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The Best Diet for Your Recovery After Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart bypass surgery is done to repair the damaged arteries of the heart. However, it’s time for a change towards a healthy diet and a better lifestyle to prevent further heart ailments in the future.

Following a good diet plan will help in weight control, which is important in maintaining healthy cardiovascular health. A professional dietician can help one choose a proper diet plan that is good for recovery and health. 

Notably, heart bypass surgery is effective and proportional to a healthy lifestyle. There are many healthy diets that one can follow after undergoing a heart bypass surgery; these include the following:

Food to Eat After Heart Bypass Surgery

A healthy balanced diet will provide various healthy nutrients that will aid in recovery. After heart bypass surgery avoids low saturated fats but has high fibre and rich omega-3 foods.

Here are some foods which you eat after heart bypass surgery:

  1. Meat

Eat only lean meat (trim the fat off the meat), and consume it moderately.

  1. Whole grains

Grains including brown rice, wholemeal pasta, oats, barley, rye, quinoa and wholewheat bread should be consumed for a healthy heart.

  1. Fish

Eating fish once a week will ensure that omega-3 fatty acids are included in the diet, which is good for the heart.

  1. Dairy

Low fat is preferred to keep the blood vessels clear after bypass surgery. Consuming skimmed milk, yoghurt and fat-free cream cheese is advised.

  1. Healthy fats

Use unsaturated oils, low-fat mayo and spreads that are low in trans fatty acids. Use unsaturated fat options like avocados, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, olive oil and canola oil. 

  1. Water

Replace sugar-filled drinks with homemade fresh fruit juices, or simply drink a lot of normal water.

Foods to Avoid after Heart Bypass Surgery

After Heart Bypass Surgery avoids saturated fat and cholesterol. Avoid unhealthy foods to recover the body tissues.

Here are the foods you avoid after Heart Bypass Surgery:

  1. Hydrogenated and trans-fat products

Limit the consumption of saturated fat and avoid trans-fat products. Saturated fat should not be taken more than 6% of the total daily calories if the cholesterol level is high.

  1. Avoid sugary foods

Say no to sugary foods or drinks, they have high calories. Avoid drinks that have high sugar or corn syrup. Sugary foods increase body weight, which is not good for the heart. 

  1. High sodium intake

Low sodium intake in diet will help prevent fluid retention and also reduce blood pressure.

  1. Refined grains

They are rich in sugar and have less fibre, so it’s better to avoid them.

  1. Alcohol

Avoid the excessive consumption of alcohol. Alcohol has high calories, but it does not provide any nutrition. Ensure to take it in moderation.

Medications after Heart Bypass Surgery

The doctor will prescribe medicine to keep heart disease under control. It is important to take all the medicines as prescribed for better results.

The doctor may prescribe the following medications after bypass surgery:

  • Antiplatelet will help in reducing the risk of heart attack and in preventing blood clots. 

  • Beta-blockers help lower blood pressure. Decrease the workload of the heart.

  • ACE inhibitors help in lowering blood pressure and reducing the pressure from the heart.

  • Lipid-lowering medicines decrease the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood.

Other medicines

Depending on other risk factors, medicines can be prescribed for the following conditions:

Insulin or drugs will be given to people with diabetes to keep blood sugar within control. This medication decreases the risk of heart disease and diabetes-related complications.

How to Get Back to Regular Activities after Cardiac Bypass Surgery?

The breastbone takes a minimum of two months to heal after a heart bypass surgery. Resuming activities after a heart bypass surgery is a gradual process. Start with some light activities like small household chores, and then gradually, one can resume heavy activities like

  1. Driving

Avoid driving for several weeks, as it is an activity that requires concentration and reflex time. It is better to avoid driving any vehicle for a few weeks to aid recovery.

  1. Sex

Sexual activity requires physical straining, and it may cause pain in the breastbone if the recovery is not complete. So it is better to avoid it for 3 months.

  1. Work

Office work can be resumed after 6 weeks. Work-life can be reinstated once confidence is back and the body has recovered completely.

  1. Gardening 

It can be strenuous, but light activities like weeding and pruning can be started by the third week. After two months, completely resume the gardening activities.

  1. Housework

Start with small activities such as light cooking. Avoid doing heavier tasks as it may interfere with recovery.

Which Exercises are the Best to Start after Cardiac Bypass Surgery?

The following exercises are good to start after surgery:

  1. Bowls 

People can start practising after 6 weeks.

  1. Tennis 

One can start with gentle serving after 6 weeks.

Side Effects after Heart Bypass Surgery

After the bypass surgery, people may experience some side effects as a result of the operation. These can include

  1. Nausea

It is a common side effect when a patient has anaesthesia for surgery. The exact physiology of nausea after heart bypass surgery is not clearly understood. Nausea is often triggered due to various factors, such as anaesthesia, illness, anxiety, perioperative stimuli and drug interactions. 

  1. Constipation

It happens due to lack of physical activity, insufficient fibre intake due to post-operative dietary changes, pain medications and insufficient intake of water.

  1. Loss of appetite

People may observe they have lost their appetite and may not find the food delectable. The taste bud has changed. This is caused because of the medication post-surgery. It will take 3 months to get back to their normal appetite.

It’s perfectly normal to experience a bit of low owing to the surgery. There would be moments where we would experience highs and lows. It usually takes weeks (almost 4-6) to recover.

Conclusion

Blood flow increases to the heart after bypass surgery. Good outcomes are observed in people who make healthy lifestyle habits. Talk to the doctor about healthier options so that it continues on overall well-being towards a better life. BLK-Max Hospital is the leading heart hospital in Delhi.

Possible changes can be made by choosing a healthier diet, reducing alcohol intake, avoiding smoking and exercising regularly.  

All of the above along with the prescribed drugs will ensure a healthier and happier heart with smiles all over.