Q: What is the best nutrition for wound healing?
If you have a wound, proper care is essential to healing and preventing infection. That can mean keeping the area clean and dry, changing dressings regularly, and taking any medications you’ve been prescribed. It also means eating well. That’s because your body needs good nutrition in order to heal.
During the healing process, you’ll need extra calories, protein, and vitamins while your body grows new tissue and fights off infection. Most people need about 15 additional calories per pound of body weight when they are healing a wound. If you weigh 150 pounds, that means you should eat an additional 2,250 calories per day on top of your regular diet. Try getting in more calories by adding several healthy snacks throughout the day.
It’s also important to eat more protein, as studies have linked protein intake with improved healing rates. In addition to giving your body the raw materials to grow more cells and tissue, protein helps fight infection, keeps your body’s fluids balanced, and improves circulation to support healing. Eat more protein by adding lean meat like chicken or fish to your diet, having eggs for breakfast, or eating more plant-based proteins like peanut butter, almond butter, beans, or tofu. Anti-inflammatory foods such as pineapples and turmeric are also helpful.
Vitamins and minerals are also essential nutrients to the healing process, especially Vitamin C, Vitamin B-complex, and Vitamin A. These nutrients support your immune system, promote cell growth, and increase the oxygen supply to the wound. Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, or take a multivitamin to make sure you’re getting enough.
Finally, it’s important to stay hydrated while you’re healing. Wounds cause your body to lose fluids, especially if the wound is draining, so make sure you’re drinking extra water or other non-caffeinated, low-sugar drinks to rehydrate.
Maui Memorial Medical Center’s Wound Care and Hyperbaric Therapy Clinic provides a comprehensive approach to wound healing, including advanced care for non-healing wounds. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (808) 986-4500 or visit mauihealth.org/woundcare.