Good nutrition is necessary for healing. During the healing process, the body needs increased amounts of calories, protein, vitamins A and C, and sometimes, the mineral, zinc. The following guidelines will help you choose "power" foods to promote healing.
Goals for healthy eating
Eat a variety of foods to get all the calories, proteins, vitamins, and minerals you need. The Food Pyramid (mypyramid.gov) provides an example of the number of servings you should eat from each food group every day. Remember to select from all food groups daily.
If you have a prescribed diet, follow it as much as possible, as it will help promote wound healing and may prevent infection and some complications. Many prescribed diets are based on the recommendations of the Food Pyramid.
Recommended Serving Sizes
|Breads and grains, using whole grain sources as much as possible
||1 slice bread; ¾ cup dry cereal; ½ cup cooked cereal, pasta, noodles, or rice
||1 cup cooked or raw vegetables; 1 cup raw leafy vegetables
||½ cup canned fruit or fruit juice; 1 piece of fruit; ¾ cup fresh fruit
||1 cup milk or yogurt; 1 ounce cheese
||2 – 3 ounces meat; 1 cup cooked beans or legumes; 1 egg; 2 tablespoons peanut butter
|Fats and sweets
||Good source of calories but may be restricted by prescribed diet
Protein: At least 2 to 3 servings per day
beef, fish, poultry, pork, veal, lamb, eggs
cheese, milk, yogurt
dried beans and peas, nuts, seeds
Vitamin A: At least 1 serving a day
dark green, leafy vegetables
orange or yellow vegetables
fortified dairy products
Vitamin C: At least 1 serving a day
citrus fruits and juices
peppers, potatoes, spinach
some cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage)
red meats and seafood
If you are not eating well...
1) Eat five or six small meals a day. Instead of trying to eat three big meals a day, try eating smaller meals and snacks between meals to get enough nutrition.
Make snacks nutritious. Examples of snacks: cheese and crackers, glass of milk, cottage cheese and fruit, ½ small sandwich, milkshake, peanut butter on crackers or celery, fruit or fruit juices.
2) Use foods that are "nutrient-dense." Some ideas are below:
"Low nutrient-dense" foods
"High nutrient-dense" foods
beef vegetable soup
milk, milkshakes, ice cream floats, sherbet, ice cream
3) If you have experienced taste changes, try a variety of foods to find out what works for you. You may find that cold foods and foods with little odor work best. For example, cottage cheese, cereals, cheesy entrees such as cheese ravioli and macaroni and cheese, or chicken or tuna salad may be tastier than beef.
4) Use a prepared liquid oral nutritional supplement if nothing else works. These are available in cans at grocery stores, drug stores, and discount chains. All the supplements will vary in taste, so if you don’t like the first one, try another brand. Also, adding milk or ice cream may make the supplement tastier.
5) Take a multivitamin if you are unable to meet the guidelines of the Food Pyramid. You will need a special multivitamin if your kidneys are impaired.
If you have diabetes or high blood sugar...
Continue to monitor your blood sugar levels closely. Having good control of blood sugar levels will help with wound healing and may prevent infection. You may need to visit your doctor and a registered dietitian to help control blood sugar through diet and medication.
Make an appointment with a registered dietitian if your appetite remains poor, your wound is not healing well, and/or you are losing weight.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 11/1/2007...#11111