Inflammation after Bariatric Surgery

Fight Inflammation After Bariatric Surgery with these Seven Foods

May 18, 2022

126 million! That’s the number of results that came up on Google when I searched the words “inflammation and diet”. Is inflammation a good thing or a not-so-good thing? When talking about your body, it can be both. Inflammation is good when it’s short term such as when you cut yourself and your immune system sends in white blood cells to jump-start the healing process. You can handle inflammation after bariatric surgery!

Inflammation is not so good when it becomes chronic or ongoing inflammation in your body. This type of inflammation, which is invisible to your eyes, has been implicated as an underlying cause of many common diseases from heart disease and autoimmune illnesses like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis to some cancers, diabetes, and even stroke. There are ways you can fight inflammation after bariatric surgery.

On-going inflammation in your body can damage blood vessels which increases your risk for problems with your heart. Inflammation can also damage your genes or increase the development of blood vessels which enable cancer cells to spread.

Chronic Inflammation and Obesity are Linked

Did you know that chronic inflammation and obesity are linked too? Research studies indicate that obesity may be causing chronic inflammation which in turn causes insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that helps your cells take up sugar.

If your body becomes resistant to insulin, your blood glucose or blood sugar remains high as insulin is having trouble doing its job. Insulin resistance could be a factor in both diabetes and weight gain. These effects make obesity and inflammation a case of the chicken and the egg. Which comes first? Obesity may cause inflammation while chronic inflammation may eventually lead to obesity.

This inflammation in your body raises the level in the blood of C-reactive protein or what’s known as CRP for short. The liver produces this CRP during periods of inflammation so it makes sense that if the body has chronic inflammation going on, the CRP level will be elevated. Health care practitioners measure this level of general inflammation in the body with a blood test called high-sensitivity C-reactive protein or hs-CRP.

The good news is that the food you choose to eat can be anti-inflammatory and help bring down the C-reactive protein level. Numerous foods are touted to single-handedly fight inflammation. But that’s just not how it works.

For your diet to have an anti-inflammatory effect and the ultimate success from food, the key is synergy. Think of your favorite basketball, soccer, or football teams. To win and to continue to win, the team must work closely together. In the same way, the synergistic effect of nutrients and bioactive compounds consumed together like a team from a variety of healthy foods provides the best anti-inflammatory outcome.

Fight Inflammation after Bariatric Surgery

Fight inflammation after bariatric surgery with these foods when you have progressed thru the various diet phases and now eat a regular diet.

Add these seven anti-inflammatory foods as a regular part of your meal planning:

Inflammation after Bariatric Surgery

Flaxseeds, Walnuts and Pumpkin Seeds

Flaxseeds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds are plant sources of omega-3 fats which have an anti-inflammatory role in the body. This plant source is called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA.
Inflammation after Bariatric Surgery

Garlic, Herbs and Spices

Fight inflammation after bariatric surgery with these! They contain various anti-inflammatory phytochemicals or naturally occurring plant nutrients. Until exact amounts for the diet are determined, you can easily include garlic, turmeric, ginger, oregano, rosemary, thyme and pepper as part of your daily diet.
Inflammation after Bariatric Surgery

Surprise: Fiber!

Believe it or not, fiber ranks as one of the most anti-inflammatory food components. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not absorbed by your body so it helps to keep you full without adding extra calories. Foods rich in fiber include whole grains (think oatmeal, quinoa, whole wheat), nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

What about beans such as black, kidney or garbanzo and lentils? Yes, also a good source of fiber and low on the glycemic index, they help keep your blood sugar in check. And when you eat more beans and lentils you tend to crave and eat less processed foods that have zero nutritional value such as cookies, cakes, chips and pastries which by the way can make your blood sugar level spike and have been tied to inflammation.

And today’s special is a serving of Science 101. Beans and whole grains contain fermentable fiber, which may be particularly helpful to the microbiota of the colon. This fermentable fiber produces butyrate, a fatty acid that assists in maintaining the intestinal wall and protecting from substances that could increase inflammation.

Bottom line: when you are choosing the carbs for your day, choose smart ones that contain fiber as they will make a difference in your health after surgery.

Vegetables and Fruit

For the best anti-inflammatory benefits, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is the goal due to the powerful assortment of naturally occurring phytochemical or plant nutrients found in them. 

One easy tip: choose a colorful combination of fruits and vegetables to know you are eating a variety.

Sweet potatoes, spinach, blueberries, raspberries and mango are all good examples of color and variety. Don’t forget Bing cherries and tart cherries. The Agricultural Research Service has conducted studies on Bing cherries and found that regular consumption lowers the CRP inflammation marker in the body. Anthocyanins are one of the natural phytonutrients in tart cherries that give them their bright red color. These phytonutrients are linked to reduced inflammation.


such as tuna, salmon and sardines are rich in omega-3 fats which help suppress inflammation. Eating fish once or twice a week is a smart goal.

AND 7!

Avocados and nutsYou can fight inflammation after bariatric surgery with these as they are rich in monounsaturated fats which are considered to be the more heart healthy type of fat. Both contain anti-inflammatory components. Eating these also helps you to cut down on saturated fat which can raise the lousy LDL cholesterol level and promote inflammation.

Bonus: avocados and nuts are filling and help you feel satisfied.


Fight Inflammation after Bariatric Surgery Summary

The secret to the success of the anti-inflammatory diet is the synergistic effect from a variety of foods such as beans and lentils, herbs and spices, fruits and vegetables, nuts, avocado, and fish. Yes, you still need to limit the portions to the amounts that fit into your plan for the day but they all are rich in various vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and bioactive compounds which work together to lower the level of inflammation in the body.

Registered dietitian nutritionist Dr. Susan Mitchell  is the host of the podcast Bariatric Surgery Success

Inflammation after Bariatric Surgery
Susan Mitchell


Bariatric dietitian Dr. Susan Mitchell is host of the podcast Bariatric Surgery Success. Selected as one of the Best 35 Dietitian Podcasts, Bariatric Surgery Success was chosen from thousands of podcasts on the web ranked by traffic, social media followers, domain authority & freshness. Dr. Susan helps you conquer cravings, emotional eating and weight regain after bariatric surgery with a focus on your nutrition and health, journey and success. Read more articles by Susan!