Let’s be factual, whenever an average person gets a wound, they think about taking medications and applying healing lotions. What they do not know (or remember) is that diet is equally, if not more, important in helping the body heal. While most wounds will heal quickly on healthy people, especially when they are kept clean, others like ulcer and pressure injury are more serious and require extra attention and intervention.
Thankfully, things become so much easier when you eat the right food. This nutrition guide is a call to pay attention to your diet, not just for maintaining a healthy weight but also for wound healing.
Nutrients That Aid Healing
When the skin is traumatized it goes through different phases of healing. Protein has proven to be vital to this healing process. It helps with fibroblast proliferation, wound remodelling, collagen production, and formation of new blood vessels. The more traumatic your wound is, the more protein you’ll need.
Carbohydrate, especially refined ones, is not something you want to consume a whole lot. Having said that, your body does need a portion of this nutrient to heal properly. Carbohydrate eventually gets converted into glucose. Meanwhile, glucose provides energy, helps to repair tissue, and assists in tissue regeneration.
Too much fat can be damaging to your health. But that is not to say that it is entirely bad. Fats are “essential components for healthy cell membranes,” says Fiona Tuck, Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, and founder of Vita-sol. In fact, healthy fats like avocado and olive oil can also minimize your risk of heart disease.
Of course, you would need to cut down on certain fats like Omega 3 because they tend to cause blood clotting.
Vitamins are also incredibly beneficial for wound healing. Vitamin B helps to moderate local wound metabolism while Vitamin C helps to stabilize collagen. It also increases the strength of wound tissue. Other vitamins like Vitamin D and K are necessary for healing too.
Zinc is involved in a lot of enzyme reactions. It helps achieve a healthy immune system and breaks down protein. However, if it is too much, Zinc can inhibit copper and thus affect wound healing negatively. You must take these nutrients moderately so these nutrients do not backfire.
Iron is so important that when your body is deficient in it, it can affect how oxygen is delivered to the tissue. There’ll be a problem with the transfer of iron to the tissue and this slows down wound healing. It also affects energy generation from the cell.
Copper is good for rebuilding the traumatized tissue.
What You Should Eat
Foods such as fish, eggs, yogurt legumes, and poultry are great sources of protein and amino acid.
These are a great source of good quality carbohydrates which is the kind of carbohydrate that’s good for the body.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
You can never go wrong with fruits and veggies. Fiona says to consume fruits and veggies of different colours as they tend to supply different nutrients and different vital chemicals
Polyphenols improve gut and skin health while also boosting immune functions. Fiona explains that polyphenols are good for “not only our skin and for our capillaries but also good for our gut health as well”
Water also does great for healing. Your healing can be impaired if you’re dehydrated so drink as much water as you can.
What You Shouldn’t Eat
- Avoid junk foods, especially those with lots of sugar.
- Highly processed foods are also bad because they have additives, emulsifiers. These can lead to gut issues, inflammation and affect the immune system
- You also should avoid alcohol as it affects the immune system and causes your nutrient requirement to go up.
- Avoid smoking. It impairs wound healing. Smoking before a surgery depletes important nutrients like vitamin C and causes sluggishness and fatigue.
Eating healthy simply saves you a lot of hassle. If you fail to make healthy food choices or take the right nutrients when you have an injury, you’ll experience slower wound healing, scarring complications, infections, and inflammation.