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 mostly on your weight and how active you are. You may need to eat more protein to help a wound heal. Your health care provider or dietitian 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 2½ ounces (75 g). 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. Dietitians of Canada recommend that adults, who have chronic wounds like pressure sores, should have 1.25-1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight.

Examples of high-protein foods footnote 1

Food

Serving size

Protein (g)

Meats

   

Beef, ground, extra lean

2½ ounces (75 g)

23

Pork loin, lean centre cut bone-in chop

2½ ounces (75 g)

20

Fish

   

Salmon, coho, wild

2½ ounces (75 g)

17.5

Tilapia

2½ ounces (75 g)

19.5

Tuna, light, canned in oil, drained

2½ ounces (75 g)

22

Poultry

   

Chicken, breast, roasted

2½ ounces (75 g)

23

Turkey, breast, roasted

2½ ounces (75 g)

24

Turkey, ground

2½ ounces (75 g)

21

Eggs and Dairy

   

Cheese, cheddar

1 oz (50 g)

11.5

Cheese, cottage, 2% milk fat

1 cup (250 mL)

25

Egg, whole

1 large

6

Milk, skim, 1% or 2% milk fat

1 cup (250 mL)

8.5

Yogurt, fruit, low-fat

¾ cup (175 mL)

7

Beans and Soy Products

   

Baked beans with pork, canned

¾ cup (175 mL)

10

Black beans, canned

¾ cup (175 mL)

11.5

Soy beverage, original and vanilla

1 cup (250 mL)

6.5

Tofu

¾ cup (175 mL)

12

Nuts and Seeds

   

Almonds, dry roasted

¼ cup (60 mL)

7

Peanuts, dry roasted

¼ cup (60 mL)

9

Peanut butter, smooth

2 Tbsp (30 mL)

7

Sunflower seeds, dry roasted

¼ cup (60 mL)

6.5

Wheat germ, toasted

¼ cup (60 mL)

9

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. Government of Canada (2016). Search by food. Canadian Nutrient File, version 2015. https://food-nutrition.canada.ca/cnf-fce/index-eng.jsp. Accessed Janaury 27, 2017.

Credits

Adaptation Date: 6/7/2018

Adapted By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Reviewed By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Date: 6/7/2018

Adapted By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Reviewed By: HealthLink BC