We are rife with buzzwords in the health community, so there’s no doubt you’ve heard people talking about how important it is that you detox. Even if you haven’t started drinking the kale juice yet, there is good news – your body is already detoxing for you.
Importance of the Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is basically our bodies’ garbage disposal. You put stuff in that can’t be used, so the lymphatic system takes it out. Similarly, our bodies produce tons of waste products, and those need to go, too.
The lymphatic system, which is comprised of many different glands all over your body, picks those waste products up and ships them out. They get turned over to the liver or kidneys in order to be excreted and voila! The gross stuff is gone.
Clogging up the Drain
Even the garbage disposal gets clogged up on occasion, right? Along those same lines, your lymphatic system can also run into some problems. There are a number of different diseases that can affect the body, and usually your lymph nodes are a prime indicator. Since the lymphatic system’s main job is to transport lymph fluid, the nodes become enlarged when it’s working overtime. Think about how the doctor feels your throat when you go in for a virus – they’re checking for enlarged lymph nodes.
There are plenty of issues you can have. Some are more serious, such as lymphatic cancers, but most are just simple, everyday problems that come from the stressors of life. It’s usually referred to as lymphatic congestion and the symptoms are varied. They can include swollen fingers and toes, bloating, sluggishness, chronic constipation, dry skin, weight gain and poor circulation in the hands and feet, among others.
Clear It Out
Luckily, the lymphatic system is supposed to work well. It wants to, and it’s trying to. If you can alter a few things in your daily routine, there’s an excellent chance you’ll be able to clear it out. Not only will you feel better in general, but your body will also be able to respond better to any kind of ailments it may encounter. From that perspective, a healthy lymphatic system is your best defense against diseases – both those that are contagious, like the flu, and those that are developmental, like heart disease.
Drink all the water you can. Don’t depend on coffee and soda to get you through the day. Yes, those do provide hydration, but they also make more work for the lymphocytes – the cells that remove the debris from your body. Dehydration slows down your lymph fluid, so make sure to drink up.
The simplest way to help your lymphatic system get back into shape is to move. High-intensity exercise is the best option, or really anything that gets your heart rate up and your blood pounding. This can also help you drop excess weight, which is another factor in a sluggish system.
Get a Rubdown
On the opposite side of exercise, you have massage. Yes, you just get to lie there, but it’s actually a pretty important aspect of encouraging the lymph to drain properly. Massage can help move about 78 percent of stagnant lymph fluid back into regular circulation, which not only makes it a great way to relax, but also extremely good for you. As an added bonus, this applies to virtually any kind of massage, so don’t feel like you have to have one done by a pro.
Try a Dry Brush
This works in a similar principle to massage, but you can do it yourself on a regular basis. Use a natural-bristled brush and gently brush your body. Take small, circular strokes toward your heart, toes to belly and fingers to chest. Don’t worry, you can skip your face!
The best way to have a healthy lymphatic system is just to be healthy. Eat well, exercise regularly and make sure to give yourself a break on a regular basis. We all need it – and so does your lymphatic system.
Jennifer Landis is a blogger and health journalist with a passion for healthy living, momming, and doing lots of yoga. You won’t find coffee in this mom’s mug – she’s a tea drinker through and through. Find more from Jennifer at her blogs MissRX and Mindfulness Mama.