Nutrition & Lymphedema

I am reading this article by Alexa on The Lymphie Life while having an afternoon snack: a piece of dark chocolate with hazelnuts and a coffee with cream… Not the perfect combo for such a condition as lymphedema, is it? This is my guilty pleasure I still indulge in sometimes – I think I will do a big coffee+chocolate “party” for myself before giving it up, going cold turkey and see how my body reacts to that.

One thing I can positively say that it makes a difference: coconut oil. Maybe the main reason for having a coffee right now is not really the pick-me-up effect (I just had a wonderful shower with a longer dry brushing session than normally and feel fresh as a rose bud), but yesterday I got a new jar of coconut oil after taking a 10-day-or-so break from this heavenly smelling, fatty yumminess and now just can’t get enough of it. A teaspoon of coconut oil in my coffee – ahhh! I can’t say for sure that it makes coffee a health drink but through the chock full of benefits coconut oil has, I chose to afford the black brew from time to time.

It’s great general info in the Lymphie Life article on what to eat, and I would add a couple of points here.

  1. One suggestion for correction for this article would be about FATS: it says “include only a minimum amount of fat” but there are huge differences between fat and fat! Coconut oil for instance, is one of the healthiest thing on earth you can put into your body and it will not only not make the burden on your lymph system worse but will help you to eliminate debris that clog it up.
  2. Another subject where opinions and experiences can differ is the question of SALT. Again: not every salt equals salt equals salt. The qualities, the properties and so the effects on our bodies of various salts are astonishingly different. The white, refined crystal which is sold as table salt and universally known as salt, can’t be mentioned on the same day as a few other types of salts with rich mineral content and which are in fact essential for the body: for example Himalayan pink or black salt, Celtic salt and one or two others.

Drinking lots of water without the proportionally right amount of salt will throw the body fluids out of balance.

This is apparently something that all those who advice to go almost saltless because of the sodium content of salt, forget! But just think of this: patients in the hospital who need intravenous fluid replacement, get saline solution and not only plain water.

Essentials to life: water and salt. (Baltic Sea boat trip, Aug 2007)
Essentials to life: water and salt. (Baltic Sea boat trip, Aug 2007)

Recently I am more conscious of how much water I drink, and to each cup of water I put a pinch of pink Himalayan salt – it doesn’t change the taste really much but MY LEGS LOVE IT! On the days when I do have the proper amount of water with that pinch of salt, my legs behave much better, and on the days when for some reason I am behind with the water intake and my legs get heavier, I remember to drink my salty water and my legs will be grateful for it immediately.

When I shared this in a lymphedema forum, a few people (old timer, seasoned lymphies) kept telling me that “No! Salt is not good for you!”, “The body doesn’t need added salt at all”, and so on – they only didn’t tell me that I was stupid for taking extra salt, because they are polite ladies.

The thing is though: DOES IT WORK? Does something that you do, make your condition better or worse? I can say it with certainty that plenty of water+good salt is helping me to deal with lymphedema A LOT. And the skeptics can say and think whatever they wish.

Actually, I have so good experiences with these two nutritional items: coconut oil and pink Himalayan salt that for whatever reason I ever got into the situation of having to survive without any food for a week or two, I would make sure I have access to water and have enough of these two with me.

Overall, this article on The Lymphie Life is a great summary of what should one eat, and these points above would be my addition, just try them and see what they do for you.

You can go to a nutritionist, read books and learn from others about their experiences with lymphedema and diet, but at the end of the day, it will be you who can tell what is good for you. A good way to find it out is the elimination route: skip certain foods for about 3 weeks and then add them back to your diet one after the other, and watch how your body reacts to each of them. Here is an easy elimination diet plan that will explain it with more details and here is another one.

I have not done the elimination diet yet, because I only started recently on these things I just wrote about: water+salt, coconut oil (and dry brushing plus one more thing that addresses my issues energetically-emotionally, about which a bit later), and am monitoring how do these effect my body – the changes are very pleasing, so far 🙂

Whatever you do, enjoy your food  and your day!

Andrea GerakAndrea Gerák (also spelled as Gerak) is a Hungarian artist, mostly known as a singer. She is also photographing, dancing, writing, and forever learning through her journey in the world, living out of a suitcase. Her attention turned to healthy living after a cancer surgery in 2008. Proud mom of a big boy.

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Here is the link again to the original Lymphie Life article Nutrition & Lymphedema

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The Lymphie Life

There are many misconceptions concerning which foods to eat and which to avoid when you have lymphedema. Some people recommend steering clear of sodium, others say protein. Some people even say to reduce fluid intake! What’s a lymphie to do!?

Have no fear – I’ve done a little research on the topic of nutrition and lymphedema and made a list of some quick facts and tips on how to treat your lymphedema by watching what you eat. Remember – I’m no doctor, so please do your own research if you have any questions or doubts.

Click to continue reading..

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