Best Foods to Eat Before Surgery


Eating healthy is always an important goal, but it’s especially important right before a surgery! Foods that boost the immune system will help speed up your recovery time and get you back on your feet. Here are a few guidelines on how to manage your diet before you head to the operating room.


Stock Up On Antioxidants: This one probably comes as no surprise! In terms of the immune system, antioxidants counteract the harmful effects of free radicals, which are naturally produced in the bloodstream when the body turns food into energy. Free radicals are also released in the body during a surgery, which is why stocking up on antioxidant-rich foods is so important. Try incorporating foods such as grapes, cranberries, spinach, tomatoes, carrots and peanuts into your diet!

Potatoes Are Your New Best Friend: Solanaceous glycoalkaloids, otherwise known as SGA’s, may not be as widely-known as antioxidants, but this natural compound has been found to slow the metabolism of anaesthetics and muscle relaxants in the body. This means that consuming SGAs, which are found in potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants, will help wear off the effects of surgical drugs faster and therefore decrease recovery time. Pro-tip: when it comes to potatoes, the greener the skin, the higher the levels of SGA’s will be.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: The human body is comprised of 80% water, so it makes sense that hydration would be a key component to preparing for a surgery. Water not only helps convert fat soluble nutrients into water soluble nutrients, but also helps the body flush out the post-op meds processed through the liver.

Avoid Blood-Thinning Foods: Your physician will likely advise you to abstain from pain medications in the days leading up to your surgery. This is because pain meds, such as aspirin, contain salicylates, which thin the blood and prevent clots. However, this is something you don’t want in the operating room, as your blood stream’s ability to clot can be life-saving during surgery. Salicylates are also naturally-occurring in some foods and should be avoided, or cut down on, before a procedure. These foods include: apricots, pineapples, plums, olives and almonds.

Keep it light: Your final meal before surgery should be comprised of easily digestible foods. Skip the fat and fibre in favor of fruits, veggies and non-starchy vegetables. Also steer clear of dairy products, spicy foods or anything else that will impact your digestive system.

Following a healthy, targeted diet before a surgery is crucial to easing recovery, shortening time in the hospital and getting back on your feet! Ask your healthcare professionals for tips on what to eat before your procedure.  

We are not qualified medical professionals and are simply trying to aggregate information that may be relevant to you at this time - if you have any questions or concerns about your diet, you should speak to your doctor.