When it comes to keeping our body running smoothly, few things are more important than an efficient lymphatic system. Unfortunately, for many women that system isn’t very efficient at all.
In short, our lymphatic system is our sewage system, responsible for draining the body’s waste – including on a cellular level. When it doesn’t work, though? Those toxins build up.
As author Ann Louise Gittleman of The Fat Flush Plan suggests, up to 80 percent of American women may suffer from sluggish lymphatic systems. As a result, getting those lymphatic systems working well again could be the key to weight loss and better health.
In particular, we recommend the following eleven strategies:
1. Breathe deeply. Deep breathing helps our bodies transport toxins to the blood, where they can be handled by the liver. So breathe deeply!
2. Get moving. Exercise helps blood circulate – and helps the lymph system flow as well.
3. Drink plenty of water. Adequate hydration is key for the lymphatic system, which doesn’t function nearly as well when cells are dried out and dehydrated.
4. And yes, we mean water. Other types of drinks are most often extremely sugary and otherwise laden with toxins – which just makes more work for your lymph system. That isn’t part of the solution, so stick to water.
5. Eat well. In particular, raw fruit consumed on an empty stomach can help, as acids and enzymes in fruit can boost lymph function.
6. Vegetables, too. Ensuring adequate chlorophyll in your diet (see also: green, leafy things) will also help purify your blood and lymph.
7. Nuts and seeds, as well. Provided they’re unsalted, nuts and seeds can help power up your lymph with adequate fatty acids. Choose from almonds, Brazil nuts, flaxseeds, hazelnuts, macadamias, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.
8. Lymph-boosting herbal teas are also a good idea; we recommend astragalus, echinacea, goldenseal, pokeroot or wild indigo root tea, but working with an herbalist or natural medicine specialist is also a very good idea.
9. Dry skin brush before showering. Use a natural bristle brush. Brush your dry skin in circular motions upward from the feet to the torso and from the fingers to the chest. You want to work in the same direction as your lymph flows—toward the heart.
10. Alternate hot and cold showers for several minutes. The heat dilates the blood vessels and the cold causes them to contract, but should be avoided if you have heart issues or are pregnant.
11. Get massages. Massage can help push stagnant lymph back into circulation, thus freeing trapped toxins so your body can better process them. We especially recommend lymph drainage massage, which is specially designed for lymph function.