Post Heart Surgery Diet: Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid

After having open heart surgery it’s extremely important to eat the right foods so that you can give your body the nutrients it needs to recover.  But what foods are best for recovering heart surgery patients? There’s a lot of confusion over what you should and shouldn’t be eating after your surgery, so lets’ take a look at the most important foods to avoid and the best foods to include in your post surgery diet.

produce stand

1. Avoid saturated fats and processed foods.

Processed and sugary foods are definitely on the list of foods to avoid. Not only do they lack any health benefits whatsoever, they also contain harmful trans fats and other things like high fructose corn syrup that contribute to obesity, which can put further strain on your heart. Try to keep the fat content of your diet to less than 30% of your daily caloric intake.

2. Reduce your sodium intake.

Cardiovascular patients should consume no more than 2,000 milligrams of salt per day to avoid excess fluid retention in the body, which causes an increase in the stress on the heart. Depending on your situation, your heart surgeon may recommend that you go even lower. The good news is that if you stop eating processed foods you’ll be cutting the primary source of sodium in most people’s diet, so limiting your sodium intake should not be too difficult if you are following step 1.

3. Include heart healthy foods in your diet.

Doctors recommend that you include fish as a staple in your diet since it contains lots of heart-healthy omega 3 fats. Oily fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines in particular are packed with beneficial nutrients.

salmon fillet

You should also include a wide variety of vegetables in your diet, especially vegetables high in B vitamins, folate, and fiber such as:

  • Asparagus
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Leafy greens

Since red meat is a leading culprit of saturated fats, focus on including lean sources of protein in your diet such as:

  • Poultry
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Low fat dairy products

Diet is an important part of your overall well-being, and becomes a key factor in your recovery after heart surgery. To learn more about heart surgery and recovery, call (702) 737-3808 to speak to the qualified cardiovascular surgeons at Cardiovascular Surgery of Southern Nevada.

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