Patients who lose weight with bariatric surgery generally set their sights on living a healthy life using weight loss surgery as a tool for weight loss and healthy weight management. Many patients are concerned that they may suffer nutritional deficiencies as a result of the malabsorptive surgery such as gastric bypass because the surgery restricts the absorption of nutrients from food. Patients are prescribed dietary supplements to ensure their nutritional needs are met.
However, a mindful patient will also include healthy nutritional foods in every meal to increase their odds for nutrient absorption. Here are five powerful natural foods, that when included in the healthy post-weight loss surgery diet, may increase the nutritional absorption and overall health of the bariatric patient:
- Spinach: Well known as a good source of iron, spinach is also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate and magnesium. Fresh spinach is available pre-washed in the produce section of supermarkets. But studies indicate frozen spinach is also nutrient rich and it serves as a key ingredient in many egg and protein dishes. Spinach is also higher in protein than most vegetables with 2 grams of protein per 2 cups of raw spinach.
- Oranges: We know oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C which helps boost immunity and fight colds. Oranges also contain folate and flavonoids which are known to fight cancer. Now available year-round oranges are a low cost fruit that may be included in a healthy post-weight loss surgery diet as a snack or recipe ingredient.
- Garlic: Garlic has been used medicinally since ancient times and modern science suggests garlic may be effective in fighting cancer and heart disease and lowering blood pressure. Considered a vegetable, garlic is a low-cost flavoring for savory protein dishes. At the market select a full plump head of garlic with taut, unbroken outer skin. To use separate the cloves from the head and use as directed. To temper the pungent bad breath-causing flavors of garlic blanch whole, unpeeled garlic cloves for a few minutes. This will also make them easier to peel.
- Mushrooms: While trying to eat a rainbow of colors from vegetables, do not overlook the humble mushroom. While they lack the vibrant color we associate with antioxidant rich vegetables these little fungi deliver a similar antioxidant punch. While very low in calories, mushrooms contain compounds that seem to fight cancer by inhibiting certain steps in the formation of tumors. Look for clean, plump and moist mushrooms and clean by gently wiping with a damp paper towel or soft brush to remove dirt and debris.
- Yogurt: Yogurt is a significant source of calcium and provides a good amount of protein when included in the weight loss surgery diet. The live cultures in yogurt may help prevent digestive issues such as diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease. A one-cup serving of low-fat yogurt provides 155 calories, 45% daily value of calcium, and 13 grams of protein. Enjoy yogurt with fresh fruit or include fat-free Greek yogurt as ingredient in recipes that call for sour cream, substituting equal parts Greek yogurt for the sour cream.
Spinach, oranges, garlic, mushrooms, and yogurt are commonly available foods that can be easily included in the diet of a weight loss surgery patient. Patients who include a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits in their diet are more likely to obtain desired weight loss and sustain a healthy weight than those who rarely exclusively on supplements for their nutritional health.