Facing an invasive medical procedure is no joke. Even routine surgeries have their risks and complications, so it makes perfect sense to do everything in your own power to ensure a complication-free experience with the quickest recovery possible. Here are some tips to prepare your body and mind for the best and fastest recovery from surgery.
Two Weeks Before
To strengthen your body’s immune system and turbo-charge your healing ability, you can make some dietary adjustments in the weeks prior to your surgery.
Increase your protein intake, especially with whey protein. Whey contains a rich blend of branch chain amino acids that accelerate healing and recovering, and also precursors to glutathione—a major antioxidant. Glutathione helps the liver detoxify after exposure to anesthesia and other pain medications. Aim for 20-40 grams of whey per day, taken first thing in the morning and again right before bed.
Support your adrenal glands by eating zinc and vitamin A rich foods. Lean protein, eggs, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, carrots, and dark leafy greens are all great options. Try to make it to bed by 10 p.m. each night to achieve the most restorative sleep that will nourish your adrenals and fortify your immune system.
Start taking a probiotic to support the healthy bacteria in your body that can be compromised by antibiotic therapy during surgery. Having a good amount of normal flora will protect you against nosocomial infections and complications like Candida overgrowth. Look for a probiotic with about 50,000 CFUs per serving, with a diverse list of strains.
One Week Before
The week prior to surgery is a good time to discontinue aspirin and any herbal supplements, especially those containing ginko biloba or St. John’s wort. This is to prevent any difficulty with blood clotting.
Adopt a meditation routine during which you visualize yourself full of health and vitality. Even just 5 minutes per day of healthy imagery can kick-start the cascade of healing and restoration inside your body, and help achieve the fastest recovery possible.
Two Days Before
Drink lots of water to hydrate your bodily tissues and promote detoxification. Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water during the day. For instance, a person weighing 160 pounds should drink about 80 ounces of water each day.
Organize your surroundings and make a plan for a comfortable return from the hospital. You will be much more at ease to know that the plants are watered, mail will be collected, and pets will be fed while you’re away.
The less stress you experience, the better, as stress raises cortisol levels and has a suppressing effect on the immune system and healing centers. So treat yourself to relaxing pursuits as you prepare for surgery- enjoy warm bubble baths, peaceful music, and your favorite nourishing foods.