Top 5 Nutritional Tips To Improve Wound Healing In Seniors

  • Pain Management
  • medical management - supplements
  • August 4, 2022

Slow wound healing can be a problem for seniors and people with diabetes. But boosting nutrition can aid in improving outcomes.

The Link Between Nutrition And Wound Healing

Getting injured is frustrating for any individual. But for some vulnerable groups, like people with diabetes and senior citizens, a cut or a scrape can be more than a minor nuisance. Specifically, the elderly are more likely to have poor circulation, a critical factor directly linked with slow healing. Reduced blood supply means that critical oxygen and nutrients needed to heal an injury take longer to arrive, if at all. But a quick daily diet review can reveal opportunities to improve nutrition as well as boost overall health and wound recovery.

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1. Boost protein consumption

Protein is a critical building block for the body, providing essential fuel to drive everyday functions. For wound healing, protein aids in repairing body tissues. When a wound occurs, the body needs extra protein to speed up the healing process. Focus on eating more whole grains, leafy greens, and dairy. Even protein-rich condiments like hummus and nut butters can be incorporated.

2. Get more vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerhouse nutrient that most people associate with immunity. But the essential ingredient also aids in collagen production, another vital component for healing wounds. While most individuals only think of citrus fruits as a source of the nutrient, consider also adding broccoli or strawberries.

3. Drink up for faster healing

If water is the key to life, the classic liquid drink is also essential for healing injuries and wounds. Many people are aware that injuries like cuts and scrapes should be kept moist to boost healing, but not everyone realizes that hydration comes from within. Be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or unsweetened drinks.

4. Focus on controlling blood sugar

As mentioned above, people with diabetes are especially at risk of slow wound healing, and for the injury to progress into more serious conditions. Individuals with uncontrolled blood sugar may experience higher incidences of poor healing. Elevated sugar can create circulatory issues which prevent the immune system from working properly and can even cause nerve damage. Neuropathy can prevent a person with diabetes from realizing an injury has occurred, leading to prolonged damage. Avoid this risk by working to prioritize a healthier diet that’s low in carbohydrates and added sugar.

5. Get more healthy calories

When the body is injured and trying to repair a wound, more calories may be needed to provide adequate support. Experts note that when healing, the body may need 14-16 calories per pound per day. But just because the body needs more calories doesn’t mean that people should load up on empty calories. Instead, focus on protein-rich foods. And if eating large meals feels overwhelming, opt for smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.

Take wound healing seriously

A wound can become dangerous for any individual, but seniors are especially at risk given the increased potential for poor circulation and a diet higher in empty calories. All seniors, even if there isn’t an injury, should focus on embracing a balanced diet rich in protein and other essential nutrients. For individuals struggling to recover from a recent injury, no matter how small, consider speaking with a physician or registered dietitian to create a treatment plan and healthy menu.

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