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What to Eat After Heart Bypass Surgery

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If you've recently had heart bypass surgery, it's important to come up with a healthy eating plan going forward. Eating the right foods, as well as getting some exercise, will really play a part in your healing process. 

For a few weeks after your surgery, there is a good chance that you won't feel very hungry at all and that you'll experience some mild nausea. This is all very common, but it's important that you try and eat something to help your body heal. Instead of 3 meals day, try eating several smaller meals. Also, try and take any medication after you've eaten (unless instructed otherwise by your doctor) as taking medication on an empty stomach can lead to increased nausea. If loss of appetite and nausea continue to be a problem, make sure you discuss this with your doctor.

Talk to your doctor or vasuclar surgeon about the best foods to avoid in your recovery period and after, and try to include as many of the following foods in your diet as possible. 

Fruit and veg

You should try and make fruit and vegetables the main staple of your diet going forward; not only are they full of anti-oxidants, they also lower the risk of heart disease and stroke and have a positive effect on blood sugar, which means you'll be less likely to overeat once your appetite has returned.

The recommended daily amount of fruit and veg is 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables; try and make sure you eat your fruit and veg in various colours, as the phytochemicals they contain are responsible for their varied colours. By eating a rainbow of fruit and veg, you'll be getting a variety of nutrients to help keep your body strong.

Lean protein

It's important to make sure you eat enough protein, especially in the first few weeks post-surgery as protein helps speed up the healing of wounds. Go for lean protein sources, such as skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt (Greek yoghurt is best, as it contains more protein than regular yoghurt) and lean cuts of beef, poultry, fish and pork. Avoid high-fat protein sources, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, as these are full of saturated fat, which has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and total cholesterol levels.

Whole grains

Whole grains contain a lot of fibre and other nutrients and so are great to include to your diet after your surgery. Good choices would be whole grain bread, whole oats, air-popped popcorn and brown rice.

By focusing your diet around these foods, you give yourself the best chance of maintaining a healthy heart post-surgery.