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Nutrition for Healing Skin Wounds

By Carlye Waxman

Nutrition plays a vital role in the healing of skin wounds. In order to heal, the body needs an increased amount of calories and protein, as well as certain nutrients, such as vitamin A and C and sometimes zinc. Some wounds are worse than others, so make sure you speak with your doctor about how deep your wound is and consult with a registered dietitian on your specific daily nutrient requirements.

Close the Wound with Calories

When a wound heals your body burns extra calories. Consuming extra calories from food may be warranted. The goal is around 11.5 to 16 calories per pound of body weight per day. If you are overweight or obese you should use the lower end of the goal. If you are underweight, you should aim for the higher number. For example, an underweight person who weighs 110 pounds should be eating about 1,750 calories per day to aid in wound healing. Eating the right amount of calories for your body will give you the energy you need to help speed up the healing process.

Pile on the Protein

Protein is essential in maintaining and repairing body tissue. Eating a high-protein diet may be necessary to speed up wound healing. The Agency of Health Care and Policy Research Guidelines for the treatment of pressure ulcers recommends 0.4 to 0.6 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. A deep ulcer may need more. Add silken tofu to milkshakes, greek yogurt to sauces and protein powders to beverages to get this higher than normal requirement. Consume more foods high in protein, such as poultry, fish, meat, eggs, Greek yogurt and tofu.

Don't Forget Your Vitamins

Vitamin C plays a vital role in collagen synthesis and strengthening the immune system. Vitamin A also stimulates collagen synthesis and responds quickly to inflammation. Taking a daily multivitamin can help you get these vitamins in your diet, but you should also try to get them from food. Spinach, sweet potato and carrots are examples of foods rich in vitamin A. Foods with an excellent source of vitamin C include papaya, bell peppers, strawberries and broccoli. Try to include these vitamin foods on a daily basis while recovering from a skin wound.

Zap it With Zinc

Zinc is a mineral found in trace amounts in the body that also stimulates the formation of collagen. Do not use supplements unless you were told by your doctor as taking zinc can leave you deficient in copper. If you want to eat more zinc rich foods, try eating more eggs, meat, poultry, milk, fish and shellfish.

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