Nutritional Therapy for Wound Treatment: Foods that Heal

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Nutritional Therapy Treatments Found in Food

When it comes to treating chronic wounds, there are numerous options available to both healthcare providers and their patients. Options ranging from negative pressure wound therapy to hydrocolloidial dressings. However, while the efficacy of these treatments is respectable, there is one simple treatment option that remains largely overlooked in wound care. Diet.

It’s a well-documented fact that nutrition plays a critical role in healing. Yet it still remains largely overlooked in favor of other treatment options. In the absence of good nutrition, healing can remain delayed, and the patient may suffer needless complications. It’s especially important, therefore, to turn the focus onto nutrition as a necessary step. Undoubtedly, ensuring a better prognosis for chronic wound care patients.

healthy foods, nutritional, avocados, grilled chicken, tomatoes, spinach, greens, healthy fats

A Closer Look at Vitamins in Wound Healing

Vitamin C has become almost synonymous with immune support, and for good reason. The data on this water-soluble vitamin is impressive. Studies reveal that ascorbic acid is key in helping to bolster the immune system. Having inadequate amounts of vitamin C in your diet can lead to delayed healing of existing wounds. Vitamin C has been shown to provide epithelial support from pathogens as well as acting as a powerful antimicrobial.

Those who struggle with complications from their diabetes could potentially benefit from the introduction of vitamin D in their diets. This vitamin’s role in wound healing is quite impressive. Nutritional studies have shown that introducing vitamin D can help facilitate healing in diabetic foot ulcers. Furthermore, having insufficient levels of this vitamin may lead to not only unnecessary pain for the patient but also prolonged delays in wound healing.

salmon, vitamin d, nutritional foods

Vitamin A is considered a class of retinoids and has been used extensively in wound care throughout the years. Vitamin A is invaluable in promoting epithelization and collagen synthesis, which can undoubtedly help expedite wound healing. As vitamin A levels can also plummet during wound healing, supplementation of this vitamin may be key in promoting healing. It also helps decrease mortality in patients, which is always an important consideration, as well.

Other Nutritional Considerations

Vitamin supplementation isn’t the only way to approach healing in patients who suffer from chronic wounds. A healthy diet should emphasize the consumption of foods as close to their natural state as possible. Avoid excessive amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats. While many people think that protein is only for building muscle, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Poor healing and dangerous health complications can be linked to a diet deficient in this macronutrient.

Zinc has also been shown to provide remarkable benefits when it comes to wound healing. This mineral is required for cell membrane repair which is vital for healing. Zinc has also been shown to help boost the immune system which allows the body to better fight off infection. And, like how deficiencies in certain vitamins can lead to delays in healing, the same is true for zinc. Insufficient levels of this mineral can postpone healing, whereas supplementation (both oral and topical) can help promote it.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

Certain foods can also lead to delays in wound healing, and avoidance of them is ideal in a recovery setting. If vitamin D is a diabetic individual’s biggest ally, then sugar is their avowed enemy. Sugar breaks down collagen in the skin, which can cause delays in wound healing. While elevated blood glucose levels can also impair healing. By being mindful of dietary glucose consumption, and by taking measures to help regulate blood glucose, diabetic ulcers can heal with fewer complications and reduced mortality.

Good Nutrition is Essential for Seniors

It’s important to remember that patients who suffer from chronic wounds tend to be older. Additionally, studies have shown that seniors are more likely to be malnourished, making it harder for them to recover from chronic wounds. The role of nutrition in wound healing, therefore, cannot be overstated. By making modest changes to the patient’s diet, healthcare providers can discover easy and actionable ways to help improve their prognosis. In return, ensuring a significantly better outcome for them.

AUTHOR: Karyl Trejo is a medical content writer with a degree in Psychology–who also works as a licensed optician. When Karyl isn’t drafting medical research articles on topics such as wound care, health and wellness, and diet, she can be found working on her science-fiction novels.

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