Why do we swell when we undergo a surgical procedure? Is it common? And how may we prevent it from getting in the way of our expected results? Swelling, is not uncommon after undergoing a surgery. Many times swelling occurs after surgery especially when the patient spends a lot of time in bed.
Nearly any surgery can result in bruising and swelling, which is a normal way in which your body protects itself after physical trauma. While there is no “cure,” both doctors and patients take steps to minimize the effects of swelling for a faster overall recovery.
What Causes Swelling After Surgery?
- Hormonal imbalance as a result of prolonged stress experienced by the patient while undergoing a major surgery.
- Lymphatic obstruction is the commonest cause of swelling after surgery. If the lymph vessels are damaged, the drainage of lymph fluid is affected, resulting into accumulation of fluid in the dependent tissue.
- A patient remaining in bed for a prolonged period of time after surgery can develop swelling.
How to treat swelling?
Swelling after a surgery occurs to increase blood supply to the affected body part, thus bringing extra nutrients to promote healing. However swelling needs to be controlled. There are natural solutions to swelling.
The Plastic Surgery Diet for swelling
We give you some tips for minimizing swelling with a good diet, for better post-op results.
What to eat? These foods promote healing and decrease swelling.
- Omega-3 fats such as extra-virgin olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, fish oil, walnut and walnut oil, flax and flaxseed oil, and hempseed and hempseed oil.
- Eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Especially dark leafy greens and blueberries. Doctors will also tell you to eat capers, red onions, pineapples and apples to help the swelling go down faster. Broccoli and salmon are also anti-inflammatory.
- Spinach is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory foods. It’s rich in antioxidant nutrients, including beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, and the trace mineral copper. Spinach, is a natural immunity booster and is known to reduce inflammation.
- Eggs are very rich in the antioxidant trace mineral selenium, which has demonstrated to reduce post-surgery swelling and promote recovery. Egg yolks also contain the amino acids methionine and cysteine. These amino acids are known to reduce inflammation, reduce pain, and support post-surgery healing.
- Spice up your meals with garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, cloves, nutmeg, and cayenne.
The active substances in pineapples and aforementioned foods are bromelain and quercetin.
- Bromelain is derived from the stem of pineapples. It’s an enzyme that has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show it helps reduce bruising and swelling.
- Quercetin is found in fruits with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Foods with high amounts of quercetin include: apples, capers, citrus fruit, red onion, and leafy green vegetables. It helps reduce swelling.
What to avoid?
- Refined carbs such as flours, sugars and other foods that are high on the glycemic index.
- Omega-6 fats, found in corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut and soybean oils
- Avoid trans fats at all costs. All experts agree that trans fats are truly unhealthy. They are found in pastries, cakes, margarine among other foods.
Which supplements to take to reduce the risk of inflammation
- Vitamin A. This is an antioxidant that is naturally present in whole milk, liver, and some fortified foods. Beta-carotene, present in carrots, is a provitamin found in many colorful vegetables that your body can convert to vitamin A.
- Vitamin B6 is found in foods like vegetables, beef, turkey, and fish. Vitamin B6 is water-soluble which means it is flushed out of your body so daily intake is recommended.
- Vitamin C, found in bell peppers, kiwis, oranges, and other citrus fruits play a major role in post-surgery healing. Studies indicate this vitamin has some anti-inflammatory benefits. One large (yellow) bell pepper contains over 500% of a daily recommended amount of vitamin C.
- Studies show that curcumin, present in the turmeric spice, is highly anti-inflammatory. It is so potent that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs. Apart from being one of the most health boosting herbs known to man. The curcumin content in turmeric is low, about 3%. In order to take curcumin levels equal to those used in clinical studies, you should take an extract.
- Vitamin D, known for its bone strengthening properties also protects against inflammation. Vitamin D is found in liver fish, beef, egg yolks, and some fortified foods.