The lymphatic system is one of the most overlooked systems in the body, despite the fact it plays a central role in your overall health. Keeping your lymphatic system in top shape is an important aspect in maintaining a healthy life.
What is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that runs through your entire body. Lymph nodes are strategically located throughout the system for optimal performance, and are clustered in areas like the underarms, abdomen and neck.
What does the lymphatic system do?
Your lymphatic system performs the vital function of cleansing the fluid that surrounds the cells in your body by removing impurities and waste products. This process not only protects your body from toxins, but also allows cells in the body to function at their best.
What happens when the lymphatic system can't function properly?
An unhealthy lymphatic system can have a serious impact on your health. Poor lymph function is associated with fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, aches and pains, bloating and poor digestion. Studies have shown that an unhealthy lymph system can contribute to cellulite, fat deposits and obesity as well.
How can you keep your lymphatic system healthy?
Get a massage. Massage stimulates the lymph nodes and helps promote fluid movement in lymph vessels. Lymph drainage massage is especially supportive of the lymphatic system.
Drink plenty of water. The lymphatic system depends on a constant supply of fluid, so it's very important to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to keep it functioning at its best. Purified or filtered water is the best choice.
Choose healthy foods. Preservatives, artificial sweeteners, refined grains, excess sugar, chemicals and processed foods all put strain on the lymphatic system. Choose foods that are organic, whole and natural as much as possible.
Eat your fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables supply the lymphatic system with important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. The chlorophyll in green vegetables is especially beneficial to the lymphatic system.
Get your essential fatty acids. Healthy fats are necessary for the proper function of the lymphatic system. Good sources of essential fatty acids include pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, almonds and avocados.
Stay active. When your muscles move, they essentially massage the lymphatic system and promote the flow of fluid through your lymph vessels. Regular exercise like stretching, yoga, daily walks and strength training are all great ways to keep those lymph juices flowing.
Practice deep breathing. Like exercise, deep breathing promotes the movement of fluid through the lymphatic system while providing it with fresh oxygen.
Take echinacea, wild indigo and goldenseal. These herbs support immunity and help cleanse the lymphatic system. These should be used as part of a cleansing period lasting for about 2-4 weeks, one to three times per year.
Relax in a sauna. A weekly hour in the sauna or steam bath can facilitate detoxification and take some pressure off the lymphatic system.