Food may not be at the front of your mind when you’re about to go into hospital, but eating well before – and after – an operation or treatment plays a crucial part in speedy recovery. Here’s how to plan
Going into hospital takes its toll, physically and emotionally, but we may get better and regain strength more quickly if our immune systems are built up before treatment. That means ensuring you eat nutrition-dense foods before your hospital stay and getting back into regular eating patterns as soon as possible afterwards.
‘Eating well before and after surgery means thinking ahead,’ advises Stella Vig, council member for the Royal College of Surgeons. So, although you may not feel like it, it will help to stock up on easy-to-prepare ingredients and healthy ready-made meals for your return home. Batch-cooking to fill your freezer is also a good way to get the nutrients in.
Scientists believe a poor intake of certain nutrients lowers immunity, although only a few studies make this direct link. ‘Essential nutrients include zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid and vitamins A, B6, C, and E,’ says nutrition editor Amanda Ursell. ‘You’ll get these from veg, fruit, wholegrains, fish, pulses, eggs, lean meat and healthy oils and nuts
– essentially, the Med Diet.’