Foods You Should Avoid Before Surgery

No matter what type of cosmetic surgery procedure you are pursuing, a healthy diet is an essential part of your pre-op and post-op care. Knowing what to eat before surgery to avoid constipation and other complications can also provide a range of benefits, including a successful surgery, optimal results and a quick recovery. In this blog post, Chicago plastic surgeon Mohammed Alghoul goes over the top foods to avoid before surgery (and he offers some alternatives).

Foods High in Carbs

Dr. Alghoul recommends avoiding processed carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, cereal baked cookies, pastries and white rice. Foods high in carbs can increase the body’s inflammatory response. Instead, eat whole grains rich in fiber, including quinoa, bulgur wheat and brown rice, which can help prevent post-surgery constipation. Pair these fiber-rich foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Dark, leafy greens such as kale and spinach are high in antioxidants, which support the body’s immune system by fighting free radicals.

Red Meat

Red meat is high in saturated fat and can trigger constipation, a common side effect after surgery. Constipation can increase pain level and can place additional stress on your incision. Instead of red meat, eat lean meats, such as chicken, turkey and fish. The protein in lean meats helps your body recover and rebuild cells after surgery. If you don’t eat meat, eggs, beans, tofu and nuts are great sources of lean protein. Dairy products like milk and cheese are also a great source of protein, but can lead to constipation after surgery and should be eaten in moderation.


The benefits of a glass of wine a day have been debated for years, but there’s no question that red wine (or any alcohol, for that matter) does you more harm than good as you prepare for your surgery. Prior to your surgery, you will be placed under general or local anesthesia, depending on your specific treatment. Alcohol can interfere with anesthetic agents, increasing the risk of serious complications during surgery. Additionally, alcohol thins your blood, which can increase the risk of excessive bleeding during and after surgery. Dr. Alghoul recommends his patients stop drinking at least two weeks before surgery. It is also wise to avoid drinking alcohol as you recover from your treatment. Alcohol dries out the skin, compromising the results of your procedure.

On the other hand, be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your surgery. Staying properly hydrated helps your body function as efficiently as possible during your recovery. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water.

Contact Dr. Alghoul Today

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Alghoul. He will gladly answer all of your pre-and post-op nutrition inquiries or any other questions you may have regarding your procedure. To contact Dr. Alghoul, please call (312) 695-5663 today.