There was a time when the night before a surgery was filled with as many “hangry” stomach growls as it was anxiety pains, since the need to fast before surgery was standard practice. But now experts at Abbott recognize that allowing patients to eat before surgery and engage in nutritional eating after surgery can help reduce the risks for a speedier recovery.
One of the best methods for pre- and post-surgery is juicing. But not all juices are created equal when it comes to providing essential vitamins and minerals needed for a faster recovery. For Ivie Gonsalves, owner of Ivie Juice Bar, offering juice combinations that are not only healthy and delicious but helpful in recovery is one of her favorite topics.
If you are preparing for an elective surgery, here are four handy (and healthy) tips to better prepare you for the experience.
1.Watch your sugar intake.
Nutrition is important, but the source of that energy makes a big difference. “Just like you wouldn’t fast before a big race, you want to prepare your body to have the strength and energy needed for a major procedure,” says Christina Sherry, PhD., a registered dietician and scientist at Abbott.
For an ideal juice blend, Gonsalves suggests vegetable-based juices. “If you’re about to go into surgery, you don’t want to spike your blood sugar, so green juices keep your blood sugar levels down,” says Gonsalves. Celery and cucumber-based juices are great options.
2. Build up immune system.
Experts say that surgical stress can weaken your immune system, and this makes you prone to infection. The solution? Grab a serving of ginger juice. “Take a ginger shot if you are getting sick,” says Gonsalves. “Anything with a high vitamin C content like strawberries, watermelon, and oranges is great for combatting infection.”
3. Break down inflammation.
Ginger is a great choice for controlling inflammation, as well. “It is also good at calming down the body before or after surgery,” says Gonsalves. Studies by Krishna c. Srivastava, MD., who specializes in the therapeutic effects of spices, show that ginger was superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Tylenol or Advil in blocking the formation of inflammatory compounds like prostaglandins and leukotrienes, and has antioxidant properties that break down existing inflammation and acidity in the fluid within the joints.
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4. Prepare for rehab.
Some people will tell you the surgery was easy–it was the rehab that was torture, so any remedy that can help the rehabilitation process along is welcome. “I swear by green juices,” says Gonsalves. “They will beat out anything because they are better for you in the long run.” She recommends juice blends with kale, cucumber, or celery.
The important thing to remember is that you are going to be the best advocate for the ideal pre- and post-surgery process. “If you or a family member are going in for surgery, discuss with your doctor how nutrition can help jumpstart the healing process and get you back to your life and daily activities,” says Sherry.
This article was originally published by the Daily Herald.