Nutrition

Eating a balanced diet and keeping a healthy body weight will help to minimise the risks.

Being over or underweight can increase the risk of issues when having your surgery.

Over-processed foods can increases can cause inflammation and they don’t have the micro-nutrients our bodies need.

How do I improve my diet?

Many people struggle with having a balanced diet. This might be due to life or work pressure, existing medical conditions, or habits.

Here are some things you should try to do to achieve a balanced and healthy diet:

  • Eat five or more portions of vegetables/fruit a day. These provide fibre, minerals, and vitamins to help keep you healthy.
  • Eat at least two portions of protein a day. This includes meat, dairy, beans, Quorn and tofu. Protein is needed to help build muscle and heal your body.
  • Eat starchy carbohydrates. This includes potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, and cereals. Carbohydrates provide energy for your body to function.
  • Try to avoid processed foods where possible. These foods are not as good for you as the real thing because of the processes they have gone through.
  • Please seek help if you have any problems that cause you a poor intake of food and drink such as swallowing, mouth or teeth problems.
  • Try to limit the fat and sugar you eat – but do not cut them completely.
  • Have a healthy BMI in the range of 20-25kg/m².
  • Eat regular meals; some people prefer smaller more frequent meals
  • Avoid sugary drinks and snacks
  • Eat the right portion size for you – using smaller plates may help with this
  • Plan your meals to include cooking fresh and healthy foods where possible
  • Choose nutritious foods that are tasty to you
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol you have, as this contains lots of calories – and sugar!

There are many reasons to have a healthy diet. The foods you chose to eat can cause or add to medical issues. This could be obesity, high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes. These conditions can cause short and long-term issues for your health before surgery.

Healthy eating is not just about what you eat but it is a large part of it. Carbohydrates are not bad for you. They are important for giving your body energy.

Eating too many carbs can lead to leftover energy turning to fat, leading to weight gain.

It is an old saying but everything in moderation! Finding the balance takes time when it comes to good eating habits. These habits will help you both physically and mentally. You will have more energy and motivation in the day. It will also improve your wellbeing too.

A well-balanced and healthy diet can be a real benefit when having surgery. A good amount of protein (meat, eggs and fish) can help you heal quicker. Lower levels of salt can help you maintain a healthy heart. These will all help with your healing process.

Remember that moderation is the key to success!

Some additional sources of help are:

  • The NHS Eat Well website has some helpful information
  • The British Dietetic Association, the body which represents dietitians in the UK, has a wealth of resources with advice on healthy nutrition
  • Your GP may be able to refer you to a community dietitian service for help with your diet
  • Some hospital patients are eligible for hospital dietitian support