You may get stitches if you have a serious injury, such as a puncture wound, or when you've had surgery. Keeping your stitched wound clean and appropriately covered are two of the most important ways to encourage healing. Adding certain foods to your diet may also promote faster healing by helping your body to mend itself.
Foods with Vitamin C
Your body relies on vitamin C for wound healing, including wounds that require stitches, because it promotes the repair of collagen. Collagen is essential for the health of your skin and tissues and is necessary for proper healing of wounds. Adding foods that contain large amounts of vitamin C to your diet may encourage your stitched wound to heal more quickly. Oranges and other citrus fruits are healthy sources of this vitamin, but bell peppers, strawberries and tropical fruits also have high amounts of vitamin C.
Foods with Vitamin A or Beta-Carotene
Vitamin A works as an antioxidant to heal skin and skin cells. Brigitte Mars and Chrystle Fiedler note in their book, "The Country Almanac of Home Remedies," that foods with beta-carotene work similarly because your body converts this nutrient into vitamin A to encourage wound healing. Foods that contain vitamin A include fortified dairy foods and liver and foods that contain beta-carotene include carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and leafy greens, like spinach, kale and romaine lettuce.
Foods with Zinc
Zinc works in a similar way to vitamin C by encouraging your skin and skin cells to repair themselves, which enables your stitched wound to heal properly and more quickly. Zinc also enables your tissues to heal more quickly. Including zinc in your wound-recovery diet will also boost your immune system, which may help fight off infections. Eating seafood, red meat and fortified cereals will help you get more zinc in your diet.
Foods with Protein
Foods that contain protein may help your stitched wound heal properly because this nutrient is essential for growth and development. Cleveland Clinic reports that foods with protein are considered "power" foods to improve wound healing. The clinic also notes that eating two to three servings is the optimal amount to encourage your stitched wound to heal properly. Lean beef, pork, chicken and turkey are all healthy ways to get protein in your diet. Other protein-rich foods include fish, nuts, beans, seeds and dairy foods.
- National Kidney Foundation; Surgical Wounds -- Foods that Heal; Janelle Gonyea
- FamilyDoctor.org; First Aid: Cuts, Scrapes and Stitches; January 1996
- Cleveland Clinic: Nutrition Guidelines to Improve Wound Healing
- "The Country Almanac of Home Remedies"; Brigitte Mars and Chrystle Fiedler; 2011