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The 'Plastic Surgery Diet' Can Improve Surgical Healing

I know what you’re thinking; not another fad diet!? Unlike the diets we hear about all over the media, this one is different. This is the ideal diet to follow, before and after surgery, because it is easy to stick with and promotes healing, decreases swelling, bloating and inflammation.

For many surgical procedures including tummy tucks, reaching an ideal weight beforehand enhances the final result. Weight loss prior to surgery has a positive impact on procedures such as, facelifts, breast enhancement and reduction. Contrary to popular belief, liposuction is not a weight loss tool, and if a more sculptured body or slimmer look is desired then liposuction, on its own, will not achieve this. Diet and exercise beforehand will give the best results. It is best to reach your ideal goal to improve surgical results.

This diet should be enhanced by an exercise routine that burns calories and firms muscle. Swelling or inflammation is the body’s way of protecting itself or reacting to a trauma. For example, a sprained ankle, during sport, will lead to significant swelling to the injured area as the body increases its blood supply, promoting healing by providing added nutrients. A similar reaction occurs after surgery as the body increases blood flow to the surgical site. Too much swelling, however, can hinder the healing so it needs to be controlled. Using cold compresses and compression garments can reduce inflammation as can a healthy diet prior to and after surgery.

What does the diet consist of?


It is a variation of the Mediterranean diet, a combination if choosing foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. This is a popular choice for our patients and is a diet we advocate to promote surgical healing. The key principles are eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and lots of fish. As you may or may not be aware, eating unhealthy fats increases inflammation whilst eating healthy fats decrease it. Processed foods should also be reduced or eliminated from your diet. Depending on your size and exercise routine, limit yourself to 2,000 – 3,000 calories per day. Weight loss can be slow but steady, but with this approach, you are more likely to keep the weight off and maintain it.

Listed below are 10 easy steps to a healthy but delicious diet.

  • Avoid deep fried foods, trans-fat, saturated fats and margarine to eliminate unhealthy fat intake.
  • Using extra virgin olive oil, walnut or flaxseed oils to increase your intake of healthy monounsaturated oils.
  • Eat plenty of whole grains. Brown rice and bulgur wheat. Quinoa is also a delicious and healthy substitute.
  • Eliminate the unhealthy “white” carbs. Avoid refined flours, sugars, white rice and foods high on glycaemic index. (The GI tells us whether a food raises blood glucose levels and at what speed)
  • Avoid refined and processed foods. In fact eliminating processed foods altogether will show a significant difference.
  • Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables which are high in antioxidants. Blueberries, strawberries, prunes, raspberries and dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and broccoli. 5 to 7 portions a day is ideal.
  • Cut back on the salt and spice it up instead. Use more anti-inflammatory herbs and spices for seasoning i.e. curry, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, garlic, cinnamon and onions.
  • Eat lean protein sources like chicken and turkey. Reduce red meat (limit to a maximum of two portions a week) and avoid full fat dairy products.
  • Eat fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, sardines, tuna, anchovies, cod, mackerel and trout are excellent sources.
  • Drink red wine in moderation. One or two glasses daily if necessary.

Prior to starting any diet or exercise regime, check first with your doctor.

For further information or if you are thinking about a cosmetic procedure and would like to speak to one of our surgeons, email Bella Vou or call 01892 257 357.

Medically reviewed by

Amir Nakhdjevan Profile

Amir Nakhdjevani

Last Updated: October 27, 2016

Published On: October 27, 2016

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