Nutrition & Wound Healing

nutrition and healing
nutrition and healing
nutrition and healing

Healing From the Inside Out:

Nutrition Basics


If you are not eating well or if you have a poor appetite, try eating five or six small meals each day, instead of three big meals. Smaller meals and snacks help you get the nutrition you need to heal.


Your body needs the right number of calories and amount of protein every day to heal a wound. Think of calories as fuel for your body, just like gasoline is fuel for your car. Without enough fuel, your body—and your car— can’t run properly.


The skin is the largest organ in the body. It’s about 10% of your body weight! Proper nutrition helps keep your skin healthy, and allows it to complete the job of rebuilding tissue after a wound or other injury.


Protein is important for the wound healing process and for maintaining lean body mass. Good sources of protein include:

  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Dairy

If you don’t eat meat, good sources of plant-based protein include:

  • Legumes
  • Soy foods
  • Nuts, seeds, and nut butters


While healing from a wound or injury, aim for 20 to 30 grams of protein at each meal. Check your food labels to better monitor your protein consumption.

The information below will help you get a general sense of how much protein you consume when you eat common foods.

20 to 25 grams of protein:

  • A piece of cooked chicken, lean meat, or fish the size of a deck of cards (about 3 ounces)

8 grams of protein:

  • 1 cup of low-fat milk
  • 1 cup of yogurt

6 to 7 grams of protein:

  • One egg
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 ounce of cheese


Vitamin C is an especially important antioxidant to consume while healing from a wound or injury. Citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables are great natural sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C is important in the creation of new blood vessels and can also increase the strength of the wound as it heals, help with the creation of collagen in the skin, and help with iron absorption. Talk to your healthcare provider about supplementing your complete, balanced diet with a daily multivitamin or supplement that contains vitamin C.


Sipping water and other liquids helps your body stay hydrated and aids in recovery. Having trouble remembering to drink water? Try this challenge: take a few sips of liquid at every commercial break while watching television or every few pages while reading.

Based on information from:

Dietetics in health care communities dietetic practice group. In: Niedert KC, ed in chief, Carlson MP, ed. Nutrition Care of the Older Adult: A Handbook for Nutrition Throughout the Continuum of Care. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; 2016.

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