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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Good food for wound healing

Kai pai mō te whakarauoratanga

Eating well and drinking plenty can help your wound heal more quickly. You need a range of nutrients such as protein, vitamin C and zinc to help your wound heal.

Protein is the most important nutrient. Protein helps:

Good sources of protein

Protein-rich foods include:

Recommended amounts of protein foods

Milk and milk products

Have at least three servings a day.

One serving is:

If you're a healthy weight or overweight, have low-fat milk (green or yellow top), low-fat yoghurt and cheeses such as cottage cheese, Edam and Noble.

If you need to gain weight, have whole milk (dark blue top), Greek yoghurt and cheeses like Cheddar and Colby.

Lean meats, chicken, seafood, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds

Have two to three daily servings of:

One serving is:

Tips to eat more protein

Other ways to help your wound heal

Eat three meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a small nutritious snack in-between. Do not skip meals.

Eat at least five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day. A serving is the size of the palm of your hand. Choose a variety of different coloured vegetables and fruit. This provides a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep you healthy and help your wound heal.

Choose four to six servings of grain foods every day.

One serving is:

Wholemeal or wholegrain varieties are best.


Drink at least 8 cups of fluid every day. You may need more if your wound is losing a lot of fluid. Where possible, have milk or milky drinks such as fruit smoothies, or coffee or Milo made with milk. You can also have low-sugar drinks, tea, coffee and water. If you're underweight, you may need an oral nutrition supplement drink such as Complan. Talk to your doctor about this.

Drinking too much alcohol can affect your healing. Read the information on Alcohol & reducing your risks from drinking.

Vitamin and mineral supplements

Some people believe that taking vitamin or mineral supplements helps with wound healing. But if you're eating well and having the foods recommended above, there is no proof that taking supplements helps.

If you aren't eating well and are avoiding a food group such as vegetables and fruit, you may need a supplement. Talk to your doctor about this.


Talk to your doctor if you:

Your doctor may refer you to a dietitian for more advice.

On the next page: Protein-rich meal ideas

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed June 2022.


Page reference: 35328

Review key: HISKW-128569