of protein will also help you recover faster because collagen is made with amino acids found in animal sources like beef or poultry. Collagen is vital for healing and repairing tissue, so make sure you don’t skimp on this macronutrient during recovery time.

Eat Foods That Have Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene is a form of vitamin A, which your body converts to active vitamin A in the liver. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that can help fight off free radicals that cause tissue damage and cancer. In addition to beta-carotene, you should try to eat foods that are rich in vitamin C, including citrus fruits and other berries. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron from food sources like red meat or beans.

Plan Ahead With Healthy Snacks

If you don’t feel like cooking, keep healthy snacks on hand. You don’t want to be tempted by unhealthy foods that can negatively affect your recovery. Instead of buying junk food, make sure there are treats like nuts and dried fruits in the house. Have a family member or friends help you prep a veggie tray with hummus if needed.

Eating well is vital to a healthy recovery from surgery. Your body needs proper nutrition in order to heal and recover properly. The right foods can help you heal faster, avoid complications, avoid infection, and even reduce the risk of depression. Healthy snacks and pre-made meals will help you with your goals and ensure that you enough of the good things that nourish your body.