Adequate protein in your diet encourages new blood vessel formation, aids in the growth of new skin cells and strengthens the wound bed. To increase your protein intake:
- Add two tablespoons of nonfat milk powder to every eight ounces of milk used for cooking and drinking.
- Add non-fat milk powder to soups, gravies, hot cereals, etc.
- Add chopped hard-cooked eggs to salads, sauces, soups and entrees.
- Add grated cheese to salads, mashed potatoes, vegetables, soups and entrees.
- Add diced or ground meat to soups, salads, sauces, etc.
- Put peanut butter or cream cheese on breads, crackers, celery and fruit.
- Eat more yogurt, nuts, cottage cheese and beans.
Consuming 500 mg of vitamin C twice a day will help strengthen your blood vessel walls and provide some resistance to infection.
Foods high in vitamin C:
- Brussels sprouts
- Cranberry juice
- Grapefruit and grapefruit juice (100 percent juice or fortified juice drink)
- Green pepper
- Honeydew melons
- Oranges and orange juice
- Tomatoes and tomato juice
Zinc plays an important role in increasing the strength of the wound and improving the healing process. It is recommended that you consume 20 mg daily.
Foods high in zinc:
- Baked beans
- Raisin Bran
Increased fluid intake may be necessary to replace fluid lost through the wound surface. Drink six to eight servings of liquid, especially water, each day. A serving size is eight fluid ounces.
Good nutrition and adequate hydration (water in your body) are vital for wound healing. Dietary changes to meet your wound-healing needs are inexpensive compared to the total cost of chronic wound care and the lifestyle limitations caused by chronic wounds. To ensure good nutrition and adequate hydration, you should:
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Consume adequate protein.
- Increase intake of foods rich in vitamin C and zinc.
- Drink six to eight glasses of fluid (preferably water) each day.
Check with your physician if you:
- Are on fluid restriction
- Are on a restricted diet
- Want information about the use of nutritional supplements
- Want information about the use of a vitamin-mineral supplement