Healthy Food for Lymphedema Management

Nutrition, Exercise & Lymphedema

Did You Know… 

If you have Lymphedema, the foods that you eat not only impact your overall health and weight, but also have a huge impact on your Lymphedema.. Learn more about how nutrition and exercise can effect your Lymphedema. 


It is always important to consume a balanced diet and avoid excessive sodium, sugar or fat. But, for people with Lymphedema, limiting your sodium intake is particularly crucial. Sodium causes fluid retention, which results in increased swelling. 


Lymph fluid is high in protein, but this does not mean that you should limit your protein intake. Protein is very important to a balanced diet and a healthy body. 

Avoid consuming all of your protein in red meat– instead consume a variety of high protein foods. Chicken, fish and legumes are easy to digest and often are a lean source of protein.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking lots of water and always staying hydrated is extremely important to managing your Lymphedema. Lymph fluid is full of protein and doesn’t flow as freely as water. So, adding water to your diet will help to encourage the circulation of lymph fluid. 


While it is not necessary to stop consuming dairy, it is recommended to stick to lower fat content dairy products and include more cultured dairy such as yogurt and kefir.

Alcohol & Caffeine

Alcohol & caffeine are both known diuretics which result in increased fluid retention, so it is recommended to have very limited quantities or none at all. 


In addition to a nutritious diet, exercise can also have a huge impact on your Lymphedema— 

Exercise in concurrence with Complete Decongestive Therapy can be extremely effective. Exercise causes muscle to tighten and release which facilitates in the flow of fluid.  

Specific exercises are recommended on a personal basis according to their area of swelling and overall health. 

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