Two elderly women watching their friend slice a cake—one of the foods to avoid before plastic surgery

Foods To Avoid Before Plastic Surgery (and What To Eat Instead)

Now that you've committed to having work done, you are probably excited, a little nervous, and ready to do anything to achieve the best outcome for your cosmetic surgery. You might have some questions such as: 

How do I prepare my body for plastic surgery? 

Are there foods to avoid before plastic surgery? 

How do I ensure a swift post-surgery recovery

First, selecting a board-certified doctor with an extensive photo album of stunning before and afters is the most important step of your pre-plastic surgery prep.

But then, there are a few other things you can do to make sure the procedure goes smoothly - including eating a diet rich in protein and recovery-boosting nutrients in the weeks and days leading up to your plastic surgery. 

Will my pre-surgery diet affect my cosmetic surgery recovery? 

As with anything, preparation is key to achieving success. The same goes with priming your body for optimal post-op recovery. This is because there are certain foods to avoid before plastic surgery and certain beneficial foods that may significantly affect factors such as your recovery time, scarring, swelling, and risk of infection. 

In fact, a recent study found that even your last few meals before surgery could make an impact on your healing. 

Having optimal pre-surgery nutrition: 

  • May help your incisions heal faster
  • May help restore any blood loss
  • May support better immunity to protect you from infections
  • May increase your post-surgery energy levels
  • May reduce inflammation
  • May improve blood circulation
  • May help repair your skin, nerves, blood vessels, bones, muscles, and more

Ultimately, your pre-surgery nutrition affects your post-surgery recovery. Therefore, consuming nutrient-dense foods may support your body’s natural ability to recover better. 

That said, let’s get into the list of foods to avoid before plastic surgery - and what to eat instead. 

Foods to avoid before plastic surgery

We have also added some supplements and drinks to avoid in your pre-surgery diet, as well as recommended timelines on when to start avoiding them.

We would like to note that we are not medical professionals and this is not medical advice. You should consult your doctor before introducing new foods into your diet or if you’re unsure about which foods to avoid before plastic surgery. Our input is general information found from personal experiences, extensive research, and being in the medical nutrition industry.

A month before surgery: 

Avoid foods that cause inflammation 

You might want to cut back on foods that could suppress your immune system and cause inflammation in your body. According to The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, inflammation can slow down your wound healing process and even increase scarring. 

Foods that may increase inflammation include: 

  • Refined carbohydrates - ex. White rice or white flour
  • Refined sugars - ex. Pastries, packaged drinks, pre-made condiments, and sauces
  • High-sodium food - ex. Canned goods, deli meats, frozen meals, and processed cheeses
  • Highly processed food - ex. Junk food, fast food, margarine, foods with trans fats, and processed meats
  • Vegetable and seed oils - ex. Palm oil, corn oil, and shortening 

A week before surgery: 

Avoid foods that may impact blood clotting time and reactions to anesthesia

Second on our list of foods to avoid before plastic surgery are those that may interfere with blood clotting and anesthesia. Blood clotting is vital to your wound healing process for preventing excess bleeding in cuts and incisions after surgery. 

Local or general anesthesia is always required in cosmetic surgeries. Although anesthesia is safe, you will want to avoid a potential reaction to it as it may cause complications in your surgery or recovery time (which are usually minor), which may include nausea, anxiety, swelling, etc. 

Foods that may interfere with blood clotting and anesthesia include:

  • Ginger
  • Flaxseed
  • Ginkgo biloba 
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Green tea 
  • Certain vitamins and herbal supplements

Typically, doctors will advise you to stop taking all - if not most - of your vitamins and herbal supplements. The common exceptions to this list could be calcium, iron, and vitamin D. 

You should ask your doctor for a list of medicines, supplements, and foods to avoid before plastic surgery during your preoperative appointment. 

Avoid foods that may increase bleeding time

In addition to avoiding clotting or anesthetic complications, the list of foods to avoid before plastic surgery include any that may increase bleeding time. 

Bleeding time is the duration it takes for an incision to stop the flow of blood. It’s crucial to keep this at a normal range of 2 to 7 minutes, to avoid any surgical or postoperative complications. Therefore, doctors normally recommend patients to completely stop taking certain vitamins and supplements a week before surgery as they may increase bleeding time. 

Avoid alcoholic drinks

We’ve covered certain foods to avoid before plastic surgery, but let’s not forget about drinks that go into your diet. 

Alcohol may act as a blood-thinner, which could reduce your blood’s clotting ability. When that happens, there is a risk for excessive bleeding. This may affect the time it takes for your wound to heal and also increase your risk for bruising or swelling.

Moreover, alcohol causes dehydration which may lead to post-op symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or even surgical complications. Dehydration weakens your body, which may impact the procedure and your recovery. 

Avoid caffeinated drinks

Caffeine, on the other hand, raises blood pressure which may increase bleeding and sensitivities during your procedure. It can also increase bruising and make you susceptible to caffeine withdrawal post-surgery. 

Withdrawal symptoms may include a splitting headache, which is the last thing you’ll want as you recover. So, your doctor may recommend you abstain from caffeine anywhere between a week to two days before your surgery. 

If you want to gradually cut down on your caffeine intake prior to your surgery, you can try substituting half of your regular brew with decaf coffee. This mix, also known as a “half caff”, may help you slowly reduce your intake all the way until going on full decaf a week before your surgery. Just know that some decaf options may still contain a bit of caffeine so it’s always best to ask your doctor to be sure about your caffeine intake before the procedure.

Are you more of an avid soda or tea drinker? 

If so, it would also help to cut back on them gradually weeks prior to your surgery. Some sodas and teas have high caffeine content which won’t make you immune to the same withdrawal symptoms a regular cup of joe would give.

4 Types of foods to eat before plastic surgery

Now that we’ve covered the list of foods to avoid before plastic surgery, let’s talk about what you CAN eat before your plastic surgery to promote wound recovery and a speedier healing process.

Remember that your healing process starts before your surgery because your health determines how fast you recover. That’s why it is important to ensure your body contains optimal nutrition in the time leading up to your appointment.  

Again, remember that it’s best to consult your doctor before adopting any diet prior to your procedure. 

1. Foods high in antioxidants 

Fueling your body with antioxidants before cosmetic surgery may help increase your immunity and help reduce inflammation, which are essential to a speedy recovery. 

Inflammation on its own isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it’s actually your body’s way of naturally defending itself from toxins, injuries, and infections. However, too much inflammation (or chronic inflammation) is bad - as it may hinder the exact same repair and healing mechanisms we mentioned earlier. 

This is because when your body undergoes chronic inflammation, its defense system is constantly on alert. Over time, this may cause a negative effect on your organs and tissues. And when it comes to pre- and post-surgery recovery, preoperative inflammation can reflect on how well your body responds to wounds, swelling, scarring, as well as its ability to fight infections. 

In fact, a study shows that preoperative inflammation may increase the risk of infectious complications after surgery. The findings confirm a link between preoperative inflammation, hypoalbuminemia, and risk of infections post-surgery. 

Hypoalbuminemia, more commonly seen in elderly patients, is a lack of the protein albumin in the blood which is usually linked to malnutrition, liver, or inflammatory diseases.

Therefore, consuming foods high in antioxidants (which fight inflammation) is truly beneficial in supporting a smooth healing process. 

Foods rich in antioxidants include:  

  • Spinach, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, artichokes, and carrots
  • Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, lemons, avocados, and kiwis
  • Turmeric, ginger, and garlic
  • Dark chocolate 
  • Beans
  • Pecans 

2. Foods high in protein 

Protein is an essential part of every cell in your body. It actually comprises approximately 20% of the human body.

In fact, your skin, hair, veins, bones, and muscles are all made up of proteins!

As a nutrient or food source, it helps your body produce new blood cells and collagen, which are vital for transporting nutrients throughout the body and healing tissue. Protein also strengthens your immune system which helps speed up recovery and prevents the risk of infections after your surgery. 

Foods high in protein are:

  • Poultry such as chicken breast and turkey breast
  • Beef cuts such as sirloin, flank, and tenderloin steaks
  • Almonds, seeds, and quinoa
  • Soybeans, lentils, white beans, and edamame 
  • Fish such as tuna, halibut, tilapia, cod, and shrimp
  • Egg whites
  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Tofu

3. Liquid collagen protein 

While your body is made up of approximately 20% of protein, collagen protein specifically makes up around 40% of your total body proteins.

So it’s actually the most prevalent protein in your body. 

Though your body can naturally make its own supply of collagen, its ability to produce collagen dwindles as you age. In fact, by age 20, your collagen production can begin to decrease by as much as 1% every year. 

This drop in your body’s collagen production is significant to your whole-body health because collagen is essential for building and repairing tissues. It’s no surprise, as this protein is found in your skin, tendons, bones, organs and other connective tissues. 

So when it comes to preparing your body for plastic surgery, consuming a diet rich in collagen may help speed up healing your incision, scarring, and swelling post-op. This is just one reason why doctors use collagen for wound healing, as it’s extremely effective at building and repairing your tissues, including your skin. 

For instance, an incision from surgery causes damage to your tissues. To fix this, collagen, among other structural proteins, is needed to heal the wound.

Apart from its wound-healing benefits, collagen is also one of the effective supplements to reduce swelling after plastic surgery.

Foods containing collagen are: 

  • Bone broth 
  • Egg whites 
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Gelatin 

Though there are some options, it is very difficult to get the amount of collagen your body needs through food alone. And even if you do, your body may not be absorbing it properly due to the fact that its molecules are very large. 

So if you want a more concentrated and clinically-proven effective way to consume collagen, you can try a hydrolyzed collagen supplement which has been proven to heal wounds up to two times faster. 

Hydrolyzed collagen (HC) is simply collagen that’s been broken down into smaller particles that your body can digest easier. Because it’s more bioavailable, it can readily enter into your bloodstream and reap its restorative properties. This not only makes it a great pre-surgery supplement, but a safe and gentle post-surgery diet staple as well.

To learn more about its health, healing, and anti-aging benefits for your surgery and beyond, check out our complete guide to collagen peptide protein.

4. Water 

Earlier, we talked about how dehydration may increase the risk for post-surgical complications and impede recovery. Well, another study linked dehydration to the increased perception of discomfort with surgeries. 

A study on post-operative bariatric dehydration found that patients who were well hydrated before surgery had a reduced risk of dehydration post-op. 

Experts suggest drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water per day for patients preparing for a plastic surgery procedure. Although, 80 to 100 ounces is even better. 

Staying hydrated may not only help you recover from surgery faster but may even improve your skin and comfort level as well. Definitely worth the benefits! 

Ask your doctor about pre (and post) collagen supplements today

If you’re looking for a medical-grade collagen supplement that’s already trusted by more than 4,000 medical facilities, ask your doctor about our ProT Gold liquid hydrolyzed collagen supplement. It’s proven to promote rapid wound healing, general nutrition, skin health, and anti-aging benefits. 

Developed by Stanford biochemists, our ProT Gold hydrolyzed collagen is proven to be fully bioavailable so your body can absorb its smaller particles more easily. And because of its more digestible size, it can heal wounds 2x faster than normal. It has no additives or artificial sweeteners, giving you only premium ingredients and nutrition as you are preparing for a plastic surgery procedure. 

Just remember that no pre-surgery diet is one-size-fits-all. While it’s good to know which foods to avoid before plastic surgery and research what makes a good post-surgery diet, you cannot replace the input of a licensed surgeon with your own research. 

Instead, bring the information we’ve provided here to your doctor to work with them to create a pre- and post-surgery regimen designed just for you.