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Article: What are the best proteins for plastic surgery?

Nutrition Tips

What are the best proteins for plastic surgery?

Best proteins and amino acids for plastic surgery

It’s no secret that amino acids are one of the main components of skin and muscle tissue, so it makes sense to increase your protein intake before and after plastic surgery (or any surgery). However, not all proteins are created equal when it comes to surgery.

Protein helps support your immune system to fight off infections during recovery and it also helps with healing to keep your skin smooth, firm, and scar-free.

You may be wondering, what are the best proteins for plastic surgery? Keep reading to learn about the critical amino acids needed for plastic surgery and food sources that contain them.

Looking for more plastic surgery content? Make sure to check out my blog post on plastic surgery recovery tips from a plastic surgery dietitian!

What are amino acids?

The best proteins for plastic surgery

Amino acids are important building blocks of proteins and certain amino acids have been shown to support your body through surgery and recovery.

Next, let’s take a deeper dive into which amino acids are best for plastic surgery and why.

What are the critical amino acids needed for plastic surgery?

1. Citrulline

Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid. Meaning it is already made in your body but you should also include it in your diet.

A few of the health benefits of citrulline are:

  • Increases oxygen flow
  • Increases blood flow
  • Improves immune system

Citrulline is recommended for plastic surgery because it helps with blood and oxygen flow throughout the body improving the healing process.

Citrulline can be found in certain foods like:

  • Watermelon
  • Squash
  • Chickpeas

2. Arginine

Arginine is also a non-essential amino acid that your body already makes.

However, after surgery, it becomes CONDITIONALLY indispensable after surgery because your body needs more of it than it can make. Therefore, you need to eat high arginine foods.

A few of the health benefits of arginine are:

  • Relaxes blood vessels
  • Reduces recovery time after surgery

Eating foods high in arginine can be beneficial for plastic surgery because it can help reduce the recovery time after surgery by promoting wound healing and blood flow. This is crucial for the post-op healing process.

Foods high in arginine are:

  • Turkey
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chicken

ACTION TIP #1: Eat a high-arginine food daily after your surgery. Arginine is one of the most important amino acids the body needs post-op.

Best proteins and amino acids for surgery

3. Glutamine

Next, glutamine is another non-essential amino acid that your body makes and it is the most abundant amino acid in the human body.

Some health benefits of glutamine are:

  • Supports good gut health
  • Helps maintain muscle proteins to reduce muscle damage
  • Protects the body against infection

Since glutamine is the main fuel source for white blood cells (lymphocytes), it is important to make sure you are eating foods that contain glutamine to help protect your body from infection after plastic surgery.

Glutamine has also grown in popularity for its effect on gut health and your gut lining. Supporting your gut health is always a good idea throughout the surgery process.

Foods high in glutamine are:

  • Chicken
  • Tofu
  • Lentils

4. Leucine

Leucine is an essential amino acid which means the body does not make it. You must get leucine from food. Foods that are high in leucine include chicken, pork, tuna, eggs, oats, cottage cheese, and peanuts.

Health benefits of leucine are:

  • Increases skin’s firmness
  • Promotes growth and development
  • Stimulates muscle growth
  • Reduces muscle sagging

Leucine can help control the skin’s firmness and helps prevent muscle wasting which is needed during the recovery process from plastic surgery. Additionally, it helps to make sure that everything heals properly and looks great.

Foods high in leucine are:

  • Salmon
  • Brown rice
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

Ask Your Surgeon or Dietitian About Daily Recommended Amounts of Amino Acids.

It is best to work with your healthcare team (which should include a dietitian) to help you determine the recommended amounts of each of these amino acids your body needs for your plastic surgery plans.

A registered dietitian (like me!) can work with you to help you determine a nutrition plan that is specific to your needs and will include the recommended amount of protein to eat before and after your plastic surgery to help you get the results you are looking for!

Don’t let all your effort and money go to waste because you weren’t properly supporting your body throughout this process. I have seen it happen way too many times!

Reach out to me today through my services page and let’s get you on the right path towards a successful surgery!

Best proteins for surgery: Final thoughts

  1. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are found in protein-rich foods.
  2. We make some amino acids, but during surgery, amino acids such as glutamine and arginine are needed in our diet.
  3. Foods rich in surgery-specific amino acids include: turkey, pumpkin seeds, tofu, and squash
  4. Eat a protein rich food at every meal after surgery to make sure you are getting enough of these amino acids.

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