Protein is like that person at your job who seems to be in 10 places at once, doing 10 different things.
It makes enzymes, hormone and other body chemicals, and serves as vital building blocks for your blood, skin, bones, muscles and cartilage.
Your body also uses protein to build and repair tissue, which is why it plays a major role in healing wounds. People with acute or chronic wounds need extra protein to ensure their wounds heal completely, and in a timely manner.
What Does Protein Do?
How important is protein? It gets its name from the Greek “protos,” which means “primary,” as if to say “this is a key nutrient.”
Proteins function as hormones, sending chemical messages through our bodies. They become antibodies that help our immune systems, help regulate the acid/base balance in our bodies and help us respond to critical illnesses.
When we don’t get enough protein, our bodies have a difficult time forming collagen, which aids in healing wounds. Protein loss is made worse by the wound healing process, which is why it’s important to get a lot of protein during recovery.
How Do We Get Enough Protein?
People who don’t eat a well-balanced diet likely aren’t getting enough protein for proper wound healing. This is even more of an issue for older people, who may have low protein diets for a variety of reasons (budget, difficulty chewing fibrous foods, strong food preferences).
The best way to get enough protein is to eat a nutritious diet. Eat colorful meals – meaning a lot of different fruits and vegetables – and choose whole grain bread, pasta and rice over white. Get your protein from poultry, lean meat and seafood.
Other sources of protein include:
An abundant protein source, foods like lentils, black beans and peas are easy to incorporate into pasta dishes and soups.
Just like beans, nuts are part of the legume family and are another excellent protein source. Cashews, peanuts and almonds all contain high protein levels, and are healthier than things like pretzels or chips. Think of them as a healthy snack that also happens to be great at healing wounds.
Whoever came up with the slogan “the incredible, edible egg” all those years ago knew what they were talking about. Eggs are versatile, and can be incorporated into many different dishes. (But keep in mind that egg yolks are a cholesterol-rich food, so you may want to go easy if you have heart trouble.)
Drinking milk a few times a day – or pouring it over your cereal in the morning – is an easy way to add protein to your diet. If you’re lactose intolerant, or just don’t like how milk tastes, don’t worry. Almond, soy and coconut milks are all rich in protein.
Because healing wounds requires more protein than you might get from your normal diet, you may want to consume a protein supplement to quicken your recovery.
Supplements For Wound Healing
People who are concerned about their bodies’ adeptness at healing wounds can turn to Proper Nutrition’s Seacure® supplement for help.
Made from fillets of deep-ocean white fish, Seacure® is an excellent protein source that has been shown to be extremely beneficial for wound healing, while also restoring gut integrity for people with Crohn’s, IBS and other gut-related ailments.