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If you have a wound that is going to take time to heal, your doctor may recommend that you eat foods high in Vitamin C and protein. Foods high in Vitamin C and protein include green leafy vegetables, meat, eggs, fish, whole grains and citrus fruits. These foods help to encourage healing because of the minerals and vitamins they contain.
Having a wound puts extra demands on your body. It’s especially important to eat a healthy diet while you’re healing. Every day try to eat foods from a variety of sources that include the following: Carbohydrates supply the energy your body needs to heal.
Good choices include:
Protein provides building material for muscle and skin repair.
- 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
You need to eat at least two servings of protein (3 to 4 ounces each) every day. Good sources include:
Milk and dairy products are good sources of carbohydrates and protein.
- Any lean animal protein, such as beef, pork, poultry or fish
- Dried beans, peas, lentils and tofu
- Nuts, peanut butter and seeds
- Cottage cheese or cheese
Unless your doctor says not to eat dairy, be sure to include at least three servings per day. One serving of milk or yogurt is one cup. Soy milk can be substituted for regular milk. Water replaces fluid lost with draining wounds.
Make sure you drink at least 6 to 8 cups of liquids each day, unless your doctor tells you not to. Be sure to get enough healthy foods.
Here are some ideas that may help to promote wound healing:
- Eat smaller meals more often. It may be easier to eat six small meals per day rather than three larger meals.
- Eat healthy snacks. You can help get the nutrition you need by snacking between meals on healthy snacks such as cheese and crackers, cottage cheese and fruit, mixed nuts or trail mix, half a sandwich and a small piece of fruit, or peanut butter and sliced apples.
- Ask your doctor if you should take a nutritional supplement. If you’re still having trouble getting the nutrition you need to help you heal, talk with your doctor about using a nutritional supplement. A daily multivitamin can help if you’re not eating at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables every day. A nutrition supplement can help if you’re not able to get enough protein and calories.
- If you need further help getting enough calories and protein in your diet, contact a dietitian. Your healthcare providers can help you find one. Some people need to follow special diets for specific medical conditions. Ask your healthcare providers about good food choices for you.
To promote wound healing it is important to consume high protein foods (such as chicken and fish), vitamin, minerals, antioxidants (fruits, vegetables), adequate source of energy (whole grains), and fluids. Protein (only nutrient that provide the body with nitrogen) play an important role in the synthesis of enzymes and is required for all stages of wound healing. In order for the body to spare protein for buildup and repair, we must first meet our caloric needs.
Nurse Midwife Paula Greer discusses a specific food that can help wounds to heal. Watch Paula Greer's video for tips and information on nursing and overall health.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.