The lymphatic system is one of our most under-appreciated body parts. While most people are aware that the blood coursing through their veins is an essential for life, few realize that the lymph system is equally essential. While our blood carries oxygen and nutrients across the body, the lymph system serves to help carry out waste, toxins and fluid. It works in unison with the circulatory system. As blood travels, it causes the release of interstitial fluid. This fluid provides nutrients and oxygen. Cells, in turn, release their waste products into the interstitial fluid. Particles that are too large to be reabsorbed by the body are then picked up by the lymphatic system and carried to the lymph nodes, where it can be filtered.
This process is critical to human health. Without a waste removal system, we’d all be filled with toxins and other undesirables that would make us sick. Not to mention, a large build-up of waste would lead to increased cell death. The accumulation of toxins and fluids in both cells and tissues would lead to painful inflammation and increase cancer risks, as well.
The lymphatic system runs parallel to the circulation system, and there are several lymph nodes — sites of filtration — found around the body. Your tonsils, spleen and adenoids are lymph nodes. Lymphocytes, or white blood cells, are also a primary asset of the lymphatic system. Lymphocytes help to clear away toxins before the lymphatic fluid enters the bloodstream.
You may be feeling alright, but did you know that the average Western lifestyle of going from an office chair to a sofa cushion can decrease the flow of your lymphatic system by 94%? The best way to improve circulation in your lymphatic system and keep everything on the move is by increasing your activity level. Get moving! There are lots of ways to begin a more active lifestyle. You can join a gym or take on a new active hobby by joining an activity group — like a kayaking or hiking club. Exploring your local park or nature areas is a great way to spend time outdoors and increase your circulation.
While exercise is extremely important, there are many other ways to help boost the function of your lymphatic system. For example, consuming ample amounts of fresh, clean water is essential to proper circulation for both your blood and your lymphatic fluid. Being dehydrated is one of the worst things you can do to your body — it needs water! Switching to a diet that is centered on wholesome, nutritious foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables is also a great way to boost your system. The power of a nutrient and antioxidant-rich diet simply cannot be replaced.
There are tons of superfood supplements available on the market today to help increase your antioxidant intake and bolster your body’s natural cleansing capacity. Some examples of the best superfoods for your lymph system include citrus fruits, berries and greens; chia, hemp and flax seeds; seaweed and algae products. Just a few servings a day of these foods can help your system to function at its best.