What Foods Should I Eat or Avoid When Getting a Tattoo?

It’s a small chance that a tattoo is one of your more spontaneous ideas. The likelihood is that you considered the decision awhile, and spent considerable time deliberating the
nifty details: the placement of the tattoo, the tattoo artist, and of course, the design of the tattoo.

Your concern now is how you will prepare for the Big Day. There are the logistical issues of getting to and from the tattoo artist and paying the price tag for their work. What may be overlooked, however, is how to take care of your body prior to the event.

Since the process of getting a tattoo is one that induces trauma to your skin, it is important to nourish your body appropriately to help the body optimally deal with the physical trauma and recover. So carefully consider what food you eat and what food you need to be careful to avoid before getting a tattoo.

Here we run through of some foods to eat prior to getting that tattoo you’ve so longed for. We’ll also include foods that you should be careful to avoid prior to getting a tattoo. Following this informal advice will help your tattoo-getting process run more smoothly.

Foods To Make Sure You Eat Prior To Getting Your Tattoo

H2O
Hydration is key. It’s preferable that you hydrate with plenty of water but other forms of liquid can also accomplish the task, as long as they are not diuretic. It is recommended that you drink eight glasses of water a day. However, if you reside in a humid climate or engage in a lot of physical activity (especially cardio) where more than the usual amount of water is excreted from your body during daily activities, you may consider drinking more than the recommended amount to keep yourself properly hydrated.

Also, if you consume alcohol or anything with caffeine, you may also need to drink more than the recommended daily amount to keep yourself properly hydrated, because alcohol and caffeinated beverages impose diuretic effects on your body.

All in all, water is one of the first nutrients you need to be mindful of consuming in preparation for your tattoo.

Vitamin C
Though studies are conflicting on whether vitamin C is good at preventing sickness in its entirety, it is generally accepted that vitamin C is good for improving your body’s natural defenses. Upping your body’s natural defense means enhancing your body’s immune system, and this is especially important if you plan on inducing trauma to your body, as in the case of getting a tattoo.

Outside of its role in improving one’s immune system, vitamin C is also important for many other functions. This includes collagen formation, iron absorption, maintenance of gums and teeth, and healing, which are all important functions to ensure if you are getting a tattoo. Since getting a tattoo is a minor trauma, you want to ensure that your body at its optimal functioning capacity. That way, it can quickly recoup and recover.

Good sources of vitamin C are plentiful in the modern diet. Oranges, and other citrus fruits like grapefruit or lime in water, are good examples. Other less known examples which contain vitamin C are strawberries, potatoes, broccoli, or peppers. Orange juice or other citrus juice is also a good source, though be careful to avoid the brands containing unnecessary high-fructose corn syrup or other added sugar.

Protein
Protein is oftentimes associated with the growth of muscle and indeed, it is true that it aids in the growth of and repair of muscle tissue. However, on a broader scale, protein is an essential nutrient that helps your body parts grow and heal. With that said, it is another helpful nutrient to consume prior to getting your tattoo.

Good sources of protein include the stereotypical meat sources, like beef or dairy. Otherwise, the lesser common pescatarian options are also acceptable, since many types of fish are also high in protein. Egg whites are also a good source of protein and
even some breads contain protein, though the source of protein is best if it’s gotten from meat, fish or a meat substitute, like tofu.

Other supplements to consider
There are a few other nutrients to consider with regards to maximizing your body’s condition prior to getting your tattoo. Zinc is an example. Zinc is oftentimes coupled with vitamin C to maximize the body’s immune system.

Like vitamin C, Zinc also aids the immune system in fighting potential invading bacteria and helping the body resist infection. This is especially important in times of stress, such as when the body experiences blunt trauma as is the case with a needle in getting a tattoo.

Zinc also enhances wound healing and it is also known to minimize or reduce swelling. Both functions are relevant to an individual considering getting a tattoo, because the prick of the needle against the skin in the tattoo-making process can impose trauma to the skin that needs to heal.

So it is important for one to maximize their body’s ability to heal fast and without much swelling, and zinc can certainly help. Zinc can be found in protein-rich sources such as meat and chicken, and it can also be taken as a supplement in tablet or powder forms. Many foods are fortified with the nutrient, so that’s yet another way to consume it. Another way to consume Zinc is by purchasing a supplement and ingesting it in a pill form. Zinc supplements are very cost effective and can be found here (Amazon Link).

Foods to Make Sure You Avoid

Alcohol
It is very important to be hydrated prior to getting your tattoo. Alcohol is one substance that counteracts any hydration that you intake, and instead works to dehydrate you. This is not something that is optimal for someone undergoing trauma (as minor as it may be), such as getting a tattoo. Alcohol is also a substance that thins the blood. So if you are a regular drinker, it is important that you abstain for a few days prior to getting your tattoo.

Getting a tattoo involves a needle against the skin, with the potential for some bleeding as is. Adding a substance that would encourage more bleeding than is necessary is unadvisable.

Caffeine
Caffeine-containing substances, including coffee or energy drinks, are another substance you should avoid prior to getting a tattoo. Like alcohol, caffeine works to dehydrate your body, as a diuretic.

As mentioned, hydration is imperative to feeling well, especially on the day when one is getting a tattoo because of the minor trauma involved. So it is important to avoid anything with caffeine prior to getting your tattoo.

Another reason to avoid caffeine is it’s psychological effects are not ideal for a situation where you must remain still and calm. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it is not designed to make an individual sit still and calmly as you would need to while getting a tattoo but rather makes the typical individual jumpy and fidgety.

During your tattoo session, you will need to sit still, so that the artist can best exact his design. Therefore, avoid caffeine at least 12 hours prior to your tattoo appointment.

Salt and Dairy
Though the two are very different substances, both can cause bloat. A bloated skin will potentially distort the final finish of the tattoo. If the tattoo artist is drawing a tattoo on skin that is bloated, the final art piece may look a bit distorted once the skin returns to its original size. So both salt and dairy should be avoided at least a day prior to your tattoo appointment.

How To Keep Yourself Nourished Prior to Getting a Tattoo

So with that long list of dos and donts of what to eat prior to getting a tattoo, hopefully you now feel well informed on how to take care of yourself prior to the event. Since getting a tattoo is a mildly traumatic process, with the needle coming in contact with the skin and puncturing it, it is important to keep your body nourished so that it can optimally recover.

Hydration is especially important. Protein-rich foods, calcium-rich foods, and foods with zinc are all highly recommended. These foods help recovery and promote healing, while keeping the body’s defenses strong.

Avoiding alcohol or caffeine due to their diuretic properties is also something to consider. Additionally, avoiding the two substances prior to your tattoo appointment ensures that you have a level-headed psychological state during the tattoo-getting process.

Lastly, dairy is another food important to avoid because it induces bloating. Now you have some detailed tips on what foods to eat and what foods not to eat prior to getting a tattoo. If you have considered getting a tattoo for a long while, taking a little time to research on how to prepare yourself is important. Knowing what you know now, you are all the more prepared.

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