Updated: Jan 8, 2020
A healthy diet is always a good idea, but especially when one is recovering from a traumatic injury, such as hip replacement surgery. My sister Laury is a fitness professional and a nutrition coach. She recommended checking out Precision Nutrition, which besides being a premiere organization for training coaches, also provides a wealth of free state-of-the-art information on nutrition and related subjects on their blog:
Laury told me about an article and infographic they had on their website on "nutrition for injury recovery." It wasn't specifically written for hip replacement, but the athletes they work with also get traumatic injuries to their bones and soft tissues, and are highly motivated to get back in their game. I looked it over carefully and saw nothing outlandish, and decided to follow the recommendations as best as I could. I have a lot of experience with food plans and supplements, so I felt comfortable trying things on my own, but I would suggest that checking with your doctor before doing any nutrition program is a good idea.
I truly believe that following the Precision Nutrition recommendations helped my tissues to heal more quickly and effectively than they would have otherwise. I mean, it still takes the time it takes (usually six weeks for soft tissue) but I was able to do short spurts of functional activities like walking, climbing stairs and getting in and out of cars much sooner than my PT expected. Even my surgeon seemed impressed by how normally I appeared to be moving when I saw him for my 6-week follow-up.
Here's what I did (your choices may be different--check out the website yourself):
1) I focused on high-quality protein and vegetables. For example, I ate more salmon, sardines, chicken, eggs, local beef and lamb than I normally do. I was drawn to organic steamed and roasted vegies, and later on salads also began to appeal to me. I avoided processed foods, spicy foods, and caffeine. My body didn't want them anyway!
2) I ate a lot of fresh pineapple for the bromelein, and fruit and vegies that were a rainbow of colors.
3) As recommended I took 10,000 IUs of Vitamin A for 2--4 weeks, and for Vitamin C I used one 1000 mg packet of Emergen-C a day (plus the Vitamin C in the fruits and berries I was eating). My daily multi vitamin and mineral supplement included the recommended amount of copper and zinc.
4) As recommended, I did my best to balance dietary fat--1/3 saturated, 1/3 monounsaturated, 1/3 polyunsaturated. I took fish oil supplements, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, flax seeds, avocados . . . see the website for details.
5) I mentioned before that the Oxycontin I took for three days after the surgery caused a major problem with constipation. I was consuming 4--5 stewed prunes daily to help with that, but that was not sufficient. In retrospect, I wish I had started taking the suggested stool softener right away (I know, I know, TMI). Or, I wish I had said no to the Oxycontin all together and just used the 8-hour Tylenol that worked pretty well. I would have had to be willing to endure some of the deep pain that the Oxycontin helped with, but that's a trade-off I would be willing to make if I had to do it again!
Again, this nutrition protocol seemed to work well for me. My body felt satisfied and content with these choices--always a good sign! I can't prove that this program enhanced my healing process, but I believe that it did. Plus, I figure that if I do a protocol that athletes do, athletes who are highly motivated to get moving again, and it helps them, why not me?