A healthful diet is an excellent way to help fight inflammation in the body. And given that inflammation is counter-productive for people combatting the effects of chronic lymphedema, it can be helpful for patients to adhere to an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle.
Lymphedema is a chronic condition characterized by swelling and/or discomfort in affected areas of the body. Under ordinary circumstances, the clear fluid that bathes the spaces between the body’s cells (interstitial, or extracellular fluid) drains into local lymphatic vessels, where it is recirculated toward the heart and into the general circulation. This fluid is called lymph when it circulates through the lymphatic vessels.
So, what, exactly does an anti-inflammatory diet look like? For that, we need only look to the Mediterranean diet. Studied for decades, this dietary pattern features plenty of whole foods, including vegetables, herbs, fruit, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. It also features fish. And very little red meat. The primary oil in the Mediterranean diet is olive oil, and some experts believe this may be one of the crucial keys to the healthful effects of the diet.
Lymphedema is a condition that has no real cure. The goal, then, is to manage and minimize symptoms, and to discourage the progression of the disease. Most people with lymphedema will have received at least some instruction in how to properly deal with their condition.