The role of protein on post-surgery recovery

Your nutrition status, before and after surgery, plays an important role in your body's recovery.

Every type of surgery, unexpected or elective, is a trauma to one's body and requires healing and recovery. After surgery there is also an increased risk of infection, falls, decreased mobility, weight loss or weight gain. Adequate nutrition, especially protein, can help prevent these negative side effects and improve your recovery time.

The role of protein on post-surgery recovery

It is common for people to lose their appetite after surgery, making it difficult to meet daily protein requirements. Image: Pexels

Pre-surgery protein requirements and benefits:

In instances where surgical patients are malnourished, prior to surgery, patients would have a higher risk of mortality, complications, prolonged hospital stay as well as delayed rehabilitation.  Adequate protein should begin approximately 4 weeks prior to surgery. The recommended amount to guarantee adequate protein prior to surgery is a protein intake of at least 1.2 g per 2 lbs of body weight.

Post-surgery protein requirements and benefits:

Protein requirements increase during the post-surgical recovery phase. Your ability to meet their protein needs are a good predictor of how well someone will recover. Post operatively, protein has an important role in helping to replace blood losses, repair damaged body tissues, improve muscle health, recover strength, accelerate the healing process and enhance your immune system to prevent inflammations or infections.

Standard recommendations on post-surgery protein requirements are between 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per 2 lbs of body weight. These recommendations may vary depending on your age, sex or lifestyle.

What type of protein is the best for post-surgery?

Good protein sources include lean poultry, fish and seafood, nuts, legumes and seeds. Red meats may trigger inflammation, so cut back on fatty red meats.  Consider nuts, tofu, beans and vegetarian foods, such as tempeh and textured vegetable protein (TVP) to supplement your protein needs. Dairy products are also a source of protein, but they can cause constipation, and are recommended in moderation.

Whey protein contains an incredible range of essential amino acids that are absorbed quickly. Numerous studies have demonstrated that it can help you increase strength and gain muscle. Whey protein has also been shown to help with wound healing. Your body uses collagen protein to repair tissue and rebuild cartilage. This is excellent for healing surgical wounds.

 

Lack of appetite: the important role of protein drinks & supplements after surgery

It is common for people to lose their appetite after surgery, making it difficult to meet daily protein requirements.

Protein drinks and shakes can be a quick and easy way to supplement your needs.

Vidafuel dietitians developed our Wellness Protein to help people boost their daily protein in the easiest way possible. Vidafuel Wellness Protein provides a whopping 16g of protein and all 20 amino acids in a 2oz liquid shot!

  • Vidafuel Wellness contains a powerful, high quality protein blend of whey + collagen protein
  • Vidafuel contains all 9 essential branched-chain amino acids(BCAAs).  BCAA's promote muscle protein growth and reduce protein breakdown.
  • Vidafuel Wellness is only 90 calories per serving and less than 5g of fructose per serving without any artificial sweeteners.

 

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