Wounds of any nature, whether pressure ulcers (bedsores), wounds from surgery, trauma, or diabetes related need proper nutrition to heal quickly and fully. Poor nutrition can restrict blood flow, thus reducing oxygen and nutrients to the area.

Healthy eating to promote wound healing means choosing a wide variety of foods from each of the Six Caribbean Food groups:

  • Foods from Animals
  • Staples
  • Legumes
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Fats and Oils
Extra Nutrition for Wound Healing

To enhance the healing process additional protein, energy (calories), vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A and C, iron and zinc, and plenty of fluids will be needed.

 Protein Rich Foods: Have at least one serving at each meal and use at snack time also

Protein is essential for the maintenance and repair of body tissue. 

Increase protein to 2 to 3 servings per meal.  Protein requirements is calculated at 1.25 – 1.5 g per kg of body weight per day, this can increase to 1.5 – 2.0 if wounds are severe or person is underweight..  Each meal should contain at least 2 to 3 ounces of meat. A cup of dried peas or beans or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter are acceptable alternatives.

Examples of Protein Rich Foods
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk and Dairy
  • Yogurt
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Soybean and its derivatives
Iron Rich Foods
  • Meat, fish and eggs
  • Green vegetables
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts.
  • Iron-fortified  bread and breakfast cereal.
  • Legumes (mixed beans, baked beans, lentils, chickpeas)
  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Oats
  • Tofu


  • Lean red meat
  • Shell fish
  • Milk
  • Cheese Bread
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Cereal products such as wheat germ
Vitamin A
  • Red and yellow fruits and vegetables
  • Dark green vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Liver
  • Fortified cereals
Vitamin C – This vitamin helps with iron absorption and with the healing process

Fruits High in Vitamin C

  • Bajan Cherry
  • Citrus fruits
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Berries
  • Watermelon
  • Unsweetened natural juices

Vegetables High in Vitamin C

  • Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
  • Green and red peppers
  • Spinach, cabbage, leafy greens
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Breadfruit
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice
  • Squash / pumpkin



Hydration is extremely important in wound healing, as dehydrated skin is less elastic, fragile and more subject to rapid breakdown. Dehydration reduces the effectiveness of blood circulation, which will impair the supply of nutrients and oxygen reaching the wound, thus prolonging healing time.

Fluid Recommendation

Aim for 8 – 10 cups of water daily, more on hotter days. Milk and milk beverages can be used also; low fat varieties should be used if overweight. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages!



To ensure adequate caloric intake, consume three small to moderate meals daily, include a healthy snack between meals and drink eight to ten glasses of water daily, more if the day is warm.  Milk, milk products and milk alternatives are healthy additions as fluids. In addition, they provide needed calcium and protein.

To ensure adequate nutrition, it is important to identify barriers that may interfere with consumption. These can include confusion, poor appetite, dysphagia, lack of dexterity, cultural preferences, poor dentition, depression, pain, etc.

  • Explain that eating well, will speed up recovery and healing
  • Ensure the resident is carefully positioned and comfortable
  • Provide a pleasant mealtime environment
  • Allow time for individuals to eat in a relaxed manner, with time to chew, feed themselves and finish their meal
  • Offer feeding assistance and allow sufficient time for meals
  • Provide encouragement, without forcing
  • Offer a variety of nutrient dense, high calorie and high protein meals
  • Adequate fluid intake
  • Encourage grazing – small frequent meals/snacks

If the resident is unable eat normally the following supplementations can be beneficial.  It would be ideal to consult with a nutritionist or dietitian to assess the needs of the person.


  • Ensure Enlive, Plus, or Complete
  • Juven
  • Nepro

Uncontrolled blood sugar can delay wound healing, making it easier for wounds to become infected and possibly lead to amputation. It is extremely important to eat well, take medication as prescribed and liaise regularly with your health care professional team, which should include a nutritionist or dietitian.

Diabetics can enhance nutrition by using the following:

Glucerna – pay attention to the amount of protein per serving

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