Sardines are one of the many foods high in iron, and they can help treat anemia for enhanced wound healing.

One’s medical status can have a massive effect on the body’s ability to recover, and anemia can be detrimental to the wound healing process. This condition, which is marked by an iron deficiency, can hinder or halt healing. However, proper care and the guidance of a clinician can help you control your iron levels and enhance the body’s ability to recover.

What is anemia?

Anemia comes in several forms, but the most common is the type linked to iron deficiency. With this condition, the blood does not have the adequate amount of iron, an essential mineral that is necessary for the production of hemoglobin and helps transfer oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body. It does so by aiding in the process of red blood cell production; red blood cells contain the hemoglobin that is necessary to carry oxygen to different parts of the body.

People who suffer from anemia may often find themselves short of breath and tired. Other symptoms include:

  • Pale skin
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Frequent wound infections
  • Brittle nails
  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Tongue inflammation

Anemia may lead to restless leg syndrome, which can come with a tingling or crawling feeling in the legs. Poor appetite is also common with iron deficiency, and those with the condition often have unusual cravings for substances with no nutritional value such as dirt, starch and ice.

How does anemia affect wound healing?

When you are low in iron, tissues throughout the body do not get enough oxygen. The wound healing process relies heavily on oxygenation. In essence, low oxygen levels caused by anemia have the ability to halt or slow the wound healing stages, which leaves patients more susceptible to other complications such as wound infection.

How can I increase iron levels?

Treating this condition – and in effect enhancing wound healing – is often as simple as closely monitoring iron levels and balancing them with the right foods. Many everyday foods contain this element. According to the National Institutes of Health, these edibles are particularly high in iron:

  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Steamed oysters
  • White and kidney beans
  • Boiled chickpeas
  • Dark chocolate
  • Baked potato
  • Sardines
  • Pan-fried beef liver
  • Green peas
  • Cashew nuts
  • Roasted chicken and turkey
  • White rice
  • Whole wheat breads and pastas
  • Raisins
  • Fresh tuna
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Cantaloupe
  • White mushrooms

In general, red meats, green vegetables and legumes are good for enhancing iron levels. In addition to increasing the amount of iron you consume, vitamin C supplementation may also be beneficial, as this vitamin is required for the absorption of iron. In some cases, patients may need to take supplements to get enough iron in their bloodstream. If you believe you may have anemia, you should see a clinician to determine a treatment plan and the best way to enhance iron for proper wound healing.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.