High-Protein Foods for Wound Healing

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Topic Overview

How does protein help with wound healing?

Your body needs protein to help build and repair muscle, skin, and other body tissues. Protein also helps fight infection, balance body fluids, and carry oxygen through your body.

When you have a wound that's healing, think of food as medicine. Eat a balanced diet with enough calories and plenty of protein.

How much protein you normally need each day depends on your age, your sex, and how active you are. You may need to eat more protein to help a wound heal. Your doctor can advise you on the right amount of protein you need.

What are high-protein foods?

High-protein foods include lean meat, poultry, and fish. A serving of these foods is about 3 ounces. That's about the size and thickness of a deck of cards.

Protein isn't just found in meat. You can also get plenty of protein from eggs, dairy and soy products, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Examples of high-protein foods footnote 1

Food

Serving size

Protein (g)

Meats





Beef, ground, 90% lean

3 oz

22

Pork chop or roast

3 oz

18

Fish





Salmon, coho, wild

3 oz

23

Tilapia

4 oz

23

Tuna, white, canned in oil, drained

3 oz

23

Poultry





Chicken, rotisserie

3 oz

19

Turkey, breast, roasted

3 oz

26

Turkey, ground, 93% lean

3 oz

22

Eggs and Dairy





Cheese, cheddar, diced

½ cup

15

Cheese, cottage, 2% milk fat

4 oz

12

Egg, whole, poached or fried

1 large

6

Milk, nonfat, 1% or 2% milk fat

1 cup

10

Yogurt, fruit, low-fat

6 oz container

7

Beans and Soy Products





Baked beans with pork, canned

1 cup

13

Black beans, canned

1 cup

15

Soy milk, original and vanilla

1 cup

6

Tofu

4 oz

22

Nuts and Seeds





Almonds or sunflower seeds, roasted

½ cup

14

Peanuts, dry-roasted

½ cup

18

Peanut butter, smooth, with salt

2 Tbsp

7

Wheat germ, toasted

2 Tbsp

4

What are some tips for getting more protein?

You can get more protein in your food by adding high-protein ingredients. For example, you can:

  • Add powdered milk to other foods, such as pudding or soups.
  • Add powdered protein to fruit smoothies and cooked cereal.
  • Add beans to soup and chili.
  • Add nuts, seeds, or wheat germ to yogurt.

You can also:

  • Spread peanut butter onto a banana.
  • Mix cottage cheese into noodle dishes or casseroles.
  • Sprinkle hard-boiled eggs on a salad.
  • Grate cheese over vegetables and soups.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Agricultural Research Service (2015). USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28. Available online: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine

Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

Current as ofMay 4, 2017