Prism Blog, Self Care for Trans Health, Surgical Recovery & Scars

Top Nutrition Tips for Successful Surgical Recovery

We all know to prepare foods ahead of time or have friends drop off meals since meal prep after surgery is difficult. But did you know that there are certain foods that can actually help you recover faster and have less post-surgical side effects?


  1. Use a google calendar or care calendar like lotsahelpinghands to make a plan for friends to bring you meals, check on you, clean your house, walk your dogs, and help you with any personal hygiene tasks you can’t perform yourself. If you are traveling for surgery you can have friends sign up to order you meal delivery from apps like doordash or magickitchen. Extend your care calendar one week longer than you think you’ll need it. It’s easier to cancel than try to organize more help while you’re recovering. Have some canned soups and freezer meals on hand too just in case you find yourself stuck waiting a few hours for your next delivery.
  2. If you are traveling for surgery check out recovery centers in the area, like Trans Heartline in the Bay Area. They can provide meal prep for you during your stay!
  3. Use acupuncture to improve any preexisting issues (back pain, sciatica, constipation, prior scar tissue, pain from compression garments) that could be aggravated by the surgery, to improve surgical outcomes and the healing process. Plus, acupuncture boosts your immune system, improves your sleep, and helps you feel relaxed before surgery. Schedule an appointment now for $30 off when you mention this post!
  4. If you can’t eat, drink, and/or urinate, or have a fever, chills, an infection, trouble breathing, unusual bleeding, redness or hot feeling in the surgical site, or feel unwell call your doctor or go to the emergency room. Ask your surgeon what signs you should look for of post-surgical complications.

Recovery Foods:

  1. To prevent nausea, stick to broths, homemade sugarless jello, soups, overcooked soft veggies, vegetable juices, coconut water, fruits, and plenty of water. Avoid processed hospital food and sugar if possible. Bring water, ginger tea, and crackers or another easy snack to the hospital to eat right after your surgery.
  2. Avoid dried foods, jerky, chips, processed foods, dairy products, red meat, starchy foods, and sugar which can cause constipation.
  3. For urethra surgeries, avoid bladder irritants like tomatoes, caffeine, chocolate, citrus, carbonation, spicy foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, onions, and cranberry (can cause frequent urination), and drink exactly 8 glasses of water a day and avoid water before bedtime.
  4. For colon surgery, avoid colorectal irritants like seeds, whole grains, and stick to a soft food diet with plenty of fiber.
  5. If you are experiencing nausea stick to a liquid/soft food diet and drink ginger tea. For a low appetite, drink lemon balm tea.
  6. Eat plenty of lean protein (skinless chicken, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds), whole grains (quinoa, rye, whole wheat, oats, wild rice), vitamin C and fiber (berries, citrus, mango, papaya, tomatoes, peaches, melons, apricots, apples, dark leafy greens), magnesium and iron (pumpkin seeds), and glutamine and arginine (in bone broth).
  7. Drink 1+ cup bone broth daily for 2+ weeks post-surgery to speed skin and wound healing, especially for bottom surgeries.
  8. Avoid sugar 1+ week before as it depletes the immune system and prevents healing.
  9. Avoid large amounts of salt 7+ days before surgery to reduce post-surgical swelling.
  10. Avoid caffeine 48-72 hours before surgery as it impacts how your body processes the anesthesia.
  11. Avoid alcohol 1+ week before surgery as it impacts how your liver processes the anesthesia.

Get acupuncture home visits to improve your recovery:

This information is for educational purposes only, please consult a healthcare provider before taking any supplements or herbs and always follow your surgeon’s advice.