What to Eat After Coronary Bypass Surgery

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Coronary bypass surgery is a procedure that restores blood flow to your heart muscle by diverting the flow of blood around a section of a blocked artery in your heart. This type of surgery uses a healthy blood vessel taken from your leg, arm, chest or abdomen and connects it to the other arteries in your heart so that blood is bypassed around the diseased or blocked area.

 

Following surgery, and throughout recovery, a healthy diet is a fundamental part of the healing process and maintaining good health throughout your life.  Along with exercise, eating healthy will speed up both your recovery and healing.

 

Following surgery, it is common to have a poor appetite. If this is the case, you are encouraged to try to eat smaller, more frequent meals- which is better for your body and your health anyways.

 

According to the American Heart Association these are the guidelines after a coronary bypass:

  • Less than 7% of calories coming from saturated fat.
  • Less than 1% of calories from trans fat
  • Less than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day.
  • Consume fish, especially oily fish, twice a week
  • Choose whole-grain, high fiber foods
  • Consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Select all fat free, 1 percent, or low fat dairy products
  • Cut back on foods and beverages with added sugar
  • Choose and prepare foods with little or no added salt. Aim to eat 1,500 mg – no greater than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.
  • If you consume alcohol do so in moderation
  • Balance calorie intake and physical activity to maintain a healthy body weight

 

Here is Health Fitness Revolution’s guide to what you should eat after Coronary Bypass Surgery to maintain good heart health throughout your life:

  • Soluble Fiber:  this helps stimulate the liver to produce HDL (good) cholesterol. Soluble fibre is found in oatmeal, beans and lentils.
  • Drink Alot of Water:  To maximise the way your body uses soluble fibre, drink 3 litres of water a day.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids:  help prevent inflammation of the arteries. It’s the inflammation that makes the fat in the arteries unstable and more likely to break off, causing blockages.  Omega-3 can be obtained through eating oily fish, flax seeds, and nuts/seeds.
  • Good Fats:  increase your intake of good fats, which help to reduce LDL levels slightly. The best fats for all of us are monounsaturated fats, such as olive, coconut, grapeseed and groundnut oils.  Moderation is key in order to avoid weight gain and the health problems associated with it.
  • Diet Rich in Antioxidants: these help prevent LDL cholesterol from depositing in the arteries. This means lots of fruit and vegetables and a balanced diet.

 

Stay Away from:  

 

  • Fried Foods: Are at the root of heart disease and often full of sodium.
  • Alcohol: triggers triglycerides that adds to the fat in the blood and makes your heart vessels pump harder.
  • Refined Grains:  Refined grains are rich in sugar that makes them not good. During the processing of refined grains, bran and germ are done away with and there is thus hardly any fiber or vitamins left in them.
  • Red Meat:  Red meat is dripped into cholesterol and the carcinogens that are produced while cooking.

 

Remember, Nothing takes the place of whole foods, which is the BEST way to get vitamins and nutrients to your body.  This means limit your intake of refined foods such as convenience foods, desserts and frozen treats, fast foods and other snack-like foods. Couple these dietary practices with regular aerobic exercise and you are well on your way towards having and maintaining good heart health.

 

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