Healing Wounds and Nutrition
Having a wound puts extra demands on your body. To heal, a person needs more calories and more nutrients, according to Gina Salvatori, a registered dietitian with CHC Solutions, Inc., and Cheryl Hutton, a wound, ostomy and continence nurse with CHC Solutions, Inc. Wounds heal faster if you get enough of the right foods – and if you don’t, they heal more slowly.
Follow the guidelines below to promote healing:
Protein provides the building material for muscle and skin repair. It also helps boost immunity. Eat 3 to 4 servings per day. One serving is about four ounces.
Good sources of protein include:
- Lean cuts of meat, such as beef, pork, chicken or fish
- Dried beans, peas, lentil or tofu
- Nuts, peanut butter or seeds
- Cheese, yogurt or eggs
Carbohydrates supply the energy your body needs to heal.
Good choices include:
- Whole grain breads and cereals
- Potatoes, rice or pasta
- A variety of fruits and vegetables
- Foods with vitamin A, such as bright orange fruits and vegetables and dark green leafy vegetables
- Foods with vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, cantaloupe and broccoli
If a person has diabetes, they should carefully follow the diet and medication recommendations for their diabetes. If their wounds are not healing, follow up with a dietician or other healthcare provider.
Milk and Dairy Products
Milk and dairy products are good sources of both carbohydrates and protein. Unless a doctor says not to eat dairy, be sure to include at least 3 servings per day. One serving of milk or yogurt is one cup. Soymilk can be substituted for regular milk.
Water replaces fluid lost with draining wounds. Make sure to drink at least 6-8 glasses per day unless a doctor says otherwise.
Vitamins and Minerals
Individuals can get most of the vitamins and minerals they need from eating a well-balanced diet. If a person is not eating at least 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables, their doctor or dietitian may recommend a daily multi-vitamin. Only take other vitamins or minerals as recommended by a healthcare provider.
Some people have trouble eating enough at meals to promote wound healing. There are a few ways to help resolve this issue:
- Eat smaller meals more often. It may be easier to eat 6 small meals per day rather than 3 larger meals.
- Eat healthy snacks. People can get more of the nutrition they need by snacking between meals on healthy foods such as:
- Cheese and crackers
- Cottage cheese and fruit
- Half a sandwich and a small piece of fruit
- Peanut butter or nuts and sliced apples
- Granola bars and fresh fruit
If you need further help getting enough calories and protein in your diet, contact a dietitian. A healthcare provider can help you find one.
*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.