All forms of Angioedema are caused by inflammation, a natural process of the immune system that can affect our overall health. Long-term inflammation can cause chronic stress, is very unhealthy, and increases the chances for diabetes and heart disease.
Inflammation can be caused by many lifestyle choices including a diet high in processed foods such as refined flours, sugars, processed meats, trans fats, and dairy. Convenience foods high in sodium like frozen dinners and restaurant food can also lead to problems.
The seemingly sudden onset of swelling can be scary, but with the help of professionals, a strict elimination diet can help identify allergen triggers. An elimination diet starts with the removal of food coloring, flavor enhancers, and preservatives. Food elimination diets can be very restrictive and difficult to adhere to but if followed properly for a short period of time they can prove effective.
Foods to Avoid on an Elimination Diet
- Common food allergy triggers such as nuts, eggs, and shellfish, are always excluded.
- Processed meats such as packaged luncheon meat and meat products, black pepper, sugar of any kind, and alcohol.
- Store-bought chips, crackers, granola bars, breakfast cereals and other packaged foods containing flavor enhancers.
- Depending on current health status many fruits and vegetables may need to be avoided for a time period as well.
Fresh or dried foods are normally permitted on this type of diet. Fresh meats, tofu, approved organic fruits and vegetables (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and leafy greens), and organic rice are also allowed.
How Elimination Diets Work
While practicing a restrictive diet, if your symptoms decrease, you can gradually reintroduce foods. If the food does not cause an increase in symptoms, you can keep the food as part of your diet. However, if symptoms return, the food is flagged as an allergy trigger.
Elimination diets can be tricky, so you should consult with a physician, nutritionist, or health professional to assist in selecting foods to eliminate and monitor changes in symptoms. It is never recommended to diet to the point of malnutrition, as this can cause a host of issues unrelated to angioedema.
When trying to combat angioedema, consuming foods that are high in B vitamins, healthy fats, vitamin C, potassium, and herbs such as dandelion, bilberry and grape seed extract are all helpful with reducing inflammation and restoring electrolyte balance.
In addition to dietary changes and herbal supplements, some alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, lymphatic dry skin brushing, and wearing compression socks can also be an effective alternative therapy for relieving symptoms.
Combatting Edema with a Whole Food Diet
If you find that your Edema is not caused by a specific food or environmental trigger, changing your diet to a whole food diet can make a large difference. Eating a balanced nutrient-dense whole food diet can help reduce the symptoms and reduce swelling. A whole food diet will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to relieve swelling, prevent inflammation, strengthen blood vessels, and balance electrolytes. By making a few simple adjustments to your diet, supplements, and lifestyle you may find your symptoms fade in a couple of weeks.