How can following a low sodium diet decrease swelling after facial plastic surgery such as rhinoplasty, fat grafting and facelift?

In my last blog post I reviewed several ways to decrease your facial swelling after having facial plastic surgery. Today I'll elaborate a bit on one of the most powerful techniques I mentioned: The Low Sodium Diet

1500 mg a day keeps the swelling away

As I'd mentioned last time, by limiting sodium intake to 1500 mg a day or less you end up producing a diuretic effect where you retain less retain body fluid, especially in the area your surgery was done.

It turns out that it is quite easy to go over that amount, even if you never touch a salt shaker. Many processed and prepared foods are full of sodium and this is where things really add up.

Foods to Avoid

The majority of sodium in the American diet comes from processed and prepared food. These foods are often high in salt and also in additives that contain sodium. Examples of foods in this category include bread, prepared dinners (frozen dinners), cold cuts, bacon, cheese, soup, salad dressing, canned/pickled foods, and fast foods.

It also turns out that milk is naturally relatively high in sodium.

So What Can You Eat?

The beauty of the 1500 mg limit a day is that you can eat whatever you want, but you end up rationing your sodium intake throughout the day rather than busting your limit with some soy sauce. I've found several tips that allow you to maintain a tasty, yet reduced sodium diet:
  • Eat fresh food: the majority of fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally low sodium. It also turns out that fresh meat is quite low in sodium. Just make sure it hasn't been injected with a sodium solution. Plain pasta and rice are also nutritious yet low in sodium.
  • Use herbs, spices and zest to add flavor to your meals.
  • Use oil and balsamic vinegar instead of store bought salad dressing
  • For breakfast try plain Old Fashion Oatmeal. For flavor add brown sugar, raisins, or the like (there's no limit on sugar, remember?)
  • Big fan of pasta sauce? Find a low salt recipe and make your own to put on your pasta.
  • Make your own low sodium soup
Fortunately, most foods these days come with nutrition labels that allow you to count your sodium intake throughout the day.  There are even several apps available for your phone that will help you keep track! In the end , you'll find that by following a low sodium diet to help with your facial swelling  you will end up eating significantly more healthy food.

If you've tried my low sodium diet suggestions to help reduce your post-treatment swelling, please leave your tips and food suggestions below.


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