A person recovering from surgery, or has been sick, or has a chronic illness may require more nutrients and vitamins than a healthy person to help with the healing and recovery.
In this blog, you will learn healthy tips to improve wound healing, speed up the healing process, and improve function.
A deficiency of nutrients during the healing process predisposes the body to:
- Increases the risk of infections.
- Delays healing.
- Risk of developing a non-healing wound.
The role of collagen in wound healing
Collagen plays a vital role in wound healing. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is responsible for scar formation. Poor nutrition can affect collagen production, causing the wound not to have enough nutrients to heal.
Does protein increase wound healing?
Protein is an essential component for all the stages of wound healing. Protein helps repair the wound, fights infection, and transports oxygen to the whole body. Current research finds that protein and energy demands rise by 250% and 50%, respectively, in patients with chronic wounds.
How much protein do you need for wound healing?
A balanced diet with plenty of protein may accelerate wound healing. The amount of protein a person needs typically depends on age, sex, stage of the wound, and activity level.
Recent studies indicate that a chronic wound or non-healing wound requires higher doses of protein as follow:
» Stage I and Stage II requires 1-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram body weight per day.
» Stage III and Stage IV 1.5-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram body weight per day
What nutrients support wound healing?
» Amino acids
The body produces specific amino acids to assist with healing and repair, including arginine and glutamine.
» Arginine Benefits
- Improves collagen production.
- Improves wound healing.
- Lowers inflammation.
- Fight infections.
» Good source of arginine
Sesame seeds, spirulina, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, lentils, chicken breast, salmon, tuna, turkey breast, egg, seaweed, and sea vegetables, coconut meat
» Glutamine Benefits
- Improves immunity function.
- Helps with wound healing.
- Helps prevent infections.
- Prevents inflammation.
» Good source of Glutamine
Asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, apples, avocado, spinach, tomatoes, parsley, peas, carrots, garlic
» Vitamins and Minerals
- Promotes collagen production.
- Strengthens immune system.
- Improves oxygen to tissues.
- Promotes tissue regeneration.
- Prevents infections.
- Vitamins and minerals for wound healing, function and food sources
- Vitamin A (collagen production, fights infections)
- Tomatoes, red peppers, carrots, Sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, broccoli, parsley
- Vitamin B (collagen production)
- Fish and whole grains, sweet potato, almonds, oats, carrots, mango, broccoli,
- Vitamin C (improves iron absorption, fights infections)
- Red and yellow fruits and vegetables, green vegetables, potatoes, orange, strawberry
- Vitamin E (fights infections, minimizes the appearance of scars)
- Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, almond, spinach, avocado, olive oil
- Vitamin K (Ensures healthy blood coagulation required during wound healing)
- Leafy green vegetables (kale, cabbage, spring greens, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, banana, cucumber, asparagus)
- Copper (Reduces inflammation, heal the wound faster, improve skin health)
- Vegetables, sesame seeds, sweet potatoes, avocado, cashews, walnuts, mushrooms
- Iron (Improves tissue oxygenation)
- Green leafy vegetables, legumes
- Manganese (Improves tissue reparation)
- Nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables, fruits
- Selenium (Improves wound reparation)
- Brazil nuts, chia seeds, salmon, tuna, eggs
- Zinc (strengthen the immune system, improves tissue regeneration) 50mgx12 weeks
- Avocado, spinach, pumpkin seeds, berries, olives, chickpeas, mushrooms, garlic
- Magnesium oxide 250mgx12 weeks (Reduce wound length, width, and dept)
- Spinach, almonds, avocado, coconut milk, chia seeds, brazil nuts,
Hydration is crucial for wound healing to assist the cells in bringing nutrients and oxygen to the wound area, keeping the wound with good elasticity and integrity.
» Hydration tips
- Drink several sips of water between meals.
- Drink more water in the morning to reduce bathroom visits during the night.
- Eat more watermelon and spinach, which are almost 100% water by weight.
- Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water.
- Eat more soups and teas.
- Prevent sugary drinks or fizzy drinks.
- Keep a bottle of water near you all-day.
Carbohydrates are a good source of energy while healing. Carbohydrates prevent the body from taking protein as a source of energy.
Healthy Carbohydrates are potatoes, sweet potatoes, quinoa, oatmeal, and rice.
Healthy fats can promote wound healing and wellness.
Good fat sources include avocado, nuts, seeds, flaxseed, salmon, tuna, and olives.
How does Physical Therapy Provide Wound Care?
A physical therapist is trained in the healing process, wound healing process, education to develop a customized plan of care to improve movement, speed up the healing process, and restore function.
Physical therapy manages scars, maintains, restores, and improves movement.
More tips for wound healing
- Stay active to stimulate blood flow and oxygenation to the wound area.
- Drink plenty of fluids to improve skin elasticity and speed up the healing process.
- Keep an eye for signs of infection including, redness, pain, swelling, and warmth. Call your doctor if these signs are present.
- Nurture your wound from the inside out with healthy food high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.
A healthy lifestyle helps the wound to heal faster and boosts the immune system to fight infection and improve wellness.
If you are dealing with a chronic wound or recovering from surgery, call Dr. Alexandra Chaux at Chaux Physical Therapy: 805-203-9940 to make an appointment to recover faster, move easier, and effortlessly.
The information in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only; its content is provided based upon evidence-based medicine, knowledge, and experience as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).