The lymphatic system is a network of capillaries, vessels, tissues and organs that help to remove toxins and waste products of metabolism from the body. Through the system of lymphatic vessels, lymph passes through one or more lymph nodes, where foreign particles are retained. The exceptions are some lymphatic vessels of the esophagus and, in isolated cases, some vessels of the liver, which flow into the thoracic duct, bypassing the lymph nodes. A network of lymphatic trunks and ducts, or collectors, collect lymph flowing from the lymph nodes of several areas of the body or several organs. In the trunks and ducts, the muscular membrane is well developed, which helps to push the lymph through them. The trunks and ducts flow into the veins of the neck in the region of the venous nodes. Lymph flows into the left venous angle from 3/4 of the human body: from the lower extremities, pelvis, abdomen, left half of the chest, neck and head, left upper limb. In the right venous corner, lymph is brought from 1/4 of the body: from the right half of the chest, neck, head, from the right upper limb. With age, the number of lymph nodes decreases. This is due to the fact that the sinuses of some lymph nodes become overgrown, the nodes are replaced by connective or adipose tissue and become impassable for the lymph. There is also an accretion of adjacent nodes, small nodes disappear, being replaced by connective tissue. There are differences in the ratio of cellular elements of the lymph nodes depending on age, living conditions (climate, seasons, place of residence, etc.). If for some reason toxins are not properly excreted and are retained in the lymphatic system, then the consequences of this will be reflected in the state of the body as a whole. Therefore, everyone should know how to recognize the "clogging" of the lymphatic system and how to help it in this case. One solution may be a special lymph cleanse diet.
What you need to know about the lymphatic system
The lymphatic system is part of the cardiovascular system, which complements the venous system in structure and function. The function of the lymphatic system is the formation and conduction of lymph from tissues into the venous bed, the removal of foreign particles and metabolic products from tissues, the formation of lymphoid elements, as well as the absorption of colloidal solutions of coarse proteins from surrounding tissues that are not absorbed into the blood capillaries, additional drainage to the veins crystalloids and water, removal of foreign particles, cell fragments, and destroyed blood elements from tissues. Stagnation of lymph in the vessels leads to the accumulation of the above agents, weakening of the immune system and the development of a variety of health problems.
Stagnation of lymph, and at the same time, the accumulation of toxins in the body can occur for various reasons. Most often, this leads to an excessive passion for fast food, salt, animal proteins, eating foods that cause allergies, smoking, alcohol, insufficient fluid intake, and drug abuse.
The lymphatic system helps maintain body weight, supports the immune system, helps cleanse the blood and detoxify the entire body. A huge lymphatic network processes blood plasma and removes fluid from the tissues, then filters them and returns them to the bloodstream. Lymphoid tissue is part of the digestive process, absorbs fats from the intestines and transports them into the blood.
Thus, the lymphatic system is responsible for removing undigested metabolic products, toxins and harmful substances from the tissues, including excess fat. Violation of its functioning contributes to the accumulation of excess fat and cellulite. If toxins are not excreted from the body, fat cells are included in the work, which encapsulate them. As a result, there is an accumulation of fat, and the body does not consume it, so as not to release the “prisoned” toxins. Therefore, in order to ensure the proper functioning of the lymphatic system, it is sometimes necessary to help it get rid of accumulated harmful substances.
Signals that indicate abnormalities in the lymphatic system
Our body is designed in such a way that it reacts to violations of the functioning of any of the systems and the lymphatic system is no exception. Moreover, when it fails, almost all organs of the human body suffer, which is manifested by frequent colds or flu, feeling tired, puffiness and dark circles under the eyes.
About stagnation in the lymphatic system, requiring correction, prompt the following symptoms:
- stiffness and weakness, especially in the morning;
- itching and dry skin ;
- swelling of small joints (became harder to put on rings);
- "fogginess" in the head;
- weight gain ;
- swollen tonsils;
- chronic sinusitis;
- frequent sore throat or ears;
- prone to frequent colds;
- cold hands and feet.
Any of these symptoms could indicate that it is time to get serious about clearing the lymphatic system. One of the keys to a lymph detox is changing your eating habits and adopting a special diet.
General rules of nutrition for lymph cleansing
There are different opinions among food hygienists about the benefits of detox diets, some argue that a cleansing diet is not able to improve the functioning of the kidneys, liver, or lymphatic system. However, even skeptics agree that detox programs are not harmful to the body, since most of them are based on the rules of a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.
The process of cleansing the lymph from toxins should be approached comprehensively. Below we consider the most important points of the classical program for cleansing the lymph.
1. Avoid toxins in the environment
The lymphatic system works with "waste" in the form of dead cells, as well as with toxins that enter the body from the external environment. Systemic inflammation creates fluid stagnation in the tissues, which impairs lymph flow, and oxidative stress damages the lymphatics, impairing their ability to transport fluid and remove toxins.
Therefore, the first tip for fast and effective lymph cleansing is to minimize the body's contact with chemicals in food, air, cosmetics, and water. On the contrary, it is important to increase the intake of antioxidants and substances with anti-inflammatory properties. To do this, include as many organic foods as possible in your diet, eat a lot of greens and salads, cruciferous vegetables, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It is useful to introduce into the diet for lymph cleansing ginger, turmeric and garlic. On the contrary, it is better to avoid products that contain synthetic food additives, trans fats and other harmful components. It is also helpful to eliminate alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine for lymph cleansing – these stimulants also lead to overload of the lymphatic system.
2. Eliminate processed foods from the diet
Most processed foods do not provide much benefit to the body. As a rule, on the contrary, they contain many preservatives and other harmful additives. These components clog the lymphatic system. Therefore, the first step in lymph detoxification is to eliminate canned and frozen foods, as well as fast food and street food from your daily diet. Among the most dangerous products for the lymph are smoked meats, fast food, convenience foods, sweets, strong alcohol, instant drinks, noodles, instant mashed potatoes and soups, chips, crackers, salted nuts, as well as cheap seasonings and sauces. It is much more useful to focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish.
3. Eat more fresh foods
Fruits and vegetables form the basis of the lymph cleanse diet. Ideally, they should be raw. Raw plant foods contain enzymes that help break down toxins. Fiber, of which plant foods are mainly composed, cleanses and prevents overloading of the digestive system. In addition, raw vegetables and fruits usually contain a high percentage of fluid, which also helps to cleanse the lymphatic system - without sufficient moisture, the lymph flow slows down. Cucumbers, Lemons, Watermelons are examples of the best moisturizing food. Also, during a diet to cleanse the lymph, you should eat foods that increase immunity. And these are carrots, beets, red peppers, leafy greens. These vegetables can be eaten several times a day. If the goal is to increase lymphatic flow, then spicy foods such as cayenne pepper and fresh horseradish are helpful.
4. Grains, nuts, seeds and meat should be consumed in moderation
Although fruits and vegetables form the basis of the lymph cleanse diet, grains should also be included in small amounts in the diet. Good detox food options include millet, brown rice, corn and quinoa. But from wheat, white rice and products from wheat flour for the duration of the diet, it is more correct to refuse.
As for meat, it is good if it is a low-fat product. A good choice for a cleanse is chicken or fish. But during the period of lymph detoxification, these products should not be abused.
5. Drink plenty of fluids
Lymph consists of 95% water and with a lack of fluid in the body, it becomes thicker and moves worse through the vessels. In fact, one of the most common causes of lymphatic congestion, and with it toxins, is dehydration. Therefore, to cleanse the lymph, it is very important to drink 1.5-2 liters of liquid during the day. Moreover, it should be pure water. Sweet soft drinks, nectars, canned juices, sports cocktails and alcohol create an additional metabolic burden on the body, due to which the percentage of the dense lobe of the lymphatic substance only increases. You should also avoid drinks containing caffeine - they increase dehydration.
6. The most useful food is red
Stimulating effect on cleansing and acceleration of lymph flow is provided by red foods such as beets, pomegranates, cherries, cranberries and other berries. Especially valuable in this regard are beets, pomegranates and cranberries. They are rich in enzymes and bioflavonoids that help break down toxins and free radicals accumulated in the body. In addition, raw fruits contain a lot of fiber, which helps cleanse the intestines and lymph flow.
Top most useful products for lymph cleansing
Cranberries. This berry is an excellent fat emulsifier. This helps the lymphatic system transport fluid more efficiently. But to achieve a positive effect, candied or canned cranberries are not suitable. It is better to give preference to fresh berries or freshly squeezed juice from them.
Leafy greens and green vegetables. Spinach, broccoli, cabbage, mustard and dandelion leaves, sprouted wheat - these and other deep green vegetables and herbs have pronounced cleansing properties, promote lymph detoxification. The secret of the effectiveness of products from this group is in the rich content of chlorophyll, which is produced in plants under the influence of sunlight. As it turned out, chlorophyll is very useful for the normal functioning of the lymphatic system.
Spices. Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper are the spices most often mentioned when talking about lymph cleanse foods. The fact is that the listed spices are powerful antioxidants that allow the digestive and nervous systems to function properly, and this, in turn, helps to normalize the outflow of lymph.
Seeds and nuts. These foods provide the body with essential nutrients needed for a healthy and long life. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and olive oil, avocado and coconut improve the condition of lymphatic vessels, help the body absorb vitamins better and minerals from food. And this is extremely important for the functioning and cleansing of the lymphatic system.
Citrus. Lemons, oranges, grapefruits and other citrus fruits are great tasting and extremely beneficial for the lymphatic system. Therefore, lemons, oranges and limes are used to cleanse the lymph, which contain specific enzymes necessary for detoxifying the body. As a preventive measure, it is useful to drink a glass of water with lemon or lime daily on an empty stomach.
Garlic. This savory vegetable boosts immune function and helps the body fight off harmful microbes. In addition, garlic improves blood circulation and helps to eliminate toxins.
Seaweed. Seaweed in the form of a dietary supplement or food product helps the body get rid of toxic substances and remove excess fluid that can accumulate in tissues and slow down the lymphatic system.
Licorice root. This medicinal plant is known for its properties to accelerate the outflow of lymph, and thereby remove metabolites from the body. This herb is especially useful for those who abuse protein foods.
Vegetable oils. Almost any natural cold-pressed vegetable oil can be beneficial for lymph cleansing. But best of all for these purposes are black cumin oil, pumpkin and grape seed oil. These products provide the optimal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These oils can be added to prepared meals or consumed on an empty stomach in about 1 tbsp. l.
Black walnut. In oriental medicine, this is one of the most famous means for cleansing the lymph. Chinese doctors advise taking 1 teaspoon shavings from this nut with water, or making tea from it. But one remark must be made here. We do not grow black walnut, and you can buy it only in online stores. But there are cases when, under the guise of a black walnut, a dried tinder fungus was sold, which not only does not contribute to the removal of toxins, but is itself a poison.
Watermelon. This huge berry is made up of over 90% water, making it an ideal product to improve the functioning of the lymphatic system. A short watermelon diet helps in a rather limited time to cleanse the lymph of accumulated toxins.
Physical activity, baths and massages to cleanse the lymph
There is no “pump” in the lymphatic system, like the heart in the circulatory system, which would pump fluid through the vessels. Any movement of lymph through the system depends on the contraction and relaxation of muscles, as well as on the movements of the joints. When the muscles contract during physical activity, they press on the lymphatic vessels and thereby push fluid through the channels. By the way, laughter and deep breathing, during which the diaphragm and abdominal muscles are included in the work, also contribute to the outflow of lymph. To stimulate the lymphatic flow, any exercise is suitable. It can be regular walking, swimming, running, jumping, yoga or your favorite sport.
In addition, folk healers at all times advised to visit the bath to cleanse the lymph. And this is perhaps the easiest way to remove toxic components from the body. In the steam room, microcirculation is accelerated, blood vessels expand, which helps to get rid of problems with lymph stagnation.
Oxidative processes, lymphatic congestion, and toxin retention are increased when a person experiences physical and/or emotional stress. Therefore, minimizing stress indirectly also contributes to proper lymph flow. To eliminate the effects of stress, it is useful to do yoga, to be outdoors more often, to practice breathing exercises.
In addition to physical exercises, special massage also helps to speed up the movement of lymph to the lymph nodes. It can be done both by hand and with the help of various massagers. But the procedure is important to perform in a circular motion towards the heart, paying special attention to the head, neck, feet, chest and abdomen, where the lymph nodes are concentrated.
Lymph cleansing is also promoted by:
- consumption of potassium (helps remove toxins from cells);
- refusal of dairy products, which activates the production of mucus in the body, contributing to the stagnation of the lymph;
- adherence to an anti-inflammatory alkaline diet (leafy greens and avocados are especially important for lymph );
- hydrotherapy in the form of a contrast shower (tones the blood and lymphatic vessels);
- avoiding animal proteins and gluten (acidify the body, creating a beneficial environment for toxins);
- increased sweating (reduces toxic load on the lymphatic system)
- refusal to overeat (undigested food becomes a poison for the body, “clogs” the lymph and causes it to stagnate);
- careful use of pharmaceuticals (they "clog" the lymph).
Lymph Cleansing Diet Options
This 14 day cleansing program consists of several items. First, every morning and evening you need to take 2 tablets of activated charcoal, which, as you know, binds and removes toxic substances from the body.
Secondly, three times a day, 1 dessert spoon should be taken fruit and berry mixture. To prepare it, you will need blackcurrant, irga, dates, dried apricots, prunes and figs, taken in equal shares. In 1 kg of fruit and berry mixture, add 3 tbsp. l. buckwheat honey and mix everything thoroughly. Each portion of this sweet detox remedy is useful to wash down with a decoction of Ivan-tea.
This lymph cleansing program is designed for 3 days. It can be used for the so-called seasonal lymph cleansing - carried out 2-3 times a year, for example, in autumn, winter and spring.
Day 1. During the day, you will drink 6 glasses of vegetable broth. If health permits, you can refuse other food for this day. Vegetables are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In addition, plant foods contribute to the effective cleansing of the lymph. The broth can be prepared from any available vegetables. Ideally, a congee set should consist of celery, zucchini, cabbage, green pepper, lettuce, broccoli, beets, carrots, spinach, green onions, parsley, mustard and turnip. Pour whole vegetables with water and cook under a closed lid over low heat for an hour. Then remove the pan from the heat and let the broth brew until it cools completely. The first 3 glasses of broth should be drunk for lunch, the remaining three in the evening.
Day 2. On this day, you also have to drink vegetable broth, but the amount drunk is increased to 9 glasses: three in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening.
Day 3. During the day, you should drink 9 glasses of vegetable broth (according to the scheme of the previous day), and it is also allowed to consume the vegetables from which the drink was prepared.
For the period of the lymph cleansing diet, fast food, dairy products, bread, pasta, cereals, cookies, sweets, corn, soy, soda, alcohol, coffee, as well as foods high in salt, trans fats, and flavor enhancers.
Lymph plays a vital role in maintaining good health. And although there are different opinions among experts about the effectiveness of a diet for cleansing the lymph flow, in any case, adhering to the tips listed above, you will only benefit your body.