Proper nutrition is essential for wound healing. This means eating a well-balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, proteins, dairy and healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. However, as the Cleveland Clinic explains, the body has specific nutritional needs for optimal wound healing. These include increased protein, vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc consumption. Incorporating foods high in these nutrients gives your body the tools it needs to repair injuries.
To promote optimal wound healing, increase your intake of protein. Meat, poultry and fish are all good sources of protein. As World's Healthiest Foods explains, protein is essential for immune system functions, skin health and the production of enzymes. In fact, it is a necessary fuel for most bodily functions. Meats like venison and beef are good for providing your body with the protein it needs to heal wounds, as are poultry like chicken and turkey and seafood like shrimp, tuna, cod and halibut.
Along with vision and immune system support, vitamin A promotes skin health and cell growth. World's Healthiest Foods recommends calf liver, eggs and milk for their vitamin A content, and all provide protein as well, making them effective choices for wound healing. Additionally, vitamin A can be obtained from orange and yellow fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, winter squash, cantaloupe and apricots. Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, mustard greens and swiss chard are other options for high vitamin A content and wound healing.
Vitamin C has a wide variety of functions and benefits, especially from its antioxidant properties. One such benefit is the ability to accelerate wound healing. Berries and citrus fruits are excellent sources of vitamin C, as are broccoli and cauliflower, bell peppers, asparagus, peas, tomatoes and kiwi. Additionally, dark leafy greens are not only high in vitamin A, they are also high in vitamin C, making them optimal foods to promote wound healing.
The mineral zinc has many benefits for the body, including helping balance blood sugar levels and metabolism, promoting immune system functions and strengthening sensory perceptions. Conveniently, many of the foods high in zinc are also high in the other nutrients necessary to optimal wound healing. These include calves liver and other meats, shrimp, peas, asparagus, broccoli and dark green leafy vegetables.