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What’s the Best Diet After Heart Surgery?


Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

A healthy diet after heart surgery is crucial to your recovery, and to helps you protect your heart against further problems. Optimal nutrition can help speed healing, so you regain your strength and energy. A good diet can help you control your weight, which is important in maintaining good cardiovascular health. Your doctor or a dietitian can work with you to create a meal plan that’s right for you, but here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when creating a diet after heart surgery.

Enjoy Fresh, Whole Foods

According to the American Heart Association, your best bet is to choose a variety of:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Breads
  • Lean meats (including fish)
  • Low-fat dairy products

In general, heart patients should follow a low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fiber diet.

Cut the Fat, Salt, and Sugar

Limit your consumption of saturated fat, sugar, and salt, and avoid:

Foods like liver and organ meats, eggs, whole milk, butter, cream, whole-milk cheeses, fried foods, and palm oil are high in saturated fat. In addition to luncheon meats, canned soups, canned spaghetti sauce, TV dinners, snack foods, and smoked fish are also high in salt. When choosing a diet after heart surgery, say no to these foods.

Address Side Effects

It’s not unusual to experience problems like nausea, lack of appetite, and constipation following heart surgery. You may be able to counteract these issues by:

  • Taking medications on a full stomach
  • Drinking plenty of water and other healthy fluids
  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals

If you continue to experience such side effects, contact your physician. For more information on heart health, visit the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.

Heart

Heart and Vascular Institute

As a recognized leader in cardiovascular care — with a rich history in clinical research and innovation — the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute offers a full spectrum of personalized cardiovascular services. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the United States, UPMC has made significant contributions to the advancement of cardiovascular medicine. Read More