Diet After Open Heart Surgery

Have you or a close one just had an open heart surgery? Want to know what kind of food can you eat after open heart surgery? Here is a list of foods to eat and foods not to eat after open heart surgery.

Although the initial list of what you can have and what you cannot will be given by the doctor, the following dietary tips can also come handy. Post an open heart surgery if one does not pay attention to their diet, the risk of infections and other health problems is high. For ensuring complete success of the surgery and promoting faster recovery, one must religiously follow medical advice. They should eat healthy to stay healthy and fit.

Here are some dietary tips about foods to eat and foods not to eat after an open heart surgery.

Foods to Eat After Open Heart Surgery

Foods to Eat After Open Heart Surgery

There are certain types of foods, which must definitely be included in the diet of a person recovering from an open heart surgery.

Here is a list of foods to eat after an open heart surgery.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh vegetables and fruits are excellent dietary sources of essential nutrients and vitamins, which are vital for healthy body. Hence, these foods top the list of foods to eat after open heart surgery. A generous intake of fruits and vegetables in the regular diet helps to strengthen the immune system, keep blood pressure in check, promote the overall heart health and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Fruits and vegetables like apple, papaya, kiwi, broccoli, tomatoes, bell peppers, green leafy vegetables, etc. are enriched with powerful antioxidants. Person recovering from open heart surgery can get maximum nutrition every day by consuming different colored fruits and vegetables.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are rich in fibers, which help in keeping the digestive system healthy, the heart in good shape and weight in check. This is of particular importance to heart patients, hence necessary foods to eat after open heart surgery. Instead of having refined carbohydrates like sweet foods and white bread, one should rather have whole grains as part of their regular diet. One can include foods like wild rice, brown rice, non-processed oats, quinoa, whole wheat pasta etc., in their whole grain meal plan.

Fatty Fish and Lean Protein

Another important food to eat after open heart surgery is fatty fish. One can maintain a healthy heart by eating lean proteins. These help to strengthen the heart, keep infections at bay and promote faster recovery from a surgery. Fatty fish like Tuna, Salmon and Mackerel help to keep the heart healthy. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are also known to improve the overall heart health. Fish, legumes, beans, chicken, nuts and low-fat dairy products are some foods which are rich sources of lean protein.

Foods to Avoid After Open Heart Surgery:

Some foods must never be included in the diet of a patient recovering from an open heart surgery. Here is a list of foods not to eat after an open heart surgery.

Sodium Intake

Too much sodium or salt in the patient’s diet can raise the risk of high blood pressure, which can further cause undue strain and stress on the heart. It also causes water retention in the body, which in turn increases the pressure on the arteries and veins. Hence, sodium is one of the most important foods not to eat after an open heart surgery. Such patients can limit their sodium intake by having a low salt content in their diet. The doctor may also advice a completely salt restricted diet for some. They may even prescribe a kind of water pill, which would help to flush out the fluid and sodium from the patient’s body.

Other Food Types to Avoid After Open Heart Surgery

Another foods not to eat after an open heart surgery are processed and packed foods, as they contain high amount of preservatives. These foods are unhealthy for the heart and overall health of the patient. Certain foods which should be completely avoided are:

  • Foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Processed meats like bacon, hams, hot dogs, sausages, etc.
  • Canned soups, juices, broths and beans.
  • Ready to eat meals and frozen foods.
  • Pickled vegetables.
  • Processed cut vegetables and fruits.
  • Potato chips, salted nuts and wafers.

While it is important to follow the foods to eat and foods not to eat after an open heart surgery, regular meal timings and appropriate quantity is also essential. Common problems like loss of appetite, nausea, bloating and constipation can be experienced after an open heart surgery. To counteract these issues, one must eat smaller and more frequent meals, drink lots of water and healthy fluids and take medications only on full stomach. If you are experiencing these side effects continuously, you must seek immediate medical attention.

The diet tips on foods to eat and food not to eat after an open heart surgery can surely help in healthy recovery. Your heart can remain in a good shape if, along with a balanced diet, you also maintain a healthy lifestyle and practice a regular exercising regime, after consulting your doctor. It is important to follow medical advice about diet and exercise routine after an open heart surgery.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Last Modified On: December 8, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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