If you’re constantly getting sick, feel tired all the time, or have weight issues, you may want to think about cleansing your lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system has three functions: 1. Fluid Recovery; 2. Immunity, and; 3. Lipid absorption. It is the body’s internal drainage system which is designed to rid your blood of acidic and toxic waste (the lymph system filters these toxins into our body’s major detox organs, the liver and kidneys). The tonsils, adenoids, spleen, and thymus are all part of the lymphatic system, all connected by a web of lymphatic vessels which, in a sense, is like a second circulatory system of the body.
The lymphatic system does not have a “pump” like our circulatory system does (the heart creates a beat which helps push and pump the blood around our body). Instead, the lymph system requires daily movement by the body and proper breathing in order to move lymph through the lymphatic vessels and to pass it through the filters in our lymph nodes.
Thus, we can see why exercising, meditating combined with conscious breathing, eating right, and avoiding processed foods and harmful toxins is essential to prevent infection and disease. Here are three steps to get your lymphatic system back on track to reveal a more healthier, vibrant YOU!
1. Foods For A Healthy Lymphatic System
Eating a proper diet rich in fruit and vegetables and adequate water are essential to ensuring your lymphatic system is clean and flowing free.
Green leafy vegetables and herbs are an excellent way to enrich your system with chlorophyll because this molecule helps to purify your blood which in turn cleanses your lymph.
Citrus fruits also have wonderful astringent properties which help increase lymph flow and remove any blockages. As well, melons help keep the body alkaline (and the lymphatic system drains best in more alkaline environments), while berries are packed with antioxidants which keep our immune system strong and don’t make the lymph system work as hard to fight off disease and illness.
Eating healthy fats like avocado, nuts and seeds is also important to ensure we get enough essential fatty acids which help protect and nourish our lymph system.
Drinking plenty of water is also dependent on how well your lymphatic system will flow. Because our lymph system requires a constant supply of fluid, drinking at least 3-4L of purified or filtered water daily will help to keep it functioning at its best!
2. Do These Activities
Massaging is a great way to encourage natural drainage of the lymph from the tissue spaces in your body. In fact, it can increase the volume of lymph flow by up to 20 times, making it easier for the body to remove toxins, bacteria and viruses.
Exercising, or “playing” as I like to call it (doing things you love while you are in motion) is critical to keeping your lymph system open and flowing! When your muscles move, they also help move and pump the lymph within it’s vessels. Walking, yoga, running, swimming, stretching and strength training are wonderful ways to keep the lymph flowing. Dancing (with lots of up and down movement – check out NIA!) or rebounding is particularly helpful because the vertical motion of the exercise opens and closes the one-way valves that comprise the lymphatic system (and can increase lymph flow by up to 15-30 times!).
Dry brushing helps increase circulation and helps improve your skin tone if you suffer from cellulite (mainly because the brushing helps to boost slower-than-average lymph systems). Starting on your arms, or legs, brush toward your heart with long strokes and do this for around 5 minutes all over your body before going into the shower.
Breathing deep is very important. Why? Proper movement of air through the lungs also helps move and pump fluid through the lymphatic system while providing it with fresh oxygen. Becoming conscious of your breathing throughout the day and getting out of the habit of shallow breathing is a great way to start.
3. Factors Contributing To A Sluggish Lymphatic System
About 80% of diseases are caused by stress. Learning to stress less, and taking time to meditate and think positive thoughts will help de-congest your lymph system.
Congestion of the lymphatic system is also commonly caused by an iodine deficiency. Iodine helps protect us from the toxic environment we live in (with radiation and other pollutants), and supports our lymphatic system at a cellular level.
Pesticides & Food Additives
Preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, and food additives like refined sugar, chemicals, and colourings all put strain on the lymphatic system. Consuming non-organic, highly-processed sugary and fatty foods simply creates an even larger workload for your lymph system and prevents it from properly filtering toxins and bacteria which will eventually lead to chronic disease.
Smoking & Second-Hand Smoke
This relates back to the toxin concept. Smoking increases your body’s receptivity to developing fungal or viral infections, parasites, ulcers, cancer, bronchitis, high blood pressure and many more issues. Why? Because smoking depresses the body’s immune response, and our immune system is essentially comprised of our lymphatic system, which houses our white blood cells (in the lymph nodes), and which scavenge any intruders.
Prescription drugs are toxic to the body. They contain harmful chemicals and dyes and these compounds suppress the immune system. Instead, using food as our medicine and weaning ourselves off prescription drugs will help clear the lymphatic system.
Animal Products (Meat, Dairy & Eggs)
Animal products are incredibly acidic to the body, and our lymphatic system does not function as properly in an acidic environment. The flow of the lymph system is more smooth when it is presented with a more alkaline body. In addition, meat, dairy and eggs contain hormones which are either naturally occurring or not (via injection while the animal is still alive), and these hormones interrupt the processing of our own hormones (in which the lymphatic system is largely involved).