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Nutrition Tips to Promote Wound Healing

Contributors: Sarah Klemm, RDN, CD, LDN

Published: November 09, 2021

Reviewed: October 21, 2021

Fruit for Healing - 5 Nutrition Tips to Promote Wound Healing
Olga Lisitskaya/Hemera/Thinkstock

We've all had a wound: a cut, scratch or scrape that breaks the skin. Most wounds on healthy people heal quickly when kept clean and free of infection, while other types of wounds are more serious and require medical intervention.

Serious wounds may include decubitus ulcers, also known as pressure sores or bed sores. Decubitus ulcers develop where bones are close to the skin — such as ankles, back, elbows, heels and hips. These wounds are a risk for people who are bedridden, use a wheelchair or are unable to change their position. People with diabetes also have a higher risk of developing foot ulcers that can take weeks or months to heal.

Fortunately, healthful food choices may help with recovery by providing the calories, vitamins, minerals and protein necessary to promote healing.

Promote Wound Healing with Good Nutrition

  1. Plan healthy, balanced meals and snacks that include the right amount of foods from all the MyPlate food groups — protein foods, fruits, vegetables, dairy and grains.
  2. Choose vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin C, such as broccoli or strawberries. For adequate zinc, choose fortified grains and protein foods, such as beef, chicken, seafood or beans. Some wounds may require a higher intake of certain vitamins and minerals to support healing. Speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.
  3. Include adequate protein throughout the day. Include a source of protein at each meal or snack. A sample menu may include scrambled eggs for breakfast, black bean tacos for lunch, yogurt or cheese for a snack and chicken at dinner.
  4. Stay well-hydrated with water or other unsweetened beverages.
  5. For people with diabetes, control blood sugar levels to help prevent wounds from developing and to support healing and recovery.

A registered dietitian nutritionist can work with you to develop an individualized eating plan that meets your specific needs.

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