Also known as an abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck is a popular surgical procedure to remove excess fat and skin from the abdomen while tightening its muscle wall for a flatter, firmer appearance and waistline.   

There is no exact diet to adhere to in preparation for or when recovering from a tummy tuck, but it’s critical you maintain a healthy, nutritious regimen to maximize and maintain optimal results. 

Here’s a helpful guide to the best foods to consume before and after a tummy tuck.  


Before the Procedure

To prepare for a tummy tuck, your surgeon will instruct you to stop smoking or using drugs, medications, and supplements that could increase bleeding. This may include herbal supplements, anti-inflammatories, or aspirin.

Additionally, you’ll want to keep a healthy diet to maintain your weight leading up to your surgery.  

In the weeks preceding the procedure, it’s essential to eat fresh fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C, such as guavas, kale, parsley, kiwis, and broccoli. Studies have shown vitamin C “has the potential to accelerate bone healing after a fracture, increase type I collagen synthesis, and reduce oxidative stress parameters”—all of which can be helpful for the healing process from a tummy tuck. 

Avoid processed foods, since they’ve been known to increase inflammation. Minimize your carbohydrate intake for similar reasons, meaning you’ll need to cut down on bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes. An analysis of more than 2,000 men and women suggests high carb intake can lead to an increase in inflammatory markers. 

To fight inflammation, you can consume omega 3-rich foods such as mackerel, salmon, chia seeds, or walnuts.

You should also refrain from eating foods high in sugar, which can cause swelling and a spike in blood sugar, leading to an increase in weight. One study involving 29 participants found consuming sugar-sweetened beverages each day for three weeks led to an increase in low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol, insulin resistance, and inflammation. 

To fight inflammation, you can consume omega 3-rich foods such as mackerel, salmon, chia seeds, or walnuts.


After a Tummy Tuck

There are no specific restrictions immediately after a tummy tuck. However, you may want to keep your diet light for the next several days. Start with clear liquids, such as water, then move on to a soft diet of raw fruits and vegetables, whole-grain cereals, yogurt, soft cheeses, soups, and pudding. If none of these appeal to your stomach—which may be adjusting to the changes or pain medication—try a protein shake, which is packed with the protein and fluids you need to support recovery. 

Once you’re feeling up to it, you can return to a regular diet. 

Although excess fat was removed during the abdominoplasty, the remaining fat cells can still grow and deflate, depending on what you put into your body. It’s therefore critical you maintain a nutritious and healthy regimen to sustain the results of your procedure. 

Try to develop healthy eating habits you’ll be able to stick with long term, such as curbing your processed food and takeout intake, portion controlling, and incorporating a variety of fresh foods into your daily meals. 

Similar to the pre-diet, ensure you’re getting enough vitamin C and omega 3, while staying away from foods high in sugar and sodium. Your daily intake should be high in protein, so eat fresh eggs, almonds, chicken breast, cottage cheese, and lean beef. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Always consult with your physician before changing your diet and to learn about the best meal plans for your body. Dr. Anthony Buglino is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), meaning he specializes in a holistic approach to medicine and considers a patient’s overall health when determining a treatment plan. He will outline the perfect diet for your body before and after a tummy tuck, to ensure you have all the information necessary to maintain optimal results and enjoy a smooth, speedy recovery. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss the tummy tuck procedure.

Topics: Body Contouring, Tummy Tuck, Plastic Surgery