5 Ways To Decongest Your Lymphatic System And Improve Your Health
By Angelique Johnson
Want to really detoxify your body? Look to your lymphatic system.
What Is The Lymphatic System?
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid your body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials floating around in your body. Its main job is to transport lymph, a fluid that contains infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout your body. Your tonsils, adenoids, spleen and thymus are all part of the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system plays an important role in the regulating tissue pressure and surveillancing the immune system and it also helps to absorb fat in the intestines. There is growing evidence that the lymphatic system also contributes to a number of diseases, such as lymphedema, cancer metastasis and different inflammatory disorders, when not functioning properly.
How Does The Lymphatic System Work?
The lymphatic system pumps 90% of the body’s blood and returns it to the heart. The other 10% is the lymph that does not contain a pumping system. All the viruses, bacteria, cancer cells, chemicals and toxins are passed through the lymph.
Toxins and chemicals are then dumped into lymphatic ducts where they are eventually sent to your body’s natural detoxification centers: the liver and the kidneys. That waste is then removed from the body by way of urine and feces.
What Happens If It’s Not Flowing Properly?
If your lymphatic system is not working correctly, those toxins, chemicals and even cancer cells can linger in the system and not get recognized by the immune system of the body. The leftover festering toxins are then exposed to other organs, where they can begin creating issues.
This is why a cancer diagnosis is always followed by a lymph node biopsy. The cancer cells collect in the lymph nodes instead of being passed through the lymphatic system, alerting the immune system and those infection-fighting white blood cells to start attacking the invaders.
Daily exposure to cigarette smoke, pollution, exhaust from cars, food additives, chemicals and other toxins slow down the lymphatic system. An improper diet lacking in rich nutrients from whole foods is also to blame.
Side Effects Of A Sluggish Lymphatic System
- Swollen fingers and/or bloating
- Cold hands/feet/poor circulation
- Brain fog
- Dry or itchy skin
- Breast swelling or soreness with every menstrual cycle
Here Are 5 Things You Can Start Doing To Help Keep Your Lymphatic System Working Properly.
As the lymph does not contain a pumping system, movement of the muscles can help stimulate the valves in the veins, which helps to pump the lymph back up to your heart. The concept of exercising with moments of zero gravity or rebounding helps to move the lymph in the direction of the heart and axillary lymph channels.
Rebounding exercise can greatly increase lymph fluid circulation, causing an increase in white blood cell activity, a stronger immune system and a better detoxification of the body. What is considered rebound exercise? Think jumping on a trampoline.
2. Drink Water
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of lymph congestion. Without the proper amount of water, lymph cannot move properly through the body.
In order to check to see if your lymph system is dehydrated, sip warm water every 10 to 15 minutes throughout the day. If by the end of the day you have a dry mouth and are craving more water, you have a congested lymphatic system.
To rehydrate, make sure to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weight 160 lbs., you’ll want to drink 80 ounces of water per day (that’s 10 eight ounce glasses of water per day).
3. Cut The Sugar
Research shows that diabetes reduces the flow of lymph as it over-stresses the lymphatic system. By controlling blood glucose levels, you can restore lymph flow and improve the uptake of lymph by the heart.
Forget soda and other sugary drinks. Make sure the only sugar you get is from whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. This will also ensure that you are getting beneficial antioxidants into your body as well for a double-cancer-fighting punch.
4. Dry Brushing
Dry brushing the skin with a soft body brush will increase circulation to the skin and enhance the lymphatic system. Brush your dry skin in circular motions upward from the feet to the torso and from the fingers to the chest. You want to work in the same direction as your lymph flows—towards the heart.
5. Go Herbal
An article published in the Journal of Nurse-Midwifery showed that certain herbs can help improve the flow of lymph throughout the body without overstressing the lymphatic system.
Echinacea and astragalus (known as huang qi in Chinese medicine) combine to lessen the congestion and swelling in the lymphatic system. Cleavers help to improve the capacity of the lymphatic system to deal with toxins. Goldenseal is not only an anti-inflammatory, but it also helps to promote lymphatic cleansing.
NOTE: Avoid using herbs while pregnant or lactating and avoid long-term use of any herb without first consulting a qualified professional.
Do you know any other awesome ways to help keep your lymphatic system flowing properly? Feel free to share with us in the comments below!
Angelique Johnson is a nutritionist from Miami, FL. Through her own journey in weight loss, she discovered her love for health and nutrition and realized she wanted to help others achieve a healthier lifestyle. Angelique has been featured as a nutrition consult on CBS4 Miami News and is a published author on many online health sites. She is passionate about debunking diet rumors and showing her clients how to have a healthy, balanced relationship with food.
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