Foods To Help With Swelling & Lymphedema

December 11, 2023

If you are struggling with swelling or lymphedema we want to share with you some nutritional recommendations we teach to the clients who are struggling with this condition. We’ll talk about what lymphedema is and the foods to eat plus foods to avoid to help support the function of the lymphatic system. We’ll touch on inflammation and ways to use nutrition to help reduce it.

Join our Dishing Up Nutrition Facebook Community!


Podcast Powered by Podbean

Similar Podcast Episodes:

Print Transcript


MELANIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. It's hard to believe, but we have been on myTalk every Saturday morning for the last 20 years, bringing life changing real food nutrition. That's a long time. And we have loved the ride, right, Britni?

BRITNI: Yes, we have. It has been wonderful.

MELANIE: Well, as we continue to celebrate our 20 year anniversary of Dishing Up Nutrition, we have an announcement to share with you, our valued listeners. Starting in January, Dishing Up Nutrition will no longer be aired live on myTalk. However, and this is a big however, you can still hear the same life changing nutrition through our podcast like we've done for the last 15 years and you can find Dishing Up Nutrition wherever you listen to podcasts or right from our website, under podcasts.

Click Here to Find to Our Podcasts!

Very easy. We are thankful that you've joined us on our Saturday mornings and we really hope you're going to continue to listen. It's the difference between going to your radio or going to the website.

BRITNI: Exactly. So if you are in the habit of listening every Saturday morning with your cup of coffee or cup of tea, you can keep doing that. Yeah, absolutely. Just continue that, that nice habit.

MELANIE: And here's the beauty. If you have to go to the restroom or let your dog out, all you have to do is hit pause and we will still be where you left off. That's the beauty of it. Well, welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness.

For the past 20 years, we have had a live Dishing Up Nutrition show every Saturday morning on my talk, which also became available via podcast about 15 years ago. I just want to give a nod to Dar Kvist who started it. With 20 years of shows, this is the very first time we have had a show about lymphedema. If you are struggling with lymphedema, we really want to share with you the nutrition connection.

Today, we'll be sharing some nutritional recommendations we teach our clients who are struggling with this condition. Of course, our recommendations are focused on foods; this is our lane; what to eat and foods to avoid. We also utilize current research about nutrients that support the function of your lymphatic system.

I'm Melanie Beasley. I am a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with over 35 years of working with clients. I'm also a breast cancer survivor, breast cancer survivor. So this topic is near and dear to me.

BRITNI: Well, good morning. I am Britni Vincent. I'm also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. I have been with Nutritional Weight and Wellness for over nine years now. It's hard to believe. It goes by fast. And I see a lot of clients that have hormonal concerns, such as PCOS or perimenopausal symptoms or menopause concerns.

But today it is all about foods to help with lymphedema. We know that each year, 240,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and about a quarter of those women will experience lymphedema.

MELANIE: That's a lot. When you think that's like one in six women that will have breast cancer. So then you break down that, that's quite a number.

What is lymphedema?

BRITNI: It is. It really is. And currently there's not been a medical treatment developed to completely cure lymphedema. So it really is more about lifestyle factors to help to manage that. And lymphedema is a chronic inflammatory condition. It's the accumulation of fluid in soft body tissues caused by a damage or block lymph system.

And the lymph system is a network of lymph vessels, tissues and organs that carry lymph throughout the body. And the lymph is specifically that fluid that drains from your cells and tissues, but it doesn't get reabsorbed.

MELANIE: Mm hmm. So, you swell.

What can cause lymphedema?

BRITNI: So again, it's basically an inflammatory condition resulting in a buildup of fluid. And primary lymphedema is not very common. That affects 1 in 100,000 people. Secondary lymphedema is much more common. And that affects approximately one in 1,000 people. So what are, you know, we talked about breast cancer. Or it could be other cancers, of course.

MELANIE: Yes. Anything that is going to affect that, that lymphatic system. So lymphedema occurs as a result of a blockage in that lymphatic system. It's most often caused by a traumatic event such as a sports injury, deep cuts, bruises, but it's an after, it can be an after effect of surgery for cancer treatment. So a lot of times with breast cancer, they will track and remove your lymph nodes to make sure that you are clear of cancer.

So I had to have three lymph nodes removed before they said, yep, clear of cancer. So that puts you at risk. That's a traumatic event and more, more rarely lymphedema can occur as a birth defect or a symptom of infection.

BRITNI: And heart failure. That could be another…

MELANIE: Heart failure. Yeah. Sports injuries. So it's, I think most common what we see in clinic is a result from cancer.

Other risk factors for the likelihood of developing lymphedema

BRITNI: Yep. Yep. I agree. Yeah. And what, what are some other risk factors that might increase the likelihood of developing lymphedema?

MELANIE: Well, I think, being obese. or overweight puts people at a higher risk for lymphedema because obesity can make it harder to treat the lymphedema itself. So I always encourage my, my clients with cancer or cancer survivors to talk to their cancer care team and, and see, they're going to give you a whole host of information. I know they did me.

Get their advice. It, it calms you down. Sometimes people will wear like a sleeve, a compression sleeve when they fly. There's a lot, there's a lot of information out there and your cancer care team; very knowledgeable.


MELANIE: So a lot of questions I get is, can this ever go away?

Can lymphedema go away/what can help with it?

BRITNI: Yeah. Well, some early stages of lymphedema could go away without treatment. But there is no cure for later stages of this condition. So it's again, just kind of managing lifestyle to help to, to reduce the lymphedema. And once that lymph system is damaged, it can't be repaired. So things that can help with the lymphedema: physical activity is huge.

It encourages fluid to drain into that lymphatic system and into the abdomen, whether that's walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi; all of those could be helpful. You mentioned sleeves or if you have lymphedema more in your legs or feet, compressions, stockings.

MELANIE: If you're able, the rebounder helps with lymphatic drainage, if that's something that your body can handle. I have some clients, they'll stand on vibration plate because they're not able to exercise, but that helps with lymphatic drainage; lymphatic massage.

BRITNI: Yep. Great ideas. Really good ideas. And then of course, we're going to dive into the nutrition piece because if we're eating inflammatory foods, that can only exacerbate lymphedema since…

Nutrition & physical therapy treatments are recommended for lymphedema

MELANIE: It's an inflammatory condition. Yeah. And well, like you said, sadly, there is no absolute cure available for lymphedema. Some of the therapeutic approaches such as that lymphatic drainage, compression therapy, but there is no pharmaceutical treatment that has been developed. As of today, a combination of nutrition and the physical therapy treatments we were talking about seem to deliver the very best help.

BRITNI: Yeah. Absolutely. And when we work with a client with lymphedema, we put together a nutritional treatment plan. You know, we base it on current research and then what we see works with other clients, that clinical experience that we have. And as nutritionists and dietitians, we know the food and beverages that increase inflammation and the ones to recommend that reduce inflammation.

And we all have experience working with a variety of clients experiencing autoimmune condition or long haulers, that post COVID symptoms. Those are both inflammatory conditions as well. And, you know, we see many other conditions again, that is rooted in inflammation.

MELANIE: So the beauty of what you're saying is when we work on one inflammatory condition, like we're focused on the lymphedema, the entire body is going to benefit because you are working on entire body reduction of inflammation.

BRITNI: Absolutely. We are focused on the whole body.

MELANIE: Yes. We want our, our entire client to go and do well. But, we'll talk more about this after our break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today we're discussing foods that may help you manage lymphedema. About one in five people or 20 percent of people will experience lymphedema after breast cancer treatment. If a friend or family member has lymphedema, share this podcast show of, of Dishing Up Nutrition.

You can go to our website at Click on podcast and there we are. They may not realize that the order of fast food fries could be making their symptoms worse. The more we know, the better we can do. We'll be right back.

Find Our Podcasts Here!


Nutritional recommendation for lymphedema: eat enough protein

BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today we will repeat some of our nutritional recommendations for lymphedema. Recommendation number one: eat enough protein, because when you don't eat enough protein, your connective tissues can weaken, making lymphedema worse. A safe range of protein would be at least 12 ounces throughout the day. Better than that for most people would be even 14 ounces daily.

MELANIE: That's where I reside.

BRITNI: Yeah. And we're going to talk about some, how do you actually do that? We're going to talk about that later in the show.

Processed carbohydrates, sugar, refined fat & oils, & artificial sweeteners create inflammation

MELANIE: It seems daunting until you kind of break it down, I think. Well, the National Institute of Health reports that diet plays an essential role in lymphedema. They point to the Western diet based on processed carbs, refined fats and oils, plus sugar, which all leads to chronic inflammation.

Britni, let's give listeners some ideas of foods they may be eating that are inflammatory. And they'll need to let go of. But first I want to tell you, I was watching a, it was a TikTok video or something. I cannot remember his name, but he walks through grocery stores and talks about clean food. And he showed an average lunch with bread, deli meat, chips, pickles, and a juice, and then added up the sugar. And it was like a hundred, it was like 120 grams.

BRITNI: Oh my goodness.

MELANIE: Yeah. Yeah. It was crazy. Anyway, I can't remember the specifics, but I'm telling you, he just showed the sugar in the bread, the sugar in the deli meat, the sugar in the pickles, the sugar in the chips that were low fat. And then the sugar that, the sugar bang you're getting from drinking juice. Amazing.

BRITNI: And then that's only going to create more inflammation in your body, making your lymphedema worse or making your high blood pressure worse, your joint pain worse, whatever that brain inflammation is in your body. Now I think, you know, breakfast comes to mind. I think of cereal with skim milk. Maybe you have some toast with margarine and jam on it. And then throw in some flavored coffee creamer, all very high in sugar.

MELANIE: But when you look at the plate, it looks like a Western breakfast.

BRITNI: Yep. It looks like what what we've been taught to eat. I mean, I used to have that: cereal, skim milk.


BRITNI: Loved the flavored coffee creamers. And even if, I get this question a lot, even if you're purchasing a cereal that has very, very low level of sugar on the label, remember that all those carbohydrates are going to break down to sugar in the body.

MELANIE: That's a great point. So if you take the total carbohydrates on the box, divided by four, that's the teaspoons of sugar that is being dumped in your bloodstream; carbohydrates divided by four.

BRITNI: And then also looking at the serving size, many of them are 3 quarters of a cup, maybe a cup, maybe half a cup. Well, that's not realistic at all. You know, I was having probably at least 2 cups. Then you need to multiply that. So anyways, it ends up being a very high carb, high sugar breakfast. That's just setting you up for inflammation the entire day. And when you start your day with more carbs and sugar, you are more likely to eat more carbs and sugar throughout the day.

MELANIE: Yeah; triggers those cravings. That's a really good point. Well, here's a common food habit that is very inflammatory. I'm going there: Popcorn. If you love popcorn with your movie night, that popcorn habit is very, very inflammatory. I have difficulty even squatting down if I have popcorn because it's so inflammatory to my joints.

BRITNI: Wow. And the corn itself for a lot of people can be very inflammatory.

MELANIE: Very. Yeah. It's so genetically modified. It's not the corn of a hundred years ago.

BRITNI: Yes. You know, I have some clients that like to go get breakfast through the drive through, fast food, whether that be they're on the go or they just want to get out of the house. I have some retired clients that just want to get out and about and they, they're sick of cooking.

So you get some sort of egg sandwich with an English muffin, a coffee. So thinking about what is wrong with that breakfast? Well, an English muffin is made with wheat flour, which contains gluten. Gluten is very inflammatory for many people. Plus the eggs, the hash browns cooked in refined oils, again, very inflammatory. And especially at a fast food location, those oils are being used over and over again, making them even more damaged and inflammatory for our bodies.

MELANIE: You know, and I'll have, I'll have, especially my retired clients, they will say to me, “I've always been able to eat bread. What's the big deal?” Well, in the bread is gluten has been hybridized. And it used to be a very fragile grain, but over the hybridization, and the big one was in the nineties where they wanted to make it a higher yield grain. And that made it very difficult for our bodies to break down. So it's not the gluten and the wheat that we grew up on that we didn’t have these issues.

BRITNI: Yeah. I'm glad you brought that up because that's really important.

MELANIE: Yeah. So really an inflammatory lunch might be a simple sub sandwich: bread, chips, and a cookie. And then you add that can of soda. We, we call soda inflammation in a can. It's just, so, so fast. It's a very fast way to get inflammation, weight gain, fatty liver. I could go on and on about soda.

BRITNI: And even if it's diet soda, those artificial sweeteners are also very inflammatory and frankly very addictive for people.

MELANIE: Yes. I, if you're, if you are stuck with that, the bubbly soda, you could try one that’s sweetened with stevia. They're out there.


MELANIE: They're not going to cause any inflammation.

BRITNI: Yeah. That can be a really great way, you know, a worse, better, best situation. Step into that, and I've had clients that works really well for.

Eat a variety of vegetables & low sugar fruits

MELANIE: Yeah. Well, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, and we're suggesting foods that may help manage swelling and lymphedema. Eating a variety of vegetables and low sugar fruits, I'm thinking berries, is a good source of antioxidants. We suggest two cups of either raw or cooked vegetables with each meal, and you can cook them how you love them, steam them, sauté them, grill them with avocado oil. You can use coconut oil. We have a great recipe on our website,, for roasting carrots, parsnips, and beets. Try having a variety of vegetables ready to eat and you will be successful. We'll be right back.


BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you need more help getting motivated to eat more vegetables, let me suggest signing up for a nutrition, Nutritional Weight and Wellness cooking class. We use a Zoom format and chef Marianne not only teaches you kitchen tricks, but she also motivates you to use your kitchen as a healing tool, which is so fabulous. So go to our website to sign up and classes are only $25.

Sign Up for a Cooking Class!

MELANIE: It's a steal.

BRITNI: It is! And then you get the recording for three days, so you can watch it live. And then, you know, the next day you could watch it again while you're cooking.

MELANIE: Yeah. Pause it and do... The other thing I love is you get an entire grocery list with all of the recipes. Yeah. Love that.

Client testimonial: the impact of removing gluten and other inflammatory food

BRITNI: So we were talking before break about gluten and how inflammatory that can be. And I thought of a client story in regard to lymphedema. And so this client of mine, she will have swelling in her leg and it can get pretty severe. She's on medication to help reduce the swelling, but it does not completely get rid of it. When she eats completely gluten free and eats real food, that significantly goes away.

MELANIE: That has got to be so worth it.

BRITNI: Yes. Absolutely. And then, she's even talked about trying to get off of that medication too. So the gluten free for some people can be so helpful. And really the first step is just eating real food and really reducing, eliminating that processed food that that we've been talking about.

And, you know, I think that many times after cancer treatment or during cancer treatment or surgery, people's energy is low and it becomes easier to grab what's quick, give an energy boost, whether that's candy or chips or pop.

MELANIE: Fast food, takeout. So I always encourage my clients who are getting ready for a surgery, we talk about what to make and freeze, make and freeze in small portions that all you have to do is defrost. We have to have a plan so that you recover faster.

BRITNI: Yep. That's a good point. Recovering faster because your, your nutrient needs actually go up while you're healing. And so feeding your body real food, that protein, it's going to help you heal and recover faster.

MELANIE: And really just having, having that plan, it's if your inflammation is high and you're already at risk for lymphedema, it's you're dancing a dangerous dance. And so we really want to decrease the risk. I know that I didn't have the energy. I had two small children after cancer, so I, I practically lived on smoothies. That was what was quick and easy and fast and that worked for me.

BRITNI: It's a great suggestion.

Protein reduces inflammation & promote cellular repair

MELANIE: You know, the exact foods and the specific foods that reduce inflammation, well, Britni, you and I know from working with clients that experience inflammation, what happens when they switch to good quality animal protein, hugely important for every cell in the body.

In addition, we checked out the NIH recommendation and animal protein was the first macronutrient on their list to eat. So we, we know what we're doing over here at Nutritional Weight and Wellness and that helps reduce that inflammation. The quality of the meat is also important and I encourage my clients to buy grass-fed, organic meat if it's financially possible.

So, you know, things, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, pork, and of course, wild caught fish, especially salmon, which is so rich in omega-3s, which is anti-inflammatory, halibut is, sardines, you know, these fatty fish, they've got those omega-3s that are anti-inflammatory. And we don't want to forget about eggs, organic or pasture raised. It's going to be a little higher in omega-3.

BRITNI: Yeah. And some grocery stores don't have organic pasture raised, but if you can find free-range eggs, that would also be a great option. So you might be wondering how much protein do I actually need for healing? You know, I suggest at least three ounces to start if you're really deficient in your protein, but I do think that four to five ounces at your meals is really a better spot to be. Again, especially during this healing process when your protein needs are even higher.

MELANIE: Absolutely. And that's the cooked weight.

BRITNI: Yes. Yeah. Good point. And then throwing in a couple ounces at a snack or two is also going to be really beneficial. But most of our clients need help figuring out how do I put this into action? Like you said, it can be really overwhelming to think about.

MELANIE: Especially if you're not someone who loves to sit down and eat a big hunk of meat. You know, they, they just feel overwhelmed.

BRITNI: Yep. And. You, once you do start into the protein, you're going to feel a lot better. I hear it all the time from clients. “I have more energy. My cravings went away. My brain is functioning better.”

So here's some examples of how to get this into, into your day. Two to three eggs, you know, if you're only eating two eggs, could you throw in an ounce or two of chicken or turkey sausage? Maybe you have some chicken for lunch, a protein shake midafternoon, and a piece of salmon for dinner. And then for snack, it could be cottage cheese or maybe full fat plain Greek yogurt. Those are both high, high in protein if you tolerate dairy.

MELANIE: Wonderful. I know my daughter is living with us now until she gets married, and her breakfast is typically two to three chicken sausages, a scoop of cottage cheese and two eggs.

And then she, you know, throws in peppers and onions in her eggs. But, she's so focused on getting the protein because she wants to maintain her muscles so that she will look good at her wedding dress. And she's doing it. She looks good. So whatever she's doing is working.

Well, the onset of lymphedema may be a factor out of your control, but we know dietary changes and good lifestyle habits improve your symptoms and they can help you to manage that discomfort that is associated with lymphedema.

It is clear that the Western diet with excess sugar, flour, those bad inflammatory fats and chemicals just burden the body which result in inflammation. So what does your body need to heal and reduce inflammation? Real food, protein, lots of vegetables, natural fats, all very important. But let's start with animal protein like we've been talking about.

We need that protein specifically for growth and cellular repair. We get a variety of key nutrients from protein, all of our B vitamins, many of our minerals, such as zinc for our immune system and magnesium for our muscles and nerves. It does a body good.

The importance of vegetables to help reduce lymphedema

BRITNI: Yeah, it really does. It also provides you great energy, boosts your immune system, and very important because it helps to balance our fluids as well. So let's talk about the importance of vegetables in addition to the protein. Research from the NIH reports that oxidative stress could be reduced from natural antioxidants found in vegetables.

So how do you eat enough vegetables daily to get sufficient levels of polyphenols to help reduce the lymphedema? So here are some tricks I suggest to clients. Eat vegetables for breakfast instead of toast. Throw in some spinach, either fresh or cooked, with your eggs. Super easy to bake up several sweet potatoes for the week, and then you can have, you know, half a cup of sweet potato with your breakfast.

Celery with no sugar added peanut butter is a great snack, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, carrots, green beans, all of those great, are great snacks as well. You could roll up some organic nitrate free deli meat, put a cucumber in there, or sauerkraut. I actually like that.


BRITNI: And then you could even take it a step further, wrap it in a lettuce leaf or cabbage leaf. I have been really into roasting shaved Brussels sprouts.

MELANIE: Yum. Oh, so good with bacon fat.

BRITNI: Yeah. So the reality is to cut up Brussels sprouts, it takes a lot of time. So I, I buy them already shaved, saves me a lot of time.

MELANIE: You are a mother of three.

BRITNI: Yep. And, and that's what I do as much as I can to buy frozen pre-cut vegetables or pre-cut fresh vegetables just to save me time. And it makes a huge difference and it allows me to get all my veggies in.

MELANIE: And yeah. And I'm on the lazy train for breakfast anymore. I make a protein smoothie, put some, I put a scoop of my protein, the collagen and I love riced cauliflower or frozen kale. I buy the kale and just freeze it. You don't really taste it and you start your day off feeling really good. And then a half a cup of berries for the polyphenols and the antioxidants. And a little coconut milk. Good. Done. Go.

BRITNI: And you can make them ahead of time if you want to. But you know, for people that maybe don't love vegetables, I encourage you to try roasting them. It's really simple. It gives a totally different flavor. And that's how I've gotten a lot of my clients to eat more vegetables and they're easy to cook ahead too.

MELANIE: They are, and they're great in an air fryer. So put down a parchment paper, spray your, your vegetables, hit vegetables, you're done. This is what we should be using our air fryer for, right?

BRITNI: Yeah. Not the crispy, crunchy snacks.

MELANIE: No, not the battered egg rolls.


MELANIE: So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and I'm Melanie Beasley and I am in studio with Britni Vincent. Both of us are Registered and Licensed Dietitians. And we're discussing factors that help reduce the risk of lymphedema.

Maintaining a healthy weight may help reduce your risk of lymphedema. A weight loss plan really should include adequate amounts of protein, a variety of adequate amounts of vegetables, six to seven servings, and six to seven tablespoons of beneficial fat in addition to that, to help clients maintain a healthy weight.

We offer Nutrition for Weight Loss classes and one time personalized nutrition counseling with a licensed nutritionist. You can call 651-699-3438 and we can help you decide the best plan for you. All the ideas we're talking about will be talked about in class. We'll be right back.

Sign up for Nutrition 4 Weight Loss and/or Nutrition Counseling


BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Weight loss has been shown to be effective at reducing lymphedema and with breast cancer. Also, it has been found that extra weight puts greater strain on that lymphatic system ability to move fluid from, from the tissue.

So the best type of weight loss eating plan includes that sufficient protein we've been talking about, 12 to 14 ounces a day, several cups of vegetables to get lots of antioxidants and fiber. Add in those antioxidant rich fruit like blueberries. And then we can't forget that healthy fat which we are going to be talking more about. And then filtered water instead of soda. Eliminate the alcohol. And, and now that processed food and it'll change your life.

MELANIE: It'll change your life.

BRITNI: Our Nutrition for Weight Loss plan is a great option just to get you started and teach you the why behind all of this. And I know that people really appreciate learning the why, and then they're much more motivated to make these changes. And the reality is most people need some support and, and they really do appreciate that weekly accountability by seeing their other classmates and their teacher.

MELANIE: And, you know, we're supportive. We're not finger wagging. And, and that's the beauty of it. You need a team member that's going to support you.


MELANIE: I just want to circle back a little bit to when we're talking about lymphedema, we're talking about cancer, some of my clients will ask, well, how fast will I lose weight? So this is a piece that's important. It sounds like a lot of food when you and I are talking, but when you rapidly lose weight very, very fast, one, you're probably pulling from your muscle stores, which is part of your metabolism and part of your health, frame, stability, all of it.

But also when you are burning fat so rapidly because you might be in such a caloric deficit, you are dumping all the toxins that are stored in the fat into the body rapidly as sometimes that burden can result in detrimental problems down the road because the body can only handle processing the burden of toxins stored in the fat a little at a time.

So we don't really want to do these, these crazy crash dieting. So we want to protect the body as much as we can from these conditions like cancer and lymphedema. So with that, we're talking about some healthy beneficial fat we want to include, and looking at recent research, I suggest my clients to get good fats from nuts, olives, avocado, and grass fed butter.

Nutrients helpful for lymphedema

Make a big salad for lunch, including several vegetables, blueberries, olives, and top it with half an avocado. You use that olive oil dressing and you might add lemon juice or orange slices because they have found hesperidin, easy for me to say this morning; hesperidin; did I say that right Britni; hesperidin.

BRITNI: I think so. That is a mouthful.

MELANIE: It's a mouthful; extracted from citrus fruit has been shown to decrease lymphedema and in addition, vitamin A has been correlated with low levels of inflammation. Cod liver oil is a good source of vitamin A. So they've got great, wonderful flavored cod liver oil over there. Don't follow the bottle. You don't want to guzzle it because it's got vitamin A, but it's a great source of fat.

BRITNI: And, and not the cod liver oil that maybe you remember as a child.

MELANIE: That makes you shudder.

What is the best diet for healing?

BRITNI: Yeah, it's, it's flavored. It's manageable. So, you know, as we look back in the history of diets, gosh, there's been so many different diets over the years that have been recommended. But when we look at the ones recommended for healing, the big one that stands out is the Mediterranean diet, which includes animal protein, wild caught fish, lots of vegetables, ample use of olive oil.

We know that olive oil with a little added lemon juice is very anti-inflammatory. And this way of eating includes all natural fats from those olives, avocado, nuts, seeds, which help to support our cell membranes and our blood vessels, our heart, our bones, our brain. And we need that healthy fat for our entire body. That is really, really crucial to healing.

MELANIE: You know, Britni, and I just want to point out that if you have nuts and seeds, here's your homework, listeners. Go to the pantry, roll it over and read and make sure that there are no seed oils, soybean oil, safflower oil added to your nuts. It should just say nuts and salt.

BRITNI: Yes. Very, very great recommendation. So really the best option is to purchase raw nuts. If you want to roast them yourself, we have a great recipe on our website,, and then you can flavor them however you'd like to.

MELANIE: I think that recipe is called crispy nuts, isn't it?

Drink filtered water to support the lymphatic system

BRITNI: Yes. Yes. It is. You know, we also want to encourage drinking water, filtered water, not juice or soda, and this is really crucial to support the balance of fluids in your body, get that lymphatic system moving. And as the research from the National Institute of Health said, that diet plays an essential role in lymphedema. And we would like to help you follow an anti-inflammatory diet to have better control of your lymphedema.

And again, we've seen this happen with clients. I shared my one client and it was astounding how drastic the difference was in a short amount of time, just reducing inflammation from diet.

MELANIE: Yeah, and I, I will share a client's story on the opposite end of the spectrum. Lovely woman: breast cancer survivor, and she had lymphedema because they had removed all of her lymph nodes. She loved to get her nails done and she loved fast food and takeout. And, we worked together, but she, she just had difficulty giving up that fast food and soda that she consumed every day. Her lymphedema worsened and as she was, every time she would get her nails done, she would get a staph infection.

And so because her lymph isn't working and that's your immune system, she couldn't fight those staph infections. So she was in the hospital monthly with these staph infections. So you can see, you know, when we embrace taking care of our bodies and fueling our bodies with real food versus when we are putting a burden on the body with all the toxins and chemicals from fast food, the outcome can be dramatically different.

BRITNI: Yeah, it really can.

MELANIE: So, we want our listeners to really take care of their bodies overall, but if you have lymphedema, it takes a lot of focus and commitment.

BRITNI: It really does. It really does. And our clients who follow a real food diet and avoid processed carbohydrates, refined oils, they notice an improvement in their overall health, like we've been talking about. It affects every single area of the body, and sticking to an anti-inflammatory diet, it's not easy. And most people need that support. And that's where we come in.

MELANIE: And you're worth it. Listeners, you're worth it. You are worth feeling good every day. It's critical for your quality of life to be able to love and enjoy your life and activities and family. I think it’s a big deal.

BRITNI: Make yourself a priority.

MELANIE: Make yourself a priority. I love that. That's the message of today. So our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple, yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Have a great day.

BRITNI: Thank you.

Print Transcript


Back To Top