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Last Updated on May 14, 2020.

After undergoing an invasive surgery, whether for cancer or another condition, proper postoperative care is crucial for a speedy and healthy recovery. In addition to keeping track of medications, following up with doctors’ appointments and avoiding strenuous activity, nutrition is a critical part of ensuring that the body has what it needs to heal.

One common problem that cancer and mesothelioma patients experience is lack of protein and calories — both key parts of maintaining a healthy body weight and rebuilding tissue and muscle. Both the quantity and quality of calories is important. Rather than loading up on empty calories such as those found in processed food, patients should look to consume whole, nutrient-dense foods. Diets should include quality proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Whether you’re a mesothelioma patient, caregiver or just looking to learn more about the best foods to aid your body’s natural recovery process, the visual below provides information on eight essential nutrients after a surgery. It then covers 13 healthy foods to help patients get a better idea of practical ways to incorporate these nutrients.

Remember to always consult your nutritionist or registered dietitian before trying a new diet or any complementary and alternative treatments.

Foods that promote postoperative recovery

Foods rich in nutrients and calories are vital in recovering from mesothelioma surgery or another cancer-related procedure. Healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals all help the body rebuild tissue and support the immune system. Once a patient has fully recovered from surgery, they should continue to incorporate these essential nutrients into their diet for optimal health and to help prevent future health complications.