The holidays are different this year, there’s no denying that. And while it’s disappointing to not have the usual traditions, maybe this is an opportunity to start new habits and traditions. If you’re living with lymphedema, you probably already know certain foods trigger bloating and swelling, making you uncomfortable. This year, make a plan to avoid inflammatory ingredients that can make a challenging chronic condition harder to manage.
The gatherings are smaller already, so instead of preparing an enormous traditional feast, try out some new ideas with your intimate, fun holiday meal.
Avoid Trigger Foods
Lymphedema is not a one-size-fits-all condition. What triggers one person (salt, anyone?) may not necessarily trigger the next person (watermelon, what?!). If you’ve been thriving through lymphedema for a while, you may already understand your body and your trigger ingredients.
If you haven’t tracked trigger foods, or are not sure, here are a few common inflammatory ingredients you may want to avoid:
- Refined Sugars (candy, pie, cookies)
- Simple Carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, stuffing)
- Red Meat
- Dairy (whipped cream, eggnog, butter)
- Trans Fats (highly processed foods)
By now, you’re looking at the list thinking, “Yay…I can eat lettuce for Thanksgiving.” But wait! This is not just about what you shouldn’t eat. It’s about all the ways to manage inflammation.
If you are ravenous when you sit down at the table, it may be harder to avoid some of the not-so-great food choices. However, eating something healthy and nutritious before the meal is served can help mitigate temptation. Try eating a handful of low-salt almonds or veggies dipped in hummus.
Movement is a great way to reduce bloat, swelling and inflammation. And if you’re moving, you’re probably not eating. Find ways to enjoy the time you have with your loved ones that involve exercise, especially outdoors, weather permitting.
Whether it’s karaoke and a dance party, taking a stroll around the neighborhood, walking through a different part of town to see Christmas lights or a friendly game of cornhole, find joy and connection while moving and grooving.
There are plenty of wonderful foods that reduce inflammation. Shake up your holiday menu! Not only will you reduce the risk of an inflammatory episode, but you and your guests will be making all-around healthier choices. This year, healthy is the thing most people want! Good choices may include:
- Fresh Berries and Fruits
- Dark Chocolate
- Leafy Greens
Cherries, orange segments or a delicious bowl of berries with a few walnuts and chunks of dark chocolate can make for a spectacular finishing touch to a day filled with gratitude and love.
For more ideas on avoiding inflammatory ingredients to manage your lymphedema this holiday season, and for all your compression garment needs, contact Pretty in Pink Boutique.