Importance of a healthy lymphatic system


The lymphatic system is network of organs and tissues that is composed of lymph nodes, lymph vessels and lymph.  It is a part of the circulatory system and its main function is to transport lymph, a clear and colorless fluid containing white blood cells that helps clear from the body toxins, waste and other unwanted substances.  There are 600-700 lymph nodes in the human body.  Tonsils are an example of one of these but there are many others located throughout the body.  The spleen is the largest lymph organ. 

 

When the lymphatic system is functioning properly, the body can fight invading viruses and bacteria and stay at an optimal healthy state.  However, when the lymph system isn’t functioning well, the body is more prone to infections and some types of disease such as cancer.   A sluggish lymph system can also cause or add to many other health conditions that people generally wouldn’t think connect to the lymphatic system.  Many things can impair your lymph system from running at its best including: preservatives/pesticides/ toxins in food, underwire or tight bras, cigarette smoke, excessive alcohol intake, ongoing illness and viruses, medications, dehydration, lowered immune system, and chronic stress.

 

Symptoms of a Sluggish Lymphatic System:

·       Inability to fight infection/ frequent infections

·       Constant fatigue

·       Tonsil stones

·       Poor circulation

·       Swollen lymph nodes

·       Excessive perspiration

·       Itchiness

·       Allergies and sinusitis

·       High blood pressure

·       Frequent headaches

·       Thyroid issues

·       Cellulite

·       Fluid retention/ puffiness

 

How to Boost your Lymphatic System: 

1.     Massage: deep tissue or lymphatic massage is a great way to encourage lymphatic drainage.  You can also give yourself a facial lymphatic massage.  You can easily find videos on this on Youtube on facial lymphatic massage and it only takes a few minutes a day.

2.     Rebounding:  Jumping on a mini trampoline is one of the best ways to create a healthy lymph system.  The up and down movement pumps the lymph more effectively than horizontal movement such as walking.  You can also jump rope but the rebounder is much gentler on joints.

3.     Yoga:  Any exercise helps keep the lymph system healthy, but yoga has specific postures that can particularly increase lymph function like the shoulder stand.  Try to do the shoulder stand posture for at least 3min. 

4.     Foam rolling: rolling out every part of your body can help lymph flow similar to massage.  Make sure you roll very slowly concentrating more on sore areas.  Do for 5-10minutes per day or at least a few times a week (before workouts is the best time).

5.     Deep breathing and Laughter: not only does this lower stress (which also helps your immune system function optimally) but it also acts as a pump and removes toxins and carries oxygen and nutrients to cells.

6.     Infrared sauna: saunas help stimulate the lymph system to expel toxins via sweat.  This can be especially helpful for people too ill to exercise to generate sweat. 

7.     Epsom salt baths: increases lymph flow and reduces stress.

8.     Acupuncture: uses specific acupuncture points to stimulate the lymph system and make it stronger.

9.     Dry Brushing: helps remove dead, dry skin and increases circulation and lymph flow.

10.   Castor Oil Packs: can help increase lymph flow and circulation.  It also helps the liver detox which can also benefit the lymphatic system.  Rub pure castor oil on your abdomen or any swollen lymph node area. Put heat over it and relax for an hour.  Make sure you wear old clothes as castor oil stains.

11.   Decrease time spent wearing bras: Bras constrict lymph flow, as there are many lymph nodes around the area that a bra covers.  Studies have even show a slight increase in breast cancer among women that wear bras for many hours a day (this isn’t saying bras directly cause cancer, but impaired lymph function may decrease your immunity and indirectly make you more susceptible to developing it)

12.   Drink sufficient water: you don’t have to guzzle liters a day but keeping well hydrated can help your lymph system run smoothly.  Also try eating fruit on an empty stomach for extra fluid and cleansing benefits.

13.   Reduce toxic burden: eat organic and non-processed food as much as possible.  Keep alcohol intake to a minimum and avoid prescription medications.  Only use natural, chemical free cosmetics and cleansers.

So try incorporating all or some of the above points on a daily basis, and you can expect a stronger immune system and healthier you in 2014!

 

RECIPE OF THE MONTH

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Ingredients

•                 4 bananas, (2 1/2 cups mashed)

•                 4 eggs (free run, organic)

•                 2 tbsp butter (organic)

•                 2 tbsp coconut oil

•                 ½ cup almond or coconut, sunflower seed, macadamia nut butter

•                 ½ cup coconut flour

•                 ½ tapioca or white rice flour

•                 1 tablespoon cinnamon

•                 1 teaspoon baking soda (aluminum free)

•                 1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)

Instructions

•                 Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

•                 Combine your bananas, eggs, and nut butter, and grass-fed butter in a blender or food processor or mixing bowl with a hand mixer

•                 Once all of your ingredients are blended, add in your coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and sea salt and mix well

•                 Grease a 9×5 glass loaf pan with butter or coconut oil. If you use a metal pan it will probably bake in 35-40 minutes so start checking at 35 to ensure the middle stays moist

•                 Pour in your batter and spread it evenly throughout

•                 Place in your preheated oven and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean

•                 Remove from oven and flip your bread out onto a cooling rack

•                 Slice and serve

 

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”-Buddha

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me!

Amanda Rode

ariyahealthandfitness@gmail.com


 

 

 

 


 

 Meridian Health Centre  |   780 428 8897   |  10990 - 124 St.  Edmonton, Alberta T5M 0H8