Eating healthy is an important part of lymphoedema and lipoedema treatment. The internet gives a lot of information about diets and losing weight. But it is more important for you to focus on healthy eating combined with exercise and movement. Many diets fail in the end, and you often gain even more weight, called the yo-yo-effect.
Being overweight can worsen your lymphoedema symptoms. Overweight increases the pressure on the lymphatic system and on lymph production.
Being overweight can also worsen your lipoedema symptoms. Overweight can result in a progression of your lipoedema, and a secondary lymphoedema can develop.
Eating healthy is easier said than done!
There is a lot of confusing and inconsistent information about what to eat and what not to eat. Ask your healthcare professional when you have questions about nutrition. A specialized nutritionist can help you to balance your nutrition to maintain your weight.
Here are some basic nutrition guidelines that you can follow
- Carbohydrates should make up about one-third of the food you eat. Try to choose wholegrain or high fiber versions such as brown rice, whole grain pasta, or potatoes with skins left on.
- Fruit and vegetables should make up another third of the food you eat. They are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Try to avoid fruit juices or smoothies as they are high in sugar (fructose).
- Proteins are another important element of the food you eat. Beans or pulses are high in protein, and they are recommended over other protein sources, such as red meat. Try to eat two portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily fish such as salmon or mackerel. These fishes are high in Omega 3 acids.
- Dairy products (e.g., milk, cheese, and yogurt) are high in calcium, and they keep your bones healthy. Try to choose low sugar options whenever possible.
- Fats are an essential part of your nutrition as well. They help to absorb specific vitamins (vitamins A, D, and E). Keep in mind that fat not used by the body is stored as body fat. Try to choose ‘unsaturated’ fats (e.g., vegetable oils, oily fish, almonds, brazil nuts, and avocados) and try to avoid ‘saturated’ fats (e.g., cakes, butter, cream, sausages).
- Too much salt can raise your blood pressure and increases the risk of heart disease. Try to avoid convenient food as it is often high in salt. Take a look at food labels before buying. 1.5g or more salt per 100g means it is too high in salt.
- Sugar increases the risk of obesity and tooth decay. Try to avoid convenient food and drinks as they are often high in sugar (and in salt as well).
- The fluid we drink is as important as the food we eat. Water and unsweetened tea are recommended. Alcohol and sugary sodas contain empty calories and sugar, and you should try to avoid them.
Of course, you can also eat too much of a good thing!
Maintaining a healthy weight means burning off any extra calories you take in. Therefore, being active is equally important to eating well. It might be difficult to follow these guidelines at first. But if you try and adhere to the basic principles, it will become easier. You’ll be much more aware of the food you eat and you’ll notice how this improves your health - AND your lipoedema and lymphoedema symptoms as well!
It’s in your hands: take care of your body!
A balanced nutrition helps you to maintain your vitality and balance, strengthen your immune system, and increase your personal well-being. Beyond seeking professional advice, there’s plenty to learn from our healthy eating blog. Start by taking a look at some of the articles below.
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