What should I eat?
There’s no secret that eating healthier not only makes us overall physically healthier, but it helps us sleep better and have more energy throughout our day. As the weather improves and we head into the warmer calendar months, there is an abundance of natural, healthy foods for the taking.
Eating better is even more important for those who suffer from Lymphedema and Lipedema. Maintaining a healthy weight and keeping our weight in check greatly benefits those who need to prevent obesity from developing.
Studies have shown that around 50% of patients with lipedema also struggle with being overweight.1 This can enhance symptoms and lead to increased water retention and mental stress. While there are many fad diets out there to lose weight quickly, they typically aren’t long-lasting. Maintaining a balanced diet will achieve lasting success. The right diet can play a very important role in supporting a successful therapy.
Lymphedema and Lipedema – can I lose weight with my diet?
Following a healthy diet while keeping a physical fitness regimen can help prevent or reduce obesity. But, the increase in the fat tissues on the extremities caused by the disease will not go away just by eating healthy, unfortunately. But a healthy diet can help you avoid secondary diseases that are associated with being overweight. For example, diabetes.
In a study done at the Center for Vascular Medicine in Hamburg with obese lipedema and lymphedema patients, it was shown that patients could reduce their discomfort and pain by up to 80 percent with a long-term change in diet. In addition, fewer treatments were needed.2
Healthy tips for a balanced diet
Healthy foods and fluids can support positive therapeutic outputs and counteract possible secondary diseases.
- Fruits & Vegetables: As we near summer, the amount of fresh, colorful varieties of fruit and vegetables are available to provide important substances our bodies need. It is recommended to have 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables per day. We must stay mindful of our fruit intake, though, due to increased blood sugar levels. It’s important to always treat yourself to green, yellow and red fruits and vegetables, aka the traffic light principle.
- Choose Healthy Fats: Nut butters, seeds, avocados or nuts are good in moderation, but you should reduce fats in baked goods, like margarine.
- Meat & Dairy: It is best to consume in moderation.
- Low salt intake: Remember that salt binds water in the tissue so it is best to keep a low-salt diet.
- Breaks between meals: Take time between meals to allow your body to absorb the food it consumes. The body feeds on this excess energy in between meals and stores it in the form of fat or glycogen.
- Blood sugar levels: It’s important not to spike blood sugar levels, which can happen when eating processed foods, sodas, sweets, and white flour to name a few.
- Drink, drink, drink: Water that is. Avoid sugary soft drinks and juices whenever possible, which contain unnecessary calories.
- Get moving: Exercise helps to reduce stress. Getting out and taking in fresh air can help not only your physical wellbeing, but also your mental wellbeing.
It’s important to be mindful of the types of foods we consume in order to be the healthiest we can be, especially for those of us living with lymphedema or lipedema. Talk to your healthcare provider before beginning any healthcare regimen that is new for you.
1 S1 guideline lipoedema, AWMF reg. no. 037-012, as of October 2015. Published online at: www.awmf.org/leitlinien/detail/ll/037-012.html (last accessed May 3, 2018).
2 Faerber, G. Nutritional therapy for lipoedema and obesity – results of a guideline-based therapy concept. vasomed 2016;4:176-177.