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High-Protein Foods for Wound Healing

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 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 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

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. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28

Credits

Current as ofMarch 28, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator