A good diet is important for all-round health but if, for some reason you have health issues, then diet becomes extra important. Healthy nutrition is essential for the body to heal from any disease. And if there is a wound you are grappling with, then care must be taken to ensure that you eat a diet to promote wound healing.
There are foods for wound healing and wound healing nutrition plays an important role in helping you get back on your feet. If you do not eat the right kind of food then wound healing can be negatively impacted. In order to fight infections, your body has to be healthy and strong and this can come from the right food. Wounds can turn chronic in individuals with protein-energy malnutrition because of decreased collagen formation.
Nutrition and wound healing are inter-related. One needs to follow a specific diet to promote wound healing. There are a number of foods that are considered crucial for wound healing with protein being primary on this list. This is followed by fats, carbohydrates, Vitamins A and C and zinc. Vitamins for wound healing are necessary as also vitamins for skin healing. In order to promote wound healing and speed up recovery, one needs to ensure a healing diet and the inclusion of the following items in your daily intake:
Adequate protein intake is essential for wound healing because it assists in repairing the damaged tissue. But the question again is how many grams of protein a day for wound healing? The recommended amount of protein intake is said to be 0.8 gm protein/kg of ideal body weight but what is the precise amount required to promote healing would depend on the patient’s age, health and wound. Like for instance, elderly patients may need 1 g/kg. Those with pressure ulcers may require 1.5 to 2 g/kg while for those with burn wounds, protein requirement could be 1.5 to 3 gm/kg. You need to talk to your healthcare practitioner for the exact amount you should take.
Protein is known as a healing diet and available in foods like meat, eggs, milk and milk products and soy protein products. Patients with wounds need to include items like fish, poultry, beef, cheese, milk, yoghurt, soy nuts, tofu, beans and eggs in their daily diet. If your intake of protein is not sufficient then your body will end up using the protein present in the body to make energy instead of promoting healing.
Fats play a key role in the close association between nutrition and wound healing. Fats are required for wound healing in order to create cell membranes from fatty acids. Fats are a good source of fatty acids like linoleic and linolenic acids. Fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, immune enhancing and with vasodilating (blood vessel widening) properties. They act as a healing diet and extra amounts of fatty acids should be a part of the diet for those with wounds. Good supply of fat comes from milk, yoghurt, cheese, meat, butter, margarine and vegetable oils such as canola and olive oil.
Sufficient amount of carbohydrates in your diet will ensure your body gets an excellent supply of energy without having to depend on protein or other nutrients for energy. Someone with a wound should consider a healing diet which is rich in carbohydrates and a source of 55% to 60% of energy. Good sources of carbohydrates are brown rice, whole wheat breads, beans, berries, leafy green vegetables, whole grain cereals, pasta, sweet potatoes, peas, oatmeal and apples.
Vitamins for wound healing are necessary and different vitamins play varying roles in making wounds heal faster. Best vitamins that promote wound healing include Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
Vitamin A helps in fighting off infection and controlling inflammation. It increases fibroblast differentiation, collagen synthesis and wound strength. Therefore, the body needs the right amount of this vitamin for wound healing. The amount consumed should, however, be as per doctor’s advice because too much can cause toxicity. Good sources of Vitamin A are fish, eggs, dark green vegetables, red fruits, cantaloupe, liver, orange or yellow vegetables, fortified dairy products and cereals.
A healing diet should include Vitamin C which facilitates the synthesis of collagen and provides improved immunity. It boosts wound strength and also aids in the creation of new blood vessels. Even after the wound has healed, Vitamin C should continue to be consumed to evade breakdown of healed scars. Good sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits and juices, leafy green vegetables, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, baked potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Ensuring that there are minerals and nutrients in your daily diet are some effective and sensible ways to promote wound healing.
Including zinc in your meal plan can help make your wound heal faster. Zinc is important for wound healing because it assists the body in synthesizing proteins and developing collagen. Its deficiency can impair wound healing. Fortified cereals, red meats and seafood are good sources of zinc.
Other than the above, copper and iron are also important as nutrients for wound healing. It is imperative to have an all-round meal plan to take care of the wound healing nutrition requirement.
Because nutrition and wound healing are closely linked therefore, in order to optimize wound healing, talk to your healthcare practitioner or nutritionist to draw up a meal chart for you. Ensure your healing diet includes adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrate, fat, Vitamin A and C, zinc and other minerals which will aid in tissue repair. Because, nutritional deficiencies can prolong wound healing.
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Razia Sanwari is a journalist by profession with more than 20 years of experience in the print media. With a Masters's in English Language and Literature, Razia began her career as a junior editor in a Kolkata English language daily ...
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