Foods that Aid Recovery

by Lois Etienne on March 10, 2013

in Caregiver Support,Lifestyle,Senior Health and Safety

Food for RecoveryAre there certain foods that can help speed recovery and help you feel better sooner? According to WebMD and other research, the answer is “yes.”

Eating the right foods can help you prevent complications such as dehydration, and constipation. Among the first suggestions are to include lots of fiber and lean protein in your diet. Fiber will help keep you regular and may prevent long-term issues such as intestinal problems and diabetes. High fiber foods include whole grain breads, fresh fruits, vegetables (fresh or frozen), oatmeal and certain cereals.

Some fresh fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, apples, broccoli and sweet potatoes, contain numerous vitamins, antioxidants, calcium, iron and other nutrients that are essential for healthy living, bone building and cell recovery. Be sure to include as many of these as possible in your diet.

WebMD’s guide, “Healthy Eating When You’re Sick” says, lean proteins such as chicken, pork, and fish, are important for helping you build and repair cells, prevent the loss of muscle mass, maintain fluid balance and improve your body’s ability to heal. Some good non-animal sources of protein are beans, soy products like tofu, and nuts. It is recommended that you not eat red meat while recovering because it can cause constipation and is high in saturated fats.

Dairy products are also rich in protein, but during recovery, stick with low-fat dairy products such as skim milk, cottage cheese and yogurt. Yogurt in particular is rich in calcium, and may contain good bacteria, which may help with digestion. Eggs are another good healthy food option because they have only about 75 calories per serving, and contain 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D.

Some seniors recovering from illness or surgery may have a hard time eating and thus may not get enough calories. Failing to eat can slow recovery. If chewing is a problem, try to get a smoothie made with yogurt, milk and some fresh fruits. If getting enough calories is a problem, exchange cream or whole milk for skim milk; try an avocado over a green salad; or boost the amount of proteins in your diet.

You can also find many additional resources in the Maintaining Proper Nutrition for Seniors section of

If you find that you or your loved one needs more meal and dietary assistance than you can provide, non-medical in-home senior care providers, like your local Home Instead Senior Care office, offer meal preparation services including grocery shopping, meal planning, and assistance during mealtimes.

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