Is there a lymphedema Diet Plan?
Although there is no prescribed lymphedema diet as such, maintaining a nutritious diet is certainly beneficial to combat the condition. Many doctors ask their patients to avoid a diet that is high in sodium. Very often, with lymphedema, the patient’s weight is a problem so a well balanced diet is usually advised. Apart from the issue of obesity, the patient may be suffering from other ailments like heart disease, hypertension or diabetes. The nutrition plan must accommodate the requirements of special diets for these conditions as well.
Lymphedema is associated with a collection of high protein fluid in the tissue spaces. Therefore, there is a question that arises regarding the intake of a protein rich diet. However, the high concentration of protein in the lymphatic fluids has no connection with the protein rich food you take. In fact, proteins are essential for rebuilding the wear and tear in the tissues and muscles. They are considered to be the building blocks of the body as they play a crucial role in manufacturing hormones and antibodies to fight off infection. If there is a shortage of proteins, the body will take the necessary proteins from the tissues and muscles to maintain the protein level in the blood. This will further weaken the body, especially for a person suffering from lymphedema. Starving the body of proteins is not an ideal lymphedema diet.
Consuming a low-salt diet may not directly reduce the lymphedema, but it depends on the individual circumstances. Some patients notice an aggravation of their lymphedema after having salty food. Therefore, it is a good practice to have a low sodium diet even in normal conditions. Fresh fruits and vegetable are better at providing the appropriate quantities of sodium the body requires. A well- balanced diet with sufficient amounts of protein, carbohydrates and unsaturated fats is good for everyone. Another essential component of a balanced diet is water. It is recommended that patients keep themselves hydrated by drinking sufficient amount of water per day. Water is essential to flush out the impurities in the body after a manual lymph drainage session.
In selecting a lymphedema diet, patients must avoid foods that promote weight gain. Maintaining an ideal body weight helps in maintaining the lymphedema as well. Extra body fats will increase the tissues from where the lymph needs to be drained. Your lymphatic system which is already stressed will not be able to cope with the additional burden and this may cause pressure on the lymph nodes, an invitation to disaster. Another disadvantage of gaining weight is that the patient may become less mobile and so may be unable to exercise. This further reduces the movement of the lymphatic flow leading to stagnation and cause swelling.
There is a growing interest among lymphedema patients regarding the Atkins Diet. Generally, lymphedema patients are overweight and this diet plan is supposed to induce weight loss. The Atkins Diet is low-salt and low-carbohydrate diet which helps in keeping the weight under control. Protein from lean meat is the main component and some kinds of cheeses are allowed. It is an ideal lymphedema diet plan for someone who would like to lose weight and it has shown positive results. So, indirectly, it may prove to be beneficial for reducing the symptoms of lymphedema by making the treatments more effective.
Coping with stress depletes the vitamins in the body and coping with lymphedema is highly stressful. Patients who are undergoing the treatments for lymphedema may suffer from vitamin loss and might need to replenish their supply of essential nutrients. A balanced diet may help to replenish some of the lost vitamins and nutrients but sometimes doctors may prescribe vitamin supplements to make up for the deficiency.
lumpectomy: Definition from Answers.com