Nutrition and Lymphedema: Maintaining a Lymphedema Diet

Fresh fruits and vegetables, and important part of a lymphedema diet

There are a variety of treatment options available to help reduce the appearance of lymphedema, a condition that include symptoms of extreme swelling and pain in your arms or legs caused by blockage in the lymphatic system. These treatments can include compression wrappings and lymphatic massages that can help with the drainage. However, following a healthy diet can also help reduce the appearance of lymphedema and improve your overall health. Here are some important nutrition recommendations for a lymphedema diet to follow to help with your symptoms:

Lymphedema Diet Rule #1: Watch Carbs

Important food elements to immediately cut out of your diet are added sugars, refined grains, and chemically modified fats. Diet high in carbs stimulate insulin and can lead to excess fat deposition in patient suffering with lymphedema.  There are metabolic changes that are seen in lymphedema that can tip the scale toward fat accumulation so extra care must be taken to eat a healthy relative low carb diet.

Reduce Prepared Foods

One of the hardest things to cut out after lymphedema has developed is trips to your favorite comfort food restaurants. Prepared foods are often high in added sugar, saturated fats, sodium, soy, and other ingredients that are unbeneficial to the body.

Keep It Simple

Whole foods will be your new best friend when following a healthy lymphedema diet. Vegetables and fruits are a great way to snack healthy, and it’s important to mix colors for the most vitamins. Foods that can be enjoyed with ease include: bright color vegetables, beans, berries, citrus fruits, colorful fruit, potatoes, milk alternatives, and coffee (because who could survive without coffee?). When cooking at home, use herbs and spices to give some extra flavor to your dishes instead of oils and butter.

Eat in Small Quantities

If you are having a difficult time cutting out any animal products from your diet, make sure to at least reduce your intake to 6-8 servings a week. The fewer servings you ingest during the week the better. Foods that should be enjoyed in small quantities include nuts, dairy products, eggs, meat and other animal protein, dressings, condiments, and oils.

Things to Cut Out

Like most diets, there are foods that are recommended to not be consumed at all or in very rare circumstances. This is even more important for those diagnosed with lymphedema. Foods to cut out of your diet include: grain products, fried foods, processed meals, sugar and sweeteners, sweet drinks, unhealthy fats, and all alcoholic beverages.

Help with the Laser Vein Center

If you need help managing your diet or looking for more aggressive treatment options, contact the Laser Vein Center today. Our trained staff are experts in treatment of lymphedema. Call for your free consultation today and see how we can help with your lymphedema.