Nutrition plays a vital role in the prevention and treatment of chronic wounds, such as pressure injuries. Inadequate nutrition increases the risk of developing pressure injuries and infections, which delays the healing process.
It is crucial to have enough calories from your meals in the form of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Without sufficient calories, our bodies will then tap on our energy stores and protein from our muscles to produce energy to meet our needs. This in turn leads to muscle wasting, which further impairs the wound healing process.
THE PROS OF PROTEIN
Protein is vital for the growth and repair of our body tissues and in collagen formation. Studies have found that an increased protein intake is linked to improved pressure injury healing. The Pressure Injury Advisory Panel (2019) recommends that individuals with pressure injuries should consume 1.2-1.5g of protein per kilogram of body weight spread throughout the day. Protein comes from both animal sources such as chicken, fish, eggs, red meat and dairy products, as well as plant sources such as tofu, soy and bean products. As a rule of thumb, each meal should contain a protein source in order to meet the daily requirements.
Vitamins and minerals — in particular antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E and minerals such as zinc — accelerate wound healing. Staying well-hydrated also helps in the wound healing process.
SEEKING GUIDANCE ON YOUR DIET
At Changi General Hospital (CGH), dietitians ensure patients receive the right nutrients in the right quantity to aid the wound healing process. Part of a multi-disciplinary team at the CGH Wound Healing Centre, they assess and calculate nutritional needs, and provide specifically-tailored dietary advice. It is recommended to visit a dietitian for wound(s) that are not healing over time.
Here are some
high-protein snack ideas containing about 300 calories and 10-15g of protein that you can consider including in your diet:
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