Following surgery or a prolonged illness the immune system, the tissues and the metabolism all have to regulate and restore. Without good nutrition this process will, at best, take longer and potentially may not happen sufficiently.
Many patients are told to eat whatever they fancy; to eat easily swallowed foods like ice-cream and rice pudding. Having a little something to spoil ourselves is, of course, perfectly fine. However, it has been clinically proven that foods high in sugar and refined grains and oils can all have a detrimental affect on health, not least because they contain virtually no nutritional value and are also associated with triggering inflammatory responses in the body, which is known to inhibit tissue and cellular healing.
These foods include most commercial cereals, breads and other baked goods, ready meals and drinks, including so called energy drinks and supposedly ‘healthy’ fruit juices.
When someone is weak and still vulnerable to infection and fatigue, the body does not want to be further challenged by toxic, de-natured foods that put a burden on the digestive system and liver. The detoxification processes and the intestine may well already be struggling due to prolonged exposure to medications, making the focus on unprocessed, fresh, well balanced meals all the more important.
Homemade soups can be well-blended to make them highly digestible and easy to take in. This is a fantastic way to get a wide range of health-giving vegetables into a patient, especially the allium group (onions, garlic, leeks) as these sulphurous vegetables support liver detoxification processes. If a bone stock is used to make the soup, you are then adding in a huge range of nutrients to help heal tissues, such as glucosamines and amino acids.
Good fats are also essential to boost immune function and healing. Oily fish, such as wild salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring are all great sources of the highly anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid, omega 3 and other great fat sources include avocados, nuts and seeds, extra virgin olive oil, butter and coconut products.
Fermented foods including organic live natural yogurt, raw sauerkraut, raw apple cider vinegar, kimchi and kefir support gut health.
Many patients experience gastrointestinal issues after surgery or other medical interventions, antibiotics, anesthetic and chemotherapy are all known to have a detrimental effect on gut function. This can be due to damage caused to the lining of the small intestine, inhibiting absorption of nutrients and/or the degradation of the microflora, essential for digestion, immune function and inflammatory responses. So using fermented foods can be really useful for improving the condition of the gut and encouraging growth of beneficial bacteria.
Clean proteins such as free-range eggs, fish and meat along with healthy fats, as above, and plenty of fresh vegetables will ensure the body has enough of the vital nutrients to ensure the patient can heal on a cellular level as quickly as possible.
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