Nutrition & Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Proper nutrition plays an important role in the lifelong management of diabetic complications, including foot ulcers.
Fueling Your Body
Your body needs the right number of calories and amount of protein every day to heal a wound. Think of calories as fuel for your body, just like gasoline is fuel for your car. Without enough fuel, your body—and your car— can’t run properly.
Your Blood Sugar & Wound Healing
Blood sugar control is vitally important to wound healing. When blood glucose levels are high, the risk for wound complications and infections is greater. High blood glucose levels result in less oxygen and blood flow to the wound, which can increase healing time.
Poor Blood Circulation and Wound Healing
Poor circulation may mean that oxygen and nutrients have trouble getting to the feet to help the wound heal. Follow your doctor’s advice on how to manage poor circulation.
Advice for Diabetics With Foot Ulcers
Protect your heart and blood vessels by:
- Eating less unhealthy fats, such as trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and eating more unsaturated fats
- Maintaining a healthy weight and making healthy food choices
- Reducing your sodium intake, which can help control your blood pressure
- Not Smoking! According to the American Diabetes Association, one of the biggest threats to your feet is smoking. Smoking affects the small blood vessels. It can cause decreased blood flow to the feet and make wounds heal more slowly.
Protein Needs for Diabetics
Protein provides the foundation for tissue growth, cell renewal, and repair of a wound. Include protein sources at every meal, such as:
- Skinless chicken
- Lean meats
- Low-fat cheeses
- Vegetarian protein choices (soy, beans, or lentils)
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and play a role in wound healing. Arginine, glutamine, and a form of leucine called beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) may prove beneficial to healing. If your wound is not healing, ask your healthcare provider about targeted amino acid therapy.