In this podcast, learn about ways you can help support your lymphatic system health, especially during the coming winter season. As always, thank you for taking time to listen to this short, but informative dive into an important aspect of your overall health.
You can also read the podcast transcript below:
You know, the time of year for colder weather will be upon us before we know it, meaning our immune system will be working overtime to keep us healthy and strong. Today, I want to talk about the unsung hero for immune health known as our lymphatic system.
Lymph nodes and tubes may be found all over the body. And when the lymphatic system works properly, they help the body fight infection, drain away cellular waste, and maintain body fluid levels. In fact, a healthy system with functioning nodes filters and breaks down germs, toxins, and debris, carrying these things away from body tissue via the lymphatic tubes and then drained into the bloodstream once cleaned.
In a perfect world, your lymphatic system would work like a well-oiled machine, keeping your tissues hydrated and ridding your body of toxins, infections and cellular waste. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Poor lifestyle and nutrition choices can have negative effects on your lymph health.
Because one-third of the body’s lymph nodes are in the face, neck and jaw area, skin issues such as acne, clogged pores, puffy eyes, eczema, and even a dull complexion can be warning signs that your lymph system needs a little TLC. Some people may also experience swollen lymph nodes, hands, or feet, frequent headaches, weight gain, brain fog, and fatigue.
Of course, before you assume these symptoms are isolated to your lymph system, it’s a good idea to describe your concerns with your health care practitioner, who can rule out anything more serious and help you determine the need for a lymph cleanse according to your current physical needs and challenges.
Today, I want to discuss 8 tips to improve lymphatic drainage and get your lymph system ready for a cold winter season. Many of these tips are simple practices you can incorporate into your current lifestyle. Some will require a change in habits.
So let’s dive in to our discussion of improving lymphatic health.
- Tip number one is to stay hydrated. The lymph system needs water in order to carry on flushing out toxins and cellular waste. So, join the water bottle brigade and make sure you drink plenty of water (coffee doesn’t count) to stay well hydrated, which is excellent support for lymph drainage, with the added benefit of avoiding other pitfalls of de-hydration, like lack of energy and sore muscles.
- Reduce the number of toxins you put in or put around your body to take any strain off your lymphatic system, so live and eat clean. Clean living means mindful choices when it comes to what you expose your body to. Cleaning products can have toxins you both breathe and absorb through touch. Pesticides, additives and other chemicals found in our food and water add toxins to our bodies. Even antiperspirants (which contain aluminum) and cosmetics (which can contain parabens and other chemicals harmful to the body) can tax your lymphatic health. Look for organic, non-toxic makeup and cleaning products. And eat organic as often as you can. The fewer toxins you eat, breathe or slather on your skin, the less your lymph system has to work.
- The third tip for lymphatic health is movement. In fact, exercise is one of the most significant ways to stimulate the drainage in your lymphatic system. Move for at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week, as your health condition allows. Walk with a buddy at work during breaks, take the dog out for a stroll, get up and off the couch many times during any given day. You’ll be surprised at the changes in your physical and mental states when you add regular movement to your routine. A brisk walk can provide even more health benefits than an actual run. But even if you aren’t up to a brisk walk just yet, move what and where you can to help your body be its best.
- Tip four looks more closely at the diet aspect of your lymphatic health journey. Certain foods are very supportive of the work the lymphatic system gets up to. Dark, leafy greens such as kale, chard, spinach, and even beet greens, support lymph. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are also helpful. The lymphatic system also likes berries, garlic, nuts and seeds. (I want to say a side note on cruciferous vegetables. Many people try to avoid these because of a concern they have that too much broccoli, etc. may decrease thyroid function. However, according to Dr. Cass Ingram, as long as we cook the cruciferous vegetables, we remove the chemical that possibly affects thyroid. So cook your organic broccoli and eat away.)
- The fifth tip for lymphatic health involves the supplements and herbs you might add to your supplement protocol to support your lymphatic system. Detox and flush with vitamins A and C, as well as algae-based spirulina or chlorella. Make some herbal tea using calendula, echinacea, goldenseal, cilantro, or parsley to soothe your lymphatic health. Before adding any supplement, but especially herbs, check with your health care practitioner to ensure your supplements do not interact with your medications in a negative way.
- Tip six is hot and cold therapy. Alternate hot and cold water, or take a cold plunge with a steam or sauna. This hot and cold mix works to constrict and expand blood vessels, which creates a pumping action to help the lymphatic system drain.
- Tip seven for lymphatic health is a technique known as dry brushing. Using a natural bristle brush gently on the skin stimulates the lymph and promotes healthy drainage. Dry brushing should be done before a shower for the best results. Always brush toward the heart. Include your arms, legs, torso, neck and jaw, anywhere where lymph nodes or tubes may be found.
- The eighth and final tip for lymphatic health is to wear loose clothing. Tight-fitting clothes can keep your lymphatic system from draining properly, thus promoting blockages. You want to especially be cognizant of avoiding a tight fit with underwire bras and waistbands. Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes allow for unrestricted drainage.
The lymphatic system is just one component of your body’s immune response portfolio. This winter, let Betsy’s help you stock your cupboard for all your potential supplement needs. We’re “always taking your health and your budget to heart,” and we’ve been doing that almost 30 years, since 1993.
*This podcast and article are for educational purposes only. They are not intended as medical advice. They do not attempt to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider with health concerns or before taking supplements, especially if you take prescription or over the counter medications or have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing.
Reference: Schauch, Marita, ND. “8 Tips to Improve Lymphatic Health.” Womensvoicemagazine.com. Volume 18-U. 48.
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