Foods To Eat and Avoid After Prostate Surgery

Prostate surgery can affect your weight, appetite, and eating habits. 

Many patients start consuming processed and unhealthy foods right after their surgery, which may lead to urinary incontinence, bladder irritation, and delayed recovery from the surgical procedure. 

This article discusses foods to avoid after prostate surgery and which foods you should eat.

Why Is a Healthy Diet Important After Surgery?

Prostate surgery is major surgery, so you’ll likely feel quite sore during your recovery. You’ll want to make adjustments to your diet that help aid in recovery and reduce discomfort.

The best foods to eat after prostate surgery should be those that don’t cause bloating, promote bowel regularity, and support your immune system. Protein is also important since it aids in wound healing and muscle growth after major surgery.

Consuming spices, high-fat foods, carbonated beverages, and alcohol right after surgery could cause constipation, irritate your bladder, and may sap your appetite and drain your energy. 

Therefore, eating a whole-food diet is crucial for recovery and preventing complications like high blood glucose and constipation. 

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7 Foods To Avoid After Prostate Surgery

The following is a list of foods that you should avoid after prostate surgery.

1. Cheese 

Constipation is very common even after non-abdominal surgeries. This is because the functioning of the gastrointestinal system is temporarily altered because of a lack of general movement, pain medication, and anesthesia. 

Consumption of soft cheese can also cause constipation. High-fat cheese can also trigger nausea, so it is recommended not to eat cheese for a few days after surgery. 

2. Spicy Foods

As already discussed, spicy and fried foods are not rich in essential nutrients. These types of foods can wait till your body is fully recovered and replenished with essential nutrients. 

After the surgery, it is good to focus on consuming foods with high nutritional value, such as zinc, vitamins C, D, and E, and protein. 

Moreover, surgeons do not recommend eating spicy foods right after surgery because they can upset your stomach and irritate your bladder. Eating fried foods can often trigger vomiting and nausea.  

3. Alcohol

Your body requires healthy fluids to recover after surgery. But consumption of alcohol can lead to severe dehydration. Doctors also suggest that alcohol should not be consumed in combination with prescription pain medications. 

So, if you’re taking pain medications after surgery, it is imperative that you avoid alcohol because pain medication combined with alcohol can slow down your breathing and affect your thinking. 

Drinking the following fluids can help your post-operative recovery process:

  • Water
  • Fruit juices
  • Tea
  • Sparkling water mixed with fresh fruit juice
  • Non-alcoholic beverages

4. Highly Processed Foods

Focusing on nutritious and high-quality food is very important if you want to recover faster after surgery. 

Highly processed snack foods, such as chips, ice cream, cake, and cookies, might taste good, but they are not a good nutritional choice. 

Lack of fiber, minerals, and vitamins delays the time the body takes to heal. Low-fiber processed foods can also cause constipation. 

High fat and sugar in processed foods promote unnecessary inflammation. Instead of highly processed foods, opt for cruciferous vegetables and fresh fruits.

5. Red Meat

Post-operative patients are not advised to eat red meat because it has a very high saturated fat profile. 

Although red meat, like beef, is rich in lean proteins, it produces polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) when cooked at a very high temperature. 

These carcinogens increase the risk of the development of certain cancers. 

Daily consumption of the following red and processed meat has been linked with iron overload and certain cancers after surgery:

  • Hot dogs
  • Sausage
  • Lunch meats
  • Pork
  • Beef

6. Milk & Dairy Products

Like red meat, very high daily consumption of full-fat milk and dairy products can cause constipation and bloating in some patients post-surgery. 

The surgery itself can significantly impact the digestive system. Consumption of dairy products can further add to the workload and functioning of the digestive system. 

Try to limit these dairy products:

  • Full-fat butter 
  • Full-fat cheese
  • Whole milk
  • Full-fat ice cream

7. Added Sugars

Consuming sugary foods, artificial sweeteners, and sugary beverages after the surgery not only affects your digestive system but also depletes your body of essential nutrients, resulting in slow recovery. 

Post-surgery, your body needs minerals and vitamins. High-sugar foods, such as white rice, white bread, and sugary cereals, can delay the body’s healing process, causing bloating and promoting inflammation because of minimal nutritional value. 

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8 best foods to eat after prostate surgery

1. Whole grains

Whole grains are a good source of fiber which promotes bowel regularity and prevents constipation. They are also higher in nutrients compared to refined grains.

Oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, and whole-grain crackers are all examples of whole grains, which are great foods to eat after prostate surgery.

You should aim to get at least 30 grams of fiber per day. Foods with at least three grams of fiber per serving are considered food sources of fiber and can help you meet that daily requirement.

2. Chicken breast

Chicken is an excellent source of protein. Your protein needs increase after major surgery as your body recovers and heals. Chicken breast is low in saturated fat, making it a heart-healthy protein source.

Like other types of meat, chicken breast is a good source of iron. Iron is a mineral that helps build oxygen-rich red blood cells, which can help reduce your chance of developing anemia after blood loss from surgery.

3. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which helps support your immune system. Vitamin C also helps synthesize collagen, an important protein for skin growth. 

If your body produces more collagen, you may be less likely to scar from your incision.

4. Nuts

Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are a great source of protein, fiber, and healthy fat. 

They’re also convenient to have on hand for a snack while you’re resting in bed or for a protein boost in the car on the way to post-op check-ups.

Nuts are also a good source of zinc, a mineral important for wound healing and immune health. 

Other sources of zinc include:

  • Oysters
  • Crab
  • Oats
  • Vegetables
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lobster
  • Chickpeas

5. Legumes

Legumes like lentils, black beans, garbanzo beans, and pinto beans (among many other types of beans) are packed with plant-based protein

Your body needs around one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight during your recovery to promote healing. This would equal around 82 grams per day for a 180-pound person. 

One-half cup of cooked black beans provides around eight grams of protein, which is almost 10% of your entire day’s requirement.

That same serving size of black beans contains an impressive seven grams of fiber, which helps prevent constipation

You might suffer from constipation after surgery due to the anesthesia, pain medication, and inactivity related to prostate surgery, which is why legumes are among some of the best foods to eat after prostate surgery.

6. Strawberries

Citrus fruits are the most well-known vitamin C-rich food, but strawberries shouldn’t be overlooked for their vitamin C content. 

One cup of strawberries provides over 140% of the recommended amount of vitamin C.

Vitamin C levels fall in your body after surgery. To replenish depleted vitamin C levels and support your immune health, make sure you’re eating foods C-rich foods like strawberries in your diet after prostate surgery.

7. Salmon

Fatty fish like salmon are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent muscle atrophy, according to a study

Muscle atrophy can occur when your activity level is lower than normal, such as when you’re resting more as you recover from prostate surgery.

Salmon is high in fat, but it’s considered a healthy fat. Healthy fats can help promote bowel regularity (in addition to fiber) to help prevent post-surgery constipation. Fish is also a great source of protein, and salmon is especially rich in vitamin D.

8. Vegetables

Vegetables are rich in fiber as well as antioxidants that help prevent inflammation. 

To err on the safe side, avoid eating large amounts of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, which can cause gas and possible bloating during the initial phase of your recovery.

Some of the best vegetables that don’t usually cause gas include leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, etc.), bell peppers, green beans, and zucchini.


Your body’s reserves are completely drained after surgery. Therefore, it is crucial to replenish your body with essential nutrients and avoid harmful food that can impair your recovery process. 

Along with following your healthcare provider’s post-surgery recommendations, eating a well-balanced diet can help you recover from prostate surgery. 

The list discussed in this article covers the foods you should avoid after prostate surgery and healthy alternatives you should eat instead.

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  1. Gong Z, Kristal AR, Schenk JM, Tangen CM, Goodman PJ, Thompson IM. Alcohol consumption, finasteride, and prostate cancer risk. Cancer 2009;115:3661–9.
  2. Song P, Lu M, Yin Q, Wu L, Zhang D, Fu B, et al. Red meat consumption and stomach cancer risk: a meta-analysis. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 2014;140:979–92.

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