What is the Lymphatic System?

woman massaging lymphatic system

You need to eat healthily and get exercise. Those two ideas are pumped into our brains every day, but something like the importance of the lymphatic system isn’t something you hear a lot about.

The lymphatic system consists of lymph nodes, glands, the tonsils, the spleen, and the thymus gland. It’s part of the circulatory system and plays an integral part in your immunity. In addition, it helps to process toxins and waste, push them out of your body, and bring nutrients and fighter cells into your body, helping you fight infection and disease.

Holding onto too many toxins and too much waste can impact every organ in your body and leave you feeling sluggish and sick. But if you have your lymphatic system hold onto nutrients and positive things and quickly dispose of waste, you can boost your immunity.

Prefer consuming your health content via video? Watch FFIT’s Sylvia Darby break down what the lymphatic system is and how you can support it on YouTube.

So how can you help your lymphatic system better support you?

Get Enough Sleep

We know sleep is good for so many areas of our lives, like recovery, boosting your metabolism, and helping your mood. And when it comes to the lymphatic system, it does most of its work, whether getting the bad stuff out or ushering the good stuff in while you’re snoozing!

If you’re not getting enough or getting good quality, that system can’t do what it does best. So try and give your body adequate time to rest each night, aiming for 8 hours in bed every night.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

We all know being hydrated makes you feel better. It also helps your skin looks brighter, and by drinking more water, you can see decreases in your blood pressure. When it comes to your lymphatic system, proper hydration enables it to quickly move toxins through your body for processing. Poor hydration can make your lymphatic system sluggish, which means it won’t work as efficiently.

As you start drinking more water, you may not be able to drink half your body weight in ounces each day, but you need to start somewhere. If you struggle with drinking water, make it tasty by diffusing some fruit and herbs (strawberry and mint are a great combination for summer!), or opt for a mix-in option like LMNT that will also deliver electrolytes. Over time, your palate will change, and you may actually find you enjoy your daily water intake.

Choose Real Food

Fats, chemicals, and processed foods can cause spasms in your lymphatic system that will cause it not to work as well as possible. However, eating whole, unprocessed foods helps support your body and allows your lymphatic system to do its job.

You’ve heard this one before, but shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Stock up on fruits, veggies, and high-quality animal products. Leave the ultra-processed food items on the shelves.

Exercise and Move Your Body

Your lymphatic system is a low-pressure system, which means you need to stimulate it to have it working optimally. Exercise can help contract your muscles and get your system moving. A walk, jog, exercise class, or simply standing up to walk around the house once each hour can help your system push waste through your body. Every little bit of movement helps!

Some people choose massage to stimulate the lymphatic system, and that’s an excellent tool! Deep tissue massages go deep to stimulate your lymph nodes and glands, but even a brief massage from a spouse can help.

Keep Stress Levels Down

You may not think about how stress impacts your body until it’s too late. If your body stays in fight or flight mode for too long or too often, that also impacts your lymphatic system and creates spasms that prevent it from working as efficiently as it can.

Find ways to lower stress that work for your life. For example, you may find a few minutes of deep breathing or meditation help bring your stress levels down, or perhaps turning to exercise each day feels right. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re aware of your stress levels and do your best to keep them at a reasonable level.

The Last Word About Supporting Your Lymphatic System

You’ll feel better when your lymphatic system is functioning well. So, take some steps to help it out! Focus on getting proper sleep, drinking water, eating the right foods, getting your body moving, and keeping down stress. These actions will help improve your mood, and you may also notice more energy and that you’re getting sick less frequently.

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