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 often require medical intervention.
Serious wounds may include decubitus ulcers, also known as pressure sores or bed sores, which 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 energy, vitamin, mineral and protein requirements necessary to promote healing.
Promote Wound Healing with Good Nutrition
- Plan healthy, balanced meals and snacks that include the right amount of foods from all the MyPlate food groups — protein, fruits, vegetables, dairy and grains.
- Choose vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin C, such as strawberries or spinach. For adequate zinc, choose whole grains and consume protein, such as eggs, meat, dairy or seafood. 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.
- 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.
- Stay well-hydrated with water or other unsweetened beverages.
- 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 develop an individualized eating plan with optimum amounts of calories, protein, fluids, vitamins and minerals for your specific needs.