Proper nutrition is absolutely critical in wound care. Quite simply, if you aren’t taking in enough calories, protein and the right mix of fruits, vegetables, grains, fats and vitamins, your body can’t heal its wounds. Perhaps no other factor is as crucial to effective, timely healing as nutrition.
PROTEIN: THE BASIS FOR ALL HEALING.
It all begins with protein intake since your body uses proteins to build new tissues, carry away dead tissue and deliver nutrients to wound sites. Here is some important information about proteins:
- It can take up to three times the normal amount of protein intake to heal a wound. So if you’re normally supposed to take in 56 grams of protein each day to carry out normal activities, you need up to 160 grams or more each day during the healing process.
- Great sources of protein include …
- Seafood: Seafood is an excellent source of protein because it’s usually low in fat. Fish such as salmon is a little higher in fat, but it is the heart-healthy kind: omega-3 fatty acids.
- White-Meat Poultry: Stick to the white meat of poultry for excellent, lean protein. Dark meat is a little higher in fat. The skin is loaded with saturated fat, so remove skin before cooking.
- Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt: Not only are dairy foods — like milk, cheese, and yogurt — excellent sources of protein but they also contain valuable calcium, and many are fortified with vitamin D. Choose skim or low fat dairy to keep bones and teeth strong and prevent osteoporosis.
- Eggs: Eggs are one of the least expensive forms of protein.
- Beans: One-half cup of beans contains as much protein as an ounce of broiled steak. Plus, these nutritious nuggets are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full for hours.
- Pork Tenderloin: This great and versatile white meat is 31% leaner than it was 20 years ago.
- Soy: Fifty grams of soy protein daily can help lower cholesterol about 3%. Eating soy protein instead of sources of protein higher in fat — along with a healthy diet — can be heart healthy.
- Lean Beef: Lean beef has only one more gram of saturated fat than a skinless chicken breast. Lean beef is also an excellent source of zinc, iron, and vitamin B12.
- Protein on the Go: Grab a meal replacement drink, cereal bar, or energy bar. Just check the label to be sure the product contains at least six grams of protein and is low in sugar and fat.
- Protein at Breakfast: Research shows that including a source of protein like an egg or Greek yogurt at breakfast along with a high fiber grain like whole-wheat toast can help you feel full longer and eat less throughout the day.