If you recently had a surgical procedure, or are recovering from an injury or illness, your nutrition can help your recovery.

Here are nutrients needed to improve recovery.


Even though you may be less active, your body needs adequate calories to repair tissues and maintain muscle mass, along with other bodily functions. Aim to have regular, balanced meals and snacks that include a variety of foods. Include lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.


Along with adequate calories, protein is crucial for muscle and tissue repair. Aim for .75 grams per pound of body weight during recovery periods. If you weigh 100 pounds, that would be around 75 grams. If you weigh 150 pounds, that would be around 115 grams. If you weigh 200 pounds, that would be around 150 grams. Sources of protein include lean meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs, beans, and soy products.


Staying well hydrated will improve recovery. A good way to start is to drink 8 cups, or 64 ounces, of caffeine-free beverage per day. One way to know if you’re hydrated is to check your urine color. It should be light like lemonade, not dark like apple juice.


This mineral is crucial for bone growth and repair. It is also an important electrolyte that helps regulate fluid balance, muscle movement, and nerve signaling. Calcium is found in dairy, soy products, leafy greens, broccoli, and almonds.


This mineral helps make hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Good sources of iron include lean meat, poultry, seafood, dark leafy greens, and fortified cereals.


This mineral also helps wound healing and immune function. Zinc is found in lean meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, and fortified cereals.


Vitamin A is found in carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, and some dairy products. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, and strawberries. Vitamin E is found in eggs, vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.