When most people look to improve their health, they start by changing diet and adding exercise. But if you are interested in restoring your health and feeling better, one function of the body that is vital to address is detoxification. One system of the body that is of particular importance for detoxification is the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system runs parallel to the circulatory system. It contains hundreds of lymphatic vessels and bean shaped nodes that are located throughout the body. The lymphatic system carries a clear fluid, known as lymph throughout the body. This fluid helps deliver vital white blood cells throughout the body so they can help fight disease. Lymphatic fluid also transports toxins which are deposited from the body to be filtered by the lymph nodes.
The lymphatic system is a vital part of your immune system. When it becomes clogged and the lymphatic fluid is not allowed to flow freely, it compromises your immune system. This allows toxins to build up. The resulting buildup of toxins can begin to cause symptoms and can lead to infection and disease.
How do you know if your lymphatic system is clogged?
There are several tell tale signs that your lymphatic system is not moving effectively and that toxins are building up in your body.
- Swelling in your fingers (rings may fit more tightly)
- Brain fog
- Digestive problems
- Parasite infections
- Sinus infections and inflammation
- Dry and or itchy skin
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Chronic fatigue
- Feeling sore or stiff when you wake up in the morning
- Unexplained injuries
- Excess weight
- Cold hands and feet
- Allergies that have gotten worse
- Food sensitivities
- Increased colds and flu
Unlike the circulatory system, in which the heart acts as a pump, the lymphatic system has no pump. But there are certain things that you can do to activate your lymphatic system and get it flowing again.
How to Activate Your Lymphatic System
Exercising and actively moving your body activates the flow of lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Exercising regularly is the most effective way of increasing the function of the lymphatic system. You do not have to do vigorous exercise to get your lymphatic system moving. Gentle to moderate intensity is all that is needed. Exercise also helps you to sweat, which helps to release toxins. This lightens the toxic load on the lymphatic system.
Practice Deep breathing
Slow, relaxed deep breathing is a simple way to activate the lymphatic system. Most people do not breathe deeply throughout the day. We tend to spend more of our time breathing shallowly. But taking a few minutes throughout your day and allowing yourself to breathe deeply can help to get that lymphatic system working to clear out toxins.
Other ways you can support your lymphatic system
Clean up your diet
If you are eating foods that are packaged and highly processed, you are most likely consuming a large amount of chemical additives, preservatives, artificial colorings and flavors. These chemicals add to the toxic load on the lymphatic system and the rest of the organs of the detoxification system.
Switch to a diet of whole foods instead of pre-packaged, convenience foods. Be sure to include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables! Vegetables like dark, leafy greens, low sugar fruits and nuts such as walnuts and almonds can actually help to promote the flow of lymphatic fluid.
Don’t wear tight fitting clothing
Clothing that is tight on the body can reduce circulation in the body and can actually reduce and restrict the movement of the lymphatic system. Bras and tight fitting underwear can constrict flow in areas where there are a highly concentrated number of lymph nodes. It is okay to wear these items on occasion, but it is important to not wear them regularly.
Drink plenty of water
All of the organs and systems of the body need regular hydration in order to function properly and the lymphatic system is no exception. The lymphatic system is comprised primarily of water and so it is vital that you are getting enough clean, filtered water to support full functioning.
With so many living a sedentary life, eating unhealthy foods and not actively moving the lymphatic system, it is no surprise that many face the symptoms that accompany a sluggish or clogged lymphatic system. But taking action to support the detoxification of your body by moving lymph will help you to ultimately avoid chronic illness, increase energy and lead you on the path to better health.