doctor, good medicine and good nutrition. Good thing my horse,
Cal, had all three after suffering a nasty gash to his leg a
few weeks ago.
lucky," two family veterinarians assured me after
cleaning and doctor ring his wound. "No tendons were cut.
But you’ll need to apply medicine to the wound twice a day
until it heals."
skeptical that the gaping lesion in Cal’s leg would ever get
better. But after the first week — and a little extra
nutrition — I noticed the layers of his skin coming back
man or beast, the art of repairing living tissue requires the
proper mixture of rebuilding materials … and a strong immune
system to fight off bacteria that interfere with healing.
Nutrients in our food supply those ingredients. Here are some
of what the doctor (and the nutritionist) ordered:
calories. Healing of wounds requires extra energy (or
calories) to fuel the work of healing. Normally Cal gets
enough energy from the pasture he grazes. Since his injury, he’s
also getting a little extra grain along with his horse
protein. Depending on the severity of the wound, the need for
extra protein in humans can exceed normal requirements by 20
to 200 percent. Besides providing the material that knits us
back together, protein forms our immune system — the body’s
defense against infections. Sources of high quality protein
include eggs, soy, milk, yogurt, meat, fish and poultry.
is made from amino acids — the building blocks of new tissue
construction. One such amino acid is arginine which may
enhance wound healing, according to some studies. High amounts
of arginine are found in poultry, pork, soy foods, peanuts and
C. Horses can make their own vitamin C. Not so with humans. We
need a daily supply of this water-soluble vitamin, especially
when we have an injury. Vitamin C helps make collagen and
other connective tissues that knit the body back together.
Good food sources include oranges and other citrus fruits,
peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, cantaloupe and kiwi.
Proteins in the body that restore our tissues rely on zinc to
function. Wounds don’t heal well when zinc is deficient, say
nutrition experts. Meat and seafood supply most of the zinc in
our American diet. Other sources include beans, nuts, whole
grains, and fortified breakfast cereals.
fats found in fish oils have been shown to have a
"profound effect on wound healing and infections"
according to a review on this topic in the medical journal,
Advances in Wound Care. Best sources of these fats are
dark-fleshed cold water fish such as salmon and sardines.
Products fortified with DHA and EPA (the more potent forms of
omega-3 fats) are also good sources.
when I checked on him, Cal easily galloped in from the pasture
with his buddies. Amazing how the body can knit itself back
together with the right ingredients.