Keeping Me Well - Cardiff and Vale University Hospital

Eating Well – Preparing for Knee Surgery

This is the first session of the Prepare Well Orthopaedics programme. 

What is Healthy Eating? 

The ‘Eatwell Guide’ produced by the Welsh Government in 2018 recommends eating a varied diet and getting the right balance between carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, protein, and dairy foods. It also highlights staying hydrated and eating less sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats.

Plate showing healthy proportions of food per food group

Why Eat Healthier?

It helps us to:

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • Improve our gut and bone health
  • Strengthen our overall mental health and wellbeing by improving immunity, mood, energy levels, and memory.
  • Reduce risk of conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps to control the amount of calcium and phosphorous in the body. These minerals help to maintain healthy bones, muscles and teeth.

Vitamin D is available in small amounts from certain foods in our diet but this is usually not enough to meet the daily amount recommended which is 10μg (micrograms) per day. We get most of our needed vitamin D from sunlight.

It is recommended that all people consider taking vitamin D supplements (10μg daily) in the autumn and winter. These can be bought without the need for a prescription.High risk groups – over 65 years of age, people who cover up, or are housebound, people from African, Asian, or Middle Eastern backgrounds – should take them all year round. It is important not to take more than the recommended amount (unless directed by your doctor) as excess vitamin D can be harmful.

Eating Well for Recovery After Your Surgery

Eating well after surgery is important for recovery and rehabilitation. Your body will need extra nutrition to repair and heal, even if you are overweight.

Protein and vitamin C are particularly important. Dietary sources of protein include meat, fish, cheese, eggs, beans, nuts, soya, lentils and pulses. The recommended daily dose of vitamin C for adults is 40mg (milligrams) and this can be obtained from diet alone in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

During the early recovery phase, try to eat 3 meals per day and snacks in between meals. If you are diabetic eating a carbohydrate snack before bed time is especially important. Available snacks on the wards include cereal, toast, plain biscuits, and small sandwiches.

It is important to drink well especially after surgery – aim for 6-8 glasses per day. Water, squash, fruit juice, milk, tea and coffee are all useful fluids.

Higher fibre foods such as wholemeal breads, wholegrain cereals and plenty of fluid can help ease any constipation after your operation.

If you are experiencing nausea after surgery, try eating small frequent plain foods and snacks such as toast, crackers, plain biscuits. Sip nourishing fluids regularly. Don’t go a long time without food. An empty stomach can make you feel worse.

Contact details

Mobile: 07971 980 219   

Keeping Me Well - Cardiff and Vale University Hospital

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