Any advice re food etc to promote healing?


My back wound has opened up and had an infection (which is now clearing up) but I still have scough (spell? - the yellow uck) which the doc says needs to clear up but that the wound should heal from the inside out.

I started chemo the day before wound opened up (mx and LD recon was 6 weeks ago) and the surgeon doesn’t think it necessary to delay the next chemo but obviously chemo will slow down the healing.

Does anyone have any advice for foods/supplements etc I can eat to promote healing as I am planning a deep bubbly bath once I have no more holes!


Something like Astragalus which boosts the immune system might help.

There is some evidence that using honey topically can aid healing. Manukah Honey is recommended. But talk to your doctor or practice nurse before trying it.


I’ve avoided anything that might strengthen my immune system through chemotherapy, in case it lessens the effect of the cancer fighting drugs, ie, I’ve given Taxotere free rein and not put up any resistance!



If in any doubt, check those sites that provide information on inter-drug interactions. I have never found anything that indicated immune system boosters were to be avoided when on chemo.

Not to eat too much seafood, lamb - these food does not help heal wounds. Eat some clear soup made from chicken or pork is comforting…

Thanks for your responses, Avonlea - do you know why seafood and lamb aren’t good but chicken or pork is? I ask because I am a prawn fanatic and just had roast lamb for tea!

I know that on this site we need to be cautious about posting links. However, if a statement is made about a certain food, particularly one to avoid, it is useful for the rest of us to have an idea where the information is coming from… personally I would take seriously anything my oncologist told me, but something from the website of a seller of herbal products might need more checking out. Maybe we can just give enough info on here that can be used in an Internet search, such as Google, e.g. (invented example) “look at Dr Makealotofmoney’s site”.
It’s all too easy to pass on “recommendations” for which there is little, if any, scientific evidence, and which can be unnecessarily stressful - something none of us needs.
(by the way, I work in food science and have secondary bc.)

Hi Ostrich,

I have also been told Manuka honey is good for healing and can be applied around a wound onto the skin. Perhaps you could look this up first.

good luck

Some interesting responses. Here’s what I know and some things that in your shoes I would certainly ask.

I know that…

some friends of mine use manuka honey like a cream on wounds ie to aid healing… but I would think that you need to dry the wound a bit so I’m not sure that would be the right thing to use until oozing has stopped, not sure basically on that one.

You need protein to build tissue and white meats such as chicken are good for that. I’ve never heard of there being any problems with eating lamb or shelfish, I ate them when recovering for my bilateral mastectomy and had no problems but if you want to play it really safe some believe that that chicken and turkey are easier to digest (simpler proteins basically).

I asked about this whole idea that your immune system needs to be impaired for chemo to work, and was told it’s not at all true. The immune system does take a dive as a side effect of the chemo, just like loosing hair, but people who use cold caps don’t have a difference in prognosis

I don’t want to cause offence to the lady who’s been led to believe that but if you’re at all unsure I would *certainly* ask your onc and/or chemo nurses outright if it will change the effect of the chemo if try to improve your immune system to aid in healing as I was told that this is not true and it strikes me as possibly a little dangerous if we are being led to believe that trying to remain healthy is bad.

Oh yeah Nuts are a great source of protein and oils too.

Actually eating Manuka honey can promote healing too I have read

As I understand it, it’s not that the immune system needs to be impaired for chemo to work, it’s just that it shouldn’t be artificially (for want of a better word) bolstered during the process either.

I suppose I see chemo as a river and any attempt at damming it may trap something I’d rather have removed!

(Just my personal analogy!)



Picking up on Vertangie’s comment about the immune system needing to be impaired for chemo to work, she’s correct. It’s not true at all. I discussed this notion with my oncologist on Friday and he said it was nonsense and that doing anything sensible to boost it was a jolly good idea during chemo. He advised me against herbal supplements because he said that they may contain ingredients that would work against the chemo, and considering the many products on the market, I didn’t think it fair to lug anything in for him to check on my behalf.

Cat that made me laugh… just the idea of presenting the whole of Holland and barret to my onc and saying what can I use… that would be cruel :wink:

Thanks for all your comments, unfortunately until the scuff (yellow ucky tissue) has come out of the wound it can’t begin to heal although the rest of the wound is apparently looking good and the tissue is granulating (a good thing). Once (and its been 3 weeks!) the scuff comes off then it can begin to heal and probably packed with seaweed so that it heals from the bottom out rather than just the edges healing and leaving a void. Its gonna be a long road. I am beginning to wish someone had offered me maggots to eat the scuff so I would be further down the road by now. I have heard with slow healing they can take me in and clean the scuff out under general and then sew me up from the inside out so I may be asking the surgeons when I go back on the 26th about this as I have been told the wound certainly wont be healed by xmas and surgical clean and stitch would have a better cosmetic result.

I have been eating nuts and omega mix of seeds plus chicken etc but its still a long road, - 8 weeks post surgery today!

i heard that putting honey on wounds helps them heal. they use honey in some hospitals.