What to Eat After ACL Surgery

What to Eat After ACL Surgery

ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery is a common procedure performed to repair a torn ligament in the knee. After the surgery, it is crucial to follow a proper diet to aid in the healing process and support overall recovery. Here are some guidelines on what to eat after ACL surgery:

1. Protein-rich foods: Consuming adequate protein is essential for tissue repair. Include lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, and plant-based protein sources like legumes and tofu in your meals.

2. Fruits and vegetables: These provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and promote healing. Aim for a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables daily.

3. Whole grains: Opt for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread, as they provide more nutrients and fiber compared to refined grains.

4. Healthy fats: Include sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats help reduce inflammation and support joint health.

5. Hydration: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and aid in the recovery process. Avoid excessive consumption of sugary drinks and alcohol, as they may hinder healing.

6. Iron-rich foods: Iron is essential for proper wound healing. Include iron-rich foods like spinach, beans, lentils, lean meats, and fortified cereals in your diet.

7. Omega-3 fatty acids: These healthy fats found in fatty fish like salmon and sardines have anti-inflammatory properties. If you don’t consume fish, consider taking an omega-3 supplement after consulting with your doctor.


1. Can I eat fast food after ACL surgery?
It is best to avoid fast food as it is often high in unhealthy fats, sodium, and sugars. These can hinder the healing process and may contribute to weight gain.

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2. Should I take any supplements after ACL surgery?
Discuss with your doctor whether you need any specific supplements. Generally, a well-balanced diet should provide the necessary nutrients. However, some individuals may require additional supplements such as vitamin D or calcium.

3. Can I drink coffee or tea?
Moderate consumption of coffee or tea is generally fine. However, excessive caffeine intake may interfere with sleep, which is crucial for recovery.

4. Is it okay to have dessert or sweets?
Occasional indulgence in desserts or sweets is acceptable. However, try to limit your intake of sugary foods as they may contribute to inflammation and weight gain.

5. How soon after surgery can I start eating normally?
Your doctor or dietitian will provide specific guidelines based on your individual recovery. Generally, you can gradually transition to a normal diet within a few days or weeks after surgery.

6. Should I avoid dairy products?
Dairy products are a good source of protein and calcium. Unless you have a specific intolerance or allergy, there is no need to avoid them.

7. Can I drink alcohol after ACL surgery?
Alcohol should be avoided or consumed in moderation, as it can interfere with the healing process and may interact with pain medications.

Remember, always consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalized dietary advice after ACL surgery.