What to Eat After Tummy Tuck

Light meal first night after surgery

One of the primary worries that a lot of people who get abdominoplasty- colloquially known as a tummy tuck- done have is the worry about their diet changing. The good news is that your diet will not be at risk of having a permanent change.Unfortunately, however, there is going to have to be some degree of change while you’re still feeling the effects of the recovery period, so it’s best to take into consideration these changes before the surgery so that you can prepare for the period of rehabilitation that will follow it. Start with the first meal after the surgery- preferably, something light, low in fat or sugar, and rich in nutrients, zinc, and protein. 

Food you should eat during your recovery period

While the necessary ingredients for the right diet following your abdominoplasty surgery is highly variable, taking into account factors like individual physiology, personal diet preceding the surgery, and health prior to the procedure, and should be discussed with your surgeon and physician before getting on the surgical table, there are some standard rules which are more or less universal. Among these are, of course, foods to avoid, and foods which should be included in your regular diet during recuperation.


Perhaps one of the most obvious inclusions to the list of foodstuffs which you should be imbibing during this trying time is something which should already be a staple of a healthy diet, and is necessary for the upkeep of more or less every bodily function which exists- water. Being hydrated is more essential during times of recovery than ever, because of its ability to stimulate much of the body’s critical systems, and can slow down or even completely halt the body’s natural healing processes. 


Any doctor worth his salt can expound at great length upon the remedial powers of fruit. After all, they’re notorious for being shy of apples. In all seriousness, fruit is an absolutely essential element in the diet of a recovering patient of abdominoplasty, because of the health benefits conferred by each variety of this food pyramid staple. Bananas are a bountiful well of potassium, oranges and other citrus fruits contain a lot of Vitamin C and Vitamin B1, and grapes have been known to be an incredible antioxidant.  


There is a reason that parents across the globe have spent generations trying to get kids to eat their vegetables- the stuff is filled with useful health boosts which can be an important part of revitalizing the body’s systems following an intense medical procedure like abdominoplasty. A good salad goes a long way to both healing and galvanizing the various anatomical structures which compose the body, so consider including them as a crucial part of your diet following your procedure. 

Protein Rich Foods

While massive flanks of meat aren’t necessarily the image that is typically conjured when one uses the phrase “diet”, it’s not a far cry from an important part of post-tummy tuck provisions- large deposits of protein are a must for any recovering patient. While sitting down to a Filet Mignon and some risotto isn’t altogether necessary, consider investing in some protein-rich foods which meet other criteria. Beans, peanut butter, eggs and Chia seeds are all optimal solutions to ensuring a protein rich diet. 


Vitamins are one of the building blocks of the human body, and despite how commonly the phrase is thrown around in medical parlance, people often fail to understand exactly the role that vitamins play in the production and recuperation of the body. Vitamins are materials- specifically, organic chemical compounds- found in lots of food that, working in congress with minerals, do everything from break down food to boost your immune system and repair cell damage. As a result, vitamin-rich food is necessary for a recovering surgical patient. 


You probably most closely associate zinc with exceedingly expensive water that’s found in a health food market, but there are sources of zinc in all sorts of regular food, and is a crucial Element (see what I did there?) in a recovering patient, for the boost it gives to an immune system. Whole grains, dairy products, oysters, red meat, beans, chickpeas, and nuts all contain a wealth of the stuff, and should probably be incorporated into your post-surgery diet anyway. 


Carbohydrates are, incongruously enough, most commonly associated in the common zeitgeist, as one of the primary causes of developing excess fat. While technically speaking, this is true, the real cause of excess fat is consuming more energy than you use, and fat contains far more calories relative to carbohydrates, so carbohydrates shouldn’t really be avoided, per se. In fact, they can have a number of beneficial effects. They stimulate the kidneys, the muscular system, and the central nervous system- all necessary for your body’s healing. 

Foods you shouldn’t eat during recovery

Of course, with a laundry list of foods that should be your primary source of caloric intake during the time of rehabilitation you’ll be enjoying for the next few weeks comes an equally lengthy list of food which should be avoided. Foods high in sugar or fat, alcohol, processed foods, and all manner of the stuff that you were warned about but ate anyway when you were a child have once again become the boogeyman of the dietary world, and should be shunned like the plague while recovering from your tummy tuck. 

Foods high in sugar

Of course, sugar is at the top of the no-no list, and while there’s all of the usual reasons for that- it’s bad for your teeth, it can wear down your pancreas, high blood pressure, all of the usual problems that the sticky stuff can create, the real issue here is increased weight gain and a higher risk of developing fatty liver disease- a real issue when you’re already trying to battle problems brought on by an intensive medical procedure like abdominoplasty. Best to avoid foods high in sugar entirely, really. 

Foods high in Sodium

This one is probably a no-brainer, but sodium rich foods are really something to be avoided while in the period of rehabilitation following your treatment- sodium, the primary chemical ingredient in salt, can be a real burden on your heart because of the increase in blood pressure that comes from eating too much of it. As a result, it’s a big one on the list of illicit materials for your diet. 


This one probably shouldn’t be a surprise, but one should really avoid alcohol as much as possible while still in recovery. There are often a number of decriers that have always touted the supposed medical benefits of wine, and while there are some medically beneficial truths to drinking a glass (or two) a day, such as microbiome and cardiovascular benefits, these can ultimately be obtained just as well from drinking grape juice, or even grapes themselves- something which was already on the good list. 


It is difficult to express exactly how bad soda can really be for you, but take it on faith that it should definitely be kept at arm’s length by somebody recuperating following abdominoplasty- or really any gastrointestinal- surgery. Its high level of sugar- the risks of which have already been discussed- and the carbonation have both been linked by a number of studies to an unhealthy cardiovascular system, and increased risk of stroke. Just avoid soda. It’s easier for all involved. 

Processed Foods

While this wouldn’t really have been a problem in more ancient times, we live, for better or worse, in a modern era. As a result, processed foods are everywhere- from the parmesan we put on our spaghetti to the supposedly grain-based cereals we eat in the morning which may have been grown in a lab. The fact of the matter is, a lot of food nowadays is processed, and this stuff isn’t great for keeping your body in as fit a state as possible. If you want to recover, look up a list of foods in your pantry which may be processed and try to buy organic alternatives. It’s better for the environment, and you. 


This should go without saying, but for the Love of your new body, stop smoking, if you are. Cigarettes aren’t just nasty, they’re also hugely damaging to your body’s foundational structures, and have been linked to Heart Disease, Lung Disease, emphysema, bronchitis, and countless other medical detriments. If you’re smoking now, try to stop before your treatment, and if you’ve already had your treatment and are still smoking, do everything in your power to stop. It could slow down your recovery to a crawl. 

Fatty Foods

Maybe it’s a little redundant to tell people who just had a procedure to remove fat that they should probably avoid foods which are high in fat, but it’s best to have all bases covered. If you haven’t already put it together, foodstuffs which have a particularly high fat content, like pork products (or most red meat, really), tropical oils like coconut or palm oil, dairy products which are known for high fat contents like whole milk and butter, and curiously enough avocados are all best left off the menu following your surgery.

Follow a healthy diet after surgery

While it’s especially important to keep to these strictures of a healthy diet during your recovery period, it really wouldn’t kill you to adhere to it after your rehabilitation has ended, as well. It’s best, always, to keep a healthy diet in order to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle, as it’s been linked to higher rates of happiness, career success, and longer life. If you manage to build up a good habit of eating healthy foods while you’re still recovering, that habit will stick with you after your recuperation, and provide you with a better life than you had before your treatment. 

Be sure to follow your doctor’s specific instructions

At the beginning of this article, it was stressed how the individual factors surrounding one’s specific physiology and medical needs. This is still absolutely true. Everyone has different requirements for their recovery process, and the rules set out for you by your physician and surgeon take the top priority. When in doubt, listen to your doctor and follow their specific instructions to the letter. 

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