Vascular wounds, such as ulcers, can be slow to heal, and often result from circulatory problems, which can further impede wound repair. “Poor circulation in the arteries often keeps the proper amount of nutrients and oxygen from reaching the wound,” explains Dr. Winter. “This deficiency can also affect how waste is removed from the blood.”
Vascular wounds are therefore at an increased risk for issues like infection. But proper care, including the right nutrition, can support your recovery.
How Does Nutrition Affect Wound Healing?
While not all ulcers or vascular wounds are caused by malnutrition, many patients with malnutrition can develop chronic, non healing wounds. This relationship indicates that without the right nutrients, even minor injuries can become complex wounds.
Malnutrition is generally now more rare in the U.S., thanks to the availability of fresh produce, wholesome foods, and enriched pantry products. But among older adults, malnutrition deaths have more than doubled in recent years, increasing the level of concern.
Proper nutrition is important for countless health outcomes, but it’s especially critical when it comes to wound repair. The process of healing requires increased energy for all systems. This calls for more protein, for example, as your body uses amino acids to repair tissue and renew cells. Carbohydrates also play an essential role in supporting your body’s inflammatory response and proper cellular activity.
Beyond these macronutrients, there are several micronutrients that enable healing at a cellular level, including the amino acids arginine and glutamine, vitamins A and C, and the mineral zinc. Other substances found in food – including curcumin, a compound in turmeric – may also have healing properties.
In summary, ensuring you’re getting the right amount of the right nutrients can make a difference in your overall health, and the repair of your wound.
The Best Diet to Promote Vascular Wound Healing
A nutritional diet won’t make up for poor wound care, but it is a significantly meaningful aspect of a well-rounded approach towards healing. Here are a few dietary tips to bear in mind.
Choose Healthy Proteins
Since the amino acids in protein can fuel cell repair, load up on lean proteins like eggs, milk, beans, and poultry. Be selective in your protein choices, however: many meat and dairy products are high in saturated fats, which increase your cholesterol levels (and thus affect circulation and healing). Avoid or cut back on beef, lamb, and pork, as well as rich dairy products like lard, cream, and butter.
Fill Up on Fruits & Veggies
Leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli are high in Vitamin A, which supports tissue growth and repair. Other good sources include tomatoes, red bell peppers, cantaloupe, and mango. For a hefty dose of healing vitamin C, choose cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts or cabbage, or reach for citrus fruits such as oranges, kiwi, and grapefruit.
Cook with Curcumin
As you’re healing, harness the power of curcumin by adding turmeric to your dishes. The compound has been found to stimulate growth factors that aid in wound healing, but it’s also beneficial for its antimicrobial properties. Add some of the seasoning to stews, rice dishes, soups, sauces, or marinades for an earthy, pleasantly bitter flavor.
If you’ve been diagnosed with carotid artery disease, allow Vascular Surgical Associates to discuss treatment options with you. We have 13 board-certified surgeons who specialize in treating the condition and can help you make an informed decision that’s best for your health. See our locations online or call 770-423-0595 to schedule an appointment.