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Nutrition and Dietetics Service

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Last updated: April 2020
Next review: April 2022

Leaflet: Eat well to heal well

Your food and fluid requirements will increase if you have a pressure ulcer or open wound.

To encourage your skin to heal and to prevent further ulcer development make every mouthful count and try to have a variety of nourishing foods and fluids.

  • Choose full fat and full sugar* products rather than ‘diet’, ‘low fat’ or ‘healthy eating’ varieties as these provide more calories.
  • Have high calorie snacks in between meals such as a yogurt, peanuts or cheese and crackers (see ‘100 Calorie Boosters’ resource for more examples).
  • Aim to drink at least 1.6 – 2 litres of fluid per day to keep hydrated and improve healing (see ‘Keeping Hydrated’ resource for more information).
  • Drink nourishing fluids* such as fruit juice, smoothies, fortified milk or milkshakes (see ‘Super Shakes’ resource for recipe examples).
  • Fortify your milk (add extra protein) add 2 – 4 heaped tablespoons of dried milk powder to a pint of milk, mix well and then use like regular milk.

*If you have diabetes, continue to choose sugar free drinks. You can have a moderate amount of foods containing sugar as part of a fortified diet. Speak to your GP, nurse or diabetes team for more information.

Tip: Taking a complete over the counter multivitamin and mineral supplement may be helpful if you find it difficult to have a varied diet.

Nutrient rich food

Vitamin C, zinc and protein are essential nutrients required to promote wound healing. Try to include some of the examples below in your diet:

Vitamin C

  • Fruit juice
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Red and green peppers
  • Potatoes


  • Meat
  • Shellfish
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Bread
  • Baked beans


  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Pulses and lentils

Reference: Nutrition and Dietetics Service, South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust