Following a Low Residue Diet After Surgery

We’d like to dedicate some more discussion to dieting after a major surgery, like ostomy. It’s usually a significant hurdle for many patients, leading them to seek help from dietary specialists.

You may hear experts mention an approach called a “Low Residue Diet.” This is a way of dieting right after you’ve had ostomy surgery, when your digestive system is most sensitive. We’d like to explain what that is (with food examples), and illustrate the specific vitamins and nutrients you get that help you recover from surgery.

What is a Low Residue Diet?

A Low Residue Diet helps post-surgery patients heal their colon and/or adjust to ostomy conditions through an approach that limits one’s fiber intake. It also emphasizes the need to avoid nuts and seeds since they don’t digest well without the aid of a functioning colon.

The primary objective is to limit the “residue” forced upon the digestive system with some items. For many ostomy patients, this might also include limiting or eliminating dairy products (like milk and yogurt) since those contribute to gaseousness and indigestion.

Examples of Low Residue Diet Foods

  • Skinless Potatoes (cooked)
  • Avocado
  • Tomato sauce, fresh fruits, and canned fruits without seeds
  • Lean meats (excluding beef)
  • Cooked Veggies
  • Margarine, Butter, Coconut Oil
  • Ripe Bananas
  • Most smooth sauces, honeys, jelly, mayonnaise, sour cream, and ketchup (again, avoiding anything with seeds)

While those are some of the best items for the Low Residue approach, you should also know about the “problem foods.” This would include anything with lots of seeds, nuts, whole grains, mushrooms, raw veggies, beans, lentils, cured/smoked meats, popcorn, pickles, and olives. 

Essential Vitamins to Focus on with the Low Residue System

  • Zinc – When someone is recovering from surgery, it’s automatically a time of heightened risk for immune-deficiency issues. That makes zinc an essential dietary resource after an ostomy procedure. You can find this in various foods or take it as a supplement for an abundance of healthy enzyme activity.
  • Vitamin E – This antioxidant vitamin comes from foods like eggs, avocado, and shrimp, important alternatives to all those off-limits items. Therefore, you can replace those foods (seeds and nuts) with more digestible components to retain the anti-inflammatory advantages of Vitamin E.
  • Quality Fats (Omega 3s) – Food items like fish, lean chicken, and avocado can be very helpful for ostomy patients as clean sources of Omega 3s, the nutritious fatty acids. As long as it’s low fiber, your body will benefit from healthy sources of fats and cholesterol.

So, as you can see, the Low Residue Diet has several advantages, making it ideal for many ostomy patients.

Would you like to learn about ostomy topics and find a resource for safe, effective, and hypoallergenic supplies?

Cymed MicroSkin is at your service, producing the industry’s best pouches, pouch systems, and ostomy accessories. Contact us anytime to ask about ostomy dieting, supplies, or anything else we offer by calling 800-582-0707.