The 5 Best Healing Foods to Eat After Surgery

Mar 14, 2022

ProActive Physical Therapy

by ProActive Physical Therapy

Stocking up on the right healing foods to eat after surgery can be beneficial in helping your body recover quicker. If you’re planning an upcoming surgery, read on to learn more about foods that help with faster healing, minimizing swelling, bruising, and inflammation. Prior to surgery, plan out some balanced meals with these ideas and prep them ahead, or at least pull together a grocery list for your caretaker.

Dark, Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens are vital to helping your body get the nutrition it needs—and are one of the most suggested healing foods to eat after surgery. Try adding greens to your plate as a salad or even sneak them into your morning smoothie—however, you do it—you’ll get a dose of vitamin A, C, E, and K.

Some options for leafy greens:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Mustard greens
  • Swiss chard


Another top healing food to eat after surgery is lean protein. Following surgery, your body requires a high amount of protein and iron, as your muscles have been potentially damaged, moved, or manipulated throughout the surgery. Protein will help repair those muscles.

Some protein options are:

  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Legumes
  • Nuts

Whole Grains

Complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, can provide rich amounts of nutrients, which in return support your body’s immune system. They also provide fiber which can prevent constipation while recovering from surgery.

Example whole-grain options:

  • Wild Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Steel Cut Oats

Fresh Fruit

Need a little sweetness in your diet? Fresh fruit is a top healing food to eat after surgery—especially brightly colored fruit, which typically has Vitamin A, C, fiber, and antioxidants. Enjoy fresh fruit as an afternoon snack or in your smoothie to reap the post-surgical benefits.

Example fruits are:

  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Mango
  • Berries

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Healthy Fats

Especially after completing surgery, healthy fat can help absorb vitamins and is essential for strengthening your immune system and your chance for an infection.

Healthy fats to consider:

  • Avocados
  • Coconut Oil
  • Nuts/Seeds


Proper nutrition is the main component of healing after surgery. If you’re looking for healing foods to eat after surgery, check out our Pinterest board full of meal and snack ideas. Along with proper nutrition, it’s also important to stay properly hydrated, so make sure to have your caretaker monitor your water intake. If you have any questions on nutrition, hydration, or scheduling physical therapy after your surgery, contact us today!

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