Scheduled for surgery? What you eat in the weeks before the procedure may have a substantial influence on the outcome. If you make smart choices, you'll slash your risk for complications from anesthesia and postoperative infection, nerve and tissue damage, and even heart attack.
Overweight and obese people - that's 60 percent of U.S. adults - have poorer outcomes from any medical procedure. Why? Cutting through fatty tissue triggers a major inflammatory response throughout your body, and the more fat you're packing, the greater the inflammation. But in the weeks before surgery, if you cut calories and reduce the amount of saturated fat you eat (from four-legged animals and poultry skin, plus palm and coconut oils), you may cool existing inflammation and make a better recovery.
The plan: Surgery more than a month away? Give yourself a total exercise and food makeover: Step out daily - heading for 10,000 steps a day. Trouble walking? Try water exercises. Next, eliminate the five food felons from your diet: added sugar, sugar syrups, all trans fats, most saturated fats and any grain that isn't 100 percent whole. Stick with fish, skinless poultry and lots of veggies and fruits. Our guidelines provide 15 percent to 20 percent of your daily calories from healthful omega fatty acids - specifically, omega-3, -7 and -9.
If surgery is less than a month away, try to reduce your fat intake (no saturated or trans) to around 10 percent to 15 percent of your total calories until after the procedure. Then, as soon as you can get walking, start your long-term makeover.