When parts of our body are injured, burned, incised, lacerated, abraded or cut by surgical incision, it instantly goes into healing mode. Through a series of complicated processes our body heals our wounded skin, muscles, bones, connective tissues and organs and does so marvellously. That natural and intricate process of healing requires specific nutrients.
The Healing Process
Just after injury chemicals from the wound site triggers a series of reactions. Platelets stick together to form a clot to protect the breach and stop the bleeding. Then the inflammatory phase comes into play, mediated by the immune system that sends white blood cells to clean up the mess.
When the wound is clean more chemicals are sent to the site to signal division of cells. Additionally, growth of new blood vessels occurs to transport needed nutrients. Accordingly, collagen is created and deposited to make scar tissue. The cells spread over the wound to cover it while special cells cause the wound to contract decreasing its size. This is the proliferative phase.
Finally, cells at the site mature and create a strong protective scar. Collagen remodels and strengthens the wound.
At each phase of wound healing nutrients are needed to support wound healing.
Macronutrients for Wound Healing
Proteins, fats and carbohydrates are all critical in wound healing. Here are foods for wound healing in general. For specific types of wound healing such as those involving skin refer to Foods for Skin Healing.
A. More Protein Please – Wound healing requires protein to repair and regenerate new cells especially during the proliferative and maturation phases. They are the building blocks of cells and tissues.
Consume more than you normally do when recovering from wounds. Below are foods with high protein content:
- Turkey and chicken
- low fat mozzarella
- cottage cheese
- low-fat cottage cheese
- low-fat Swiss cheese
- low-fat cheddar
- Loin or chops
- sirloin roast
- Lean Beef and veal
- T-Bone steak
- Beef jerky
- Mature soy beans
- Black beans
- Mung beans
- Nuts and seeds
B. Fats – Cell membrane are made up of fats.
- From dairy products – milk, cheese, yoghurt
- Cooking oils
- Fats from meat
C. Carbohydrates – to prevent the body from utilizing the necessary protein and fats for energy take adequate servings of carbohydrates
Chief Micronutrients for Wound Healing
Vitamins and minerals are needed in the right amounts. But Vitamins A, C and K plus zinc play crucial roles and are needed more.
A. Vitamin C – It aids in the creation of collagen and helps in strengthening the wound and necessary for the formation of new blood vessel and absorption of iron.
- Citrus fruits – oranges, grapefruit, tangerines
- Berries – Strawberries, cranberries
- Red and green chili
- Bell peppers
- Dark leafy green vegetables – kale, garden cress, mustard greens
- Leafy green vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprout, bok coy, cabbage
- Fresh herbs – thyme, parsley
B. Vitamin A is crucial to fight off infections and to control the inflammatory response.
- Dried apricots
- Dark leafy green vegetables –spinach, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, dandelion green, collards, Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard
- Yellow vegetables – Carrots, butternut squash
- Root crops – sweet potatoes
- chili powder
- red pepper
- Dried herbs
C. Zinc is essential to synthesizes proteins to form collagen.
Good sources are:
- lamb and beef – lean foreshank, shoulder, cubed lamb, lean beef shortribs
- Wheat germ
- Amaranth leaves
- Nuts – cashew
- Cocoa and cocoa powder
D. Vitamin K – Vitamin K is crucial for blood clotting which halts excessive bleeding.
- Blackstrap molasses
Lastly, you’ll need to drink from 8-10 glasses of water daily. If you take fruit juices they can be counted as a serving.
Also, check out my post on “How To Have Flawless Skin” to discover a miracle spray the speeds up skin regeneration.