Foods To Avoid After An Appendectomy To Reduce Complications

An appendectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the appendix. 

When the appendix becomes inflamed or infected, it may provoke symptoms such as fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, and nausea. 

If the appendix bursts, it can cause unwanted bacteria to enter the body, causing peritonitis. 

If left untreated, this can cause serious health complications. 

Research shows that 6-8% of the population suffers from appendicitis once in a lifetime. 

If you’ve recently had an appendectomy (appendix removal surgery), you may be wondering if you should make any changes to your diet.

So, to help you have the best possible recovery, here is a list of foods not to eat after appendix surgery and what to eat instead.

List of Foods Not To Eat After Appendix Surgery

1) High-fat foods

If you are just recovering from appendix surgery, you may want to avoid high-fat foods. 

Since they take longer to digest, it can increase the risk of nausea and vomiting. 

So, avoid foods such as:

  • Fast food
  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • High-fat meats (bacon, sausages, hot dogs, salami)
  • High-fat cheese (Cheddar, mozzarella, Colby, Pepper Jack)
  • Fried foods (donuts, French fries, fried chicken)

2) Highly-processed foods

After an appendix surgery, you also don’t want to eat foods that are highly processed. 

These foods tend to be high in sodium, additives, sugars, and chemicals that may irritate your digestive system. 

Make sure that you avoid the following foods:

  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Store-bought sauces
  • Frozen dinners
  • Donuts
  • Ice cream 
  • Candies

3) Alcohol

Finally, avoid any alcohol intake. After the first few days of surgery, it’s best to avoid alcohol since it may affect any medication you are taking. 

Drinking alcohol can also affect your healing process. For this reason, it’s best to avoid it altogether. 

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Foods To Eat After An Appendix Removal Operation

Now that you know which foods to avoid after ​​appendix surgery, let’s talk about the foods you want to eat. 

Start with a clear diet

If you’ve recently had an appendectomy, it’s best to first have a clear diet and then transition to a regular diet. 

A clear diet primarily consists of clear liquids, such as:

  • Teas
  • Broths
  • Soups
  • Juices

This typically doesn’t last for more than a day, but the duration of this diet should be recommended and supervised by a healthcare professional and may vary for each individual.

What to eat once you can resume a regular diet

Once the doctor gives you a thumbs up to start a regular diet, you can start including regular foods. 

However, make sure you do it slowly. While it may be tempting to include everything at once, you are still recovering, and you want to avoid any possible digestive issues

Here are some foods to eat when recovering from an appendix surgery. 

1) High-fiber foods

Adding high-fiber foods can help reduce the risk of post-surgery constipation. 

Eating enough fiber can help with recovery, especially if you are taking pain medication since it increases constipation.

Include options like:

  • Beans
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains

If you are not used to having a high-fiber diet, make sure you increase your fiber intake slowly to avoid any gastric problems. 

2) Vitamin C foods

Vitamin C can help with wound healing, meaning you can reduce your recovery time. This means eating the following foods:

  • Citric fruits
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Peppers
  • Brussels sprouts

3) High antioxidant foods

Research shows that antioxidants help reduce inflammation and help support immune function. You can find these in fruits and vegetables. 

Each colored fruit and vegetable has different antioxidants and nutrients. So, make sure you are having a varied diet. 

4) Zinc-rich foods

Zinc can aid in wound healing and enhance immune function. Good sources of zinc include:

  • Egg yolks
  • Milk products
  • Peanuts
  • Seeds

5) High-protein foods

Protein is necessary to build and repair skin. Add foods high in protein, such as: 

  • Greek yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Organ meats
  • Beef

Choose leaner protein options to avoid any gastric problems. 

Prior to introducing any of the mentioned foods, it is crucial to consult with your doctor to determine the most suitable dietary plan for your individual condition.

Adding foods too soon can delay recovery and can increase the risk of side effects (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach). 

Foods to eatFoods to avoid
High-fiber foodsHigh-fat foods
Vitamin C foodsHighly processed foods
Antioxidant foodsAlcohol
Zinc-rich foods
Lean protein

Recovery Tips After An Appendectomy

The recovery time for the surgery is typically a couple of days to weeks. It all depends on the type of procedure you have. 

Nutrition plays a crucial role in your recovery time. Including the wrong foods can extend your recovery. 

But nutrition is not the only factor that can affect your recovery process. 

Exercise, sleep, and daily movements are also worth mentioning. 

Here are some things you need to consider to take care of yourself at home after an appendectomy:

Get enough sleep

If you are tired, make sure you are getting enough sleep time and naps as necessary. 

Strive for at least 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep each night.  

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Try to walk

Engaging in light walking can enhance blood flow and aid in recovery. 

However, it is essential to begin slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration as advised by your healthcare provider.

Avoid lifting heavy things

Avoid lifting heavy objects like kids, bags, grocery bags, weights, and vacuum cleaners. 

Take care of your wound

Make sure you are constantly checking your wound for any signs of infection. Also, when handling the wound, clean your hands and thoroughly clean the wound as well. 

Stay hydrated

Water plays a crucial role in constipation. Get at least half your body weight (pounds) in ounces of water. 

If you don’t like drinking water too much, opt for natural flavoring such as tea or lemon slices. 


Although an appendectomy is a common surgical procedure, it doesn’t come without any post-surgery consequences. 

The foods you eat after appendix removal surgery can either improve or make the recovery a slower process. 

It is best not to eat foods high in fats, additives, sugars, and sodium after appendix surgery since they can increase the risk of side effects and won’t provide enough nutrients to aid in recovery. 

Instead, opt for natural ingredients high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber to make the recovery as smooth as possible. 

Make sure you speak with your doctor to understand the best practices post-surgery. 

Consult with your doctor not only about your dietary choices but also your medication regimen, physical activity restrictions, and schedule for follow-up appointments.

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  1. Guan, L., Liu, Z., Pan, G. et al. The global, regional, and national burden of appendicitis in 204 countries and territories, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. BMC Gastroenterol 23, 44. 2023.
  2. Fitzmaurice SD, Sivamani RK, Isseroff RR. Antioxidant therapies for wound healing: a clinical guide to currently commercially available products. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2011;24(3):113-26. doi: 10.1159/000322643. Epub 2011 Jan 15. PMID: 21242718.

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