Wound healing remains a challenge since time immemorial. Researchers are continually exploring newer techniques and materials to speed up the healing process. Interestingly, the Ayurvedic literature has elaborately described the process of wound healing. Along with treatment modalities, it emphasizes the importance of the right diet and nutrition in the healing process.
Balanced diet accelerates wound healing process by providing the right nutrients; which would otherwise affect the wound strength and cause breakdown of the wound. The person undergoing wound healing should eat a diet that is laghu (light on the stomach) and can be easily digested preferably freshly cooked. A liquid food like soups (meat soup included) and gruels with a small quantity of cow ghee are easy to digest and get absorbed quickly.
Cow ghee is an essential ingredient of most wound healing formulations in Ayurveda. The cow’s ghee has regeneration properties which promote the growth of new cells, thereby helping in wound healing. It is easily absorbed across the cell membrane and is a rich source of saturated fats and fat soluble vitamin A, D and E.
Fats provide energy, and fatty acids replenish the increased essential fatty acid demand after injury. Vitamin A, on the other hand, stimulates collagen synthesis by increasing the inflammatory response in wounds. Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant, reduces the damage caused due to the free radicals and is beneficial for connective tissue repair.
Purana Shastika Shaali (old stored rice) a rich source of carbohydrate and light for digestion provides energy essential for wound healing and prevents the conversion of protein to energy. Proteins can be utilized for collagen development and repair. Leafy vegetables like Leptadenia, red variety of Amaranthus, and Chenopodium accelerate the healing process. Besides, tender radish, Brinjal, bitter variety of snake gourd and bitter gourd also encourage wound healing.
Fruits like pomegranate and gooseberries (fried in ghee) are a rich source of Iron and Vitamin C. Deficiency of iron causes impairment in the collagen production and strength of the wound. Iron is also the component of haemoglobin which provides oxygen to the tissues. Hence the supply of iron is a must. The absorption of iron and synthesis of collagen fibres is enhanced by Vitamin C.
It is advised to use rock salt instead of the regular salt and green gram a rich source of protein for repair and regeneration. Well hydrated skin is more elastic and provides strength for wound healing.
However, newly harvested grains and cereals, black gram, horse gram, sesame, dried meat and vegetables, mustard seeds, alcohol and refrigerated water is to be avoided. Fasting, excessive eating, consumption of incompatible and undesired foods should also be avoided. The above practices may cause suppuration and prevent wound healing.