Vitamins & Diet
After keeping clean, the three most important factors for wound healing are:
- Immune System
Your immune system can be stimulated with supplements like Beta 1, 3-D Glucan, which will encourage tissue granulation and macrophage activity. Your diet is the fuel that keeps your body running and provides the raw fuels to heal. Vitamins support all the various healing processes at every stage. Don’t forget that sleep is part of the body recovery cycle and make sure you are getting enough.
Your body is working very hard at healing your surgical wound, give it the replenishment it needs to do the job!
Vitamin C is very important to the formation of collagen (the main component of connective tissue) in the healing process. Zinc is crucial for wound healing and developing of new cells – it has been documented that marginal zinc deficiency can slow wound healing. Vitamin A also plays a role in tissue repair by increasing the number of macrophages at the wound site.
The optimum amounts:
- Zinc 50 mg (25 mg if sensitive)
- Vitamin C 2000 mg
- Vitamin A 25,000 I.U.
- Vitamin E 400 I.U.
You can get a lot of the needed vitamin support just by eating good food!
Zinc: fortified cereals, red meats, and seafood
Vitamin C: citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, spinach, some cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage)
Vitamin A: dark green, leafy vegetables, orange or yellow vegetables, orange fruits, fortified dairy products, liver
If your daily multi-vitamin is reasonably close to these amounts there is probably no need for additional supplements. Be conservative with the amount of Zinc that you choose to take — 50 mg might be too much for those with sensitive stomachs. If you experience any nausea drop the amount down to 25 mg.
Nutrition and Wound Healing – The Ohio State University Medical Center 2009
Nutrition as Part of the Overall Wound Treatment Plan – Wound Management 2003
Nutritional Support for Wound Healing– Alternative Medicine Review 2003
A high protein diet is also recommended for optimal healing, I chose to go with 60 grams of protein a day during my healing period. I hate to sound like your mother, but eat your fruits & veggies! Good nutrition is the best thing you can do for yourself to make healing go as quickly as possible. Skip the drive-thru and plan healthy meals.
Drink: Water, V8 Juice, Milk/Soy Milk, protein shakes
Eat: Whole grain breads, lean meats, eggs, veggies, pasta, fruits
Protein: At least 2 to 3 servings per day, beef, fish, poultry, pork, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, dried beans and peas, nuts, seeds. Vegetarians should eat extra servings of items like Boca Burgers.
So much of your health is determined by nutrition that I am going to get on my soapbox here and tell you to avoid soda, white bread, fast food, the snack foods aisle, and the donut shop. Nothing you have is more important than your health, and when you get into your 40’s and above you will realize the great truth of this. Eat right and you will have energy to burn. Your skin will glow and your stomach will settle. It will be a whole new you!
Protein Shake for Healing
Here is my daily protein shake recipe:
- 1/3 cup fruit (frozen or fresh)
- 3 tablespoons low-fat vanilla yogurt
- milk (amount varies, probably around 1/3 cup) I like coconut milk, but almond and soy are great too
- Protein powder (I use Bioplex WPI because I don’t digest soy based products well AND I have lactose intolerance. Bioplex is the only whey based protein I’ve found that is lactose free.)
- 1 scoop of Nanogreens (my Chiropractor turned me on to this stuff.)
Toss all into the blender and blend until smooth. This shake is about 25 grams of protein.
Surgery Aftercare Home
The main overview page for our Surgery Aftercare section where you’ll learn all about wound care and healing after surgery.
Activity While Healing
What can you do and when can you do it? How soon can you work out? How about getting back into sports? Take it slow and stretch.
Wound Dressing Options
Dressings provide a barrier to keep the wound moist and protected while it is healing, some can even speed healing processes.
This page last updated: February 7, 2016