Fruits and vegetables promote faster wound healing?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
The beneficial compounds found in fruits and vegetables are essential for the wound healing process.
WHAT WE KNOW
Prone to injury? The faster you can get back to your daily activities the better, right? Well, fruits and vegetables can help! Maintaining good nutrition and hydration is important not only for overall health, but also for wound healing!
When your body becomes injured (break a bone, scrape a knee, have surgery, etc.), the healing process begins. This process includes the collaboration of your body’s immune and inflammatory systems. Specific nutrients found in fruits and vegetables are essential for both of these systems to function well.
Here’s how vitamins and minerals help you in the healing process…
After an injury occurs, the body removes bacteria and free radicals from the site of injury (vitamins C and E and Iron) to allow the healing process to begin. The body begins a cascade of events to decrease bleeding (vitamin K) and create new cells to replace those that were damaged (B vitamins and water). Nutrients and oxygen are delivered to promote optimal wound healing (water and iron).
During the healing process, the injured area is more susceptible to infection; your body’s defenses (vitamins A and C and the B vitamins) protect against invaders. As time goes on, the injured area begins to heal (vitamins A and C, copper and zinc) and return to normal. Broken and fractured bones continue the healing process with bone remodeling (vitamin D and calcium).
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
A review published in Clinics in Dermatology found that nutrient deficiencies have been found in patients with recurrent or prolonged wounds. Multiple studies have reported low levels of vitamin A, vitamin E and/or zinc in chronic wound patients compared with healthy controls. Other studies reported low levels of iron in chronic ulcer patients. Finally, dehydration has been found to delay wound healing as well. The review concluded that adequate nutrition is important for wound healing.*
Many beneficial compounds in fruits and veggies are involved in the wound healing process, so supplementation of specific vitamins or minerals is not recommended! Instead, eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and veggies. See Key Nutrients in Fruits & Veggies
Remember, hydration is also helpful in promoting healthy wound healing. This doesn’t mean just drinking water—fruits and vegetables are composed mainly of water, so they can help too!
Adequate nutrition is important for all our body processes, not just wound healing. A balanced diet will provide your body with all the essential nutrients. These nutrients have many health promoting benefits! Enjoy your fruits and veggies at every meal and snack occasion to easily meet your daily recommendation.
* Brown, KL, Phillips, TJ. “Nutrition and Wound Healing.” Clinics in Dermatology (2010); 28 (4): 432-39.