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Nutrition and Diet

Patients who have undergone heart surgery at Providence St. Peter Hospital will receive a written diet to follow when they return home. For most patients this focuses on foods with limited fat, low cholesterol, and no added salt. However, many patients have other medical conditions, so the diet will be specific to individual needs.

In addition to helping with overall recovery after heart surgery, nutrition is an important part of incision healing. It is particularly important that your diet includes high-protein foods, which are key in helping wounds heal.

Below are general guidelines for the amount of protein needed each day, based on weight:

110-130 pounds 60-70 grams
140-160 pounds 75-85 grams
170-190 pounds 90-100 grams
200-220 pounds 110-120 grams
230-250+ pounds 125+ grams

High Protein Foods

Chicken Breast (3 oz) 14 grams
Fish (haddock, perch, pollock) (1 oz) 6.5 grams
Egg (whole) 6 grams
Egg substitute (1/4 cup) 7.5 grams
Lean ground beef (3 oz) 24 grams
Tuna fish (3 oz) 20 grams
Pork tenderloin (3 oz) 18 grams
Low-fat cottage cheese (1/2 cup) 13.4 grams
Milk (8 oz) 8 grams
Yogurt (6 oz) 6-15 grams
Cheese (1 oz) 7 grams
Peanut butter (2 Tbsp) 8 grams
Soy Milk (8 oz) 11 grams
Tofu, firm (1/2 cup) 20 grams
Nuts (peanuts, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, etc.) (1 oz) 6 grams
Sunflower seeds (1 oz) 5.5 grams
Vegetable or soy patty (1 patty) 11 grams

Protein supplement products (such as Ensure, Ensure Plus, Equate, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfast and Whey-based protein drinks/powders) can also provide additional protein (from 9-25 grams of protein per serving). These products can be found in local grocery stores, drug stores, Wal-Mart, Target and similar stores.

Helpful Resources for Heart Healthy Nutrition

  • Registered Dietitians at Providence St. Peter Hosptial, available at (360) 493-7293
  • No White at Night , diet and book developed by Dr. Bill Gavin from Providence Cardiology Associates in Olympia
  • Delicious Decisions, recipes from the American Heart Association
  • Diet and Nutrition, a variety of nutrition information from the American Heart Association
  • Stay Young at Heart: Cooking the Heart-Healthy Way, recipes from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute