We’ve been given very good advice in dealing with the corona virus such as washing our hands, keeping our hands away from our faces and keeping a physical distance between ourselves and others to name a few. This will prevent us from introducing the virus into our bodies and it will help to limit the spread of the virus. However there is not much else that we are hearing in terms of how we can further help ourselves. My intention with these articles is to help fill in the gap.
Most people, when they hear the word “lymph”, think of either a swollen lymph node or cancer. So before we get into why lymph is so important to our health, let’s take a brief look at what it is.
The lymph system includes the spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes, thymus, Peyer’s patches, lymph vessels and bone marrow and is twice as large as the arterial blood supply in the body.
Imagine if you will that this coming week, the garbage truck didn’t come by your house to pick up your garbage. And the week after that the same thing happened. How long could you go without the garbage truck stopping by to pick up all your garbage? Where would you put it all? Sure you could call the city and complain, but what if there was a strike? Or aliens came and took all the garbage trucks away? Over weeks and weeks, the garbage would pile up, say in your backyard. And especially if it was the middle of summer, that pile of garbage would start to attract pests, all kinds of insects and racoons and rats, and the smell! Can you imagine the smell? And if your neighbours were in the same boat, how would your neighbourhood survive? Disease and pestilence would spread. Luckily there are people who come by to pick up our garbage and take it away every week (or two).
This is what the lymph system does in our bodies every minute of the day or night. It takes waste from all the cells of our bodies, including (newly discovered) from the brain. It takes the waste from every cell and puts it into the blood which then finds its way out of our bodies one way or the other.
But lymph does more than just take away all the garbage. It houses a major part of our immune system, namely T-cells which are responsible for meeting invaders and flagging them (acquired immunity), identifying them as foreign invaders. The lymph nodes are where this flagging happens the most.
If the lymph becomes stagnant, this creates a back pressure on the veins of the body and can often lead to “water retention”, swelling in various areas of the body such as the legs and abdomen. Congestion in the lymph also makes it more difficult for the T cells (invader flagging cells) to get where they need to go. Just imagine the 417 highway being your lymph and the T cells being an ambulance trying to get through rush hour traffic. If the lymph is congested with waste products, immune cells won’t be able to do their job.
How to have healthy lymph:
- Exercise – move your body. Lymph moves around through muscle contraction not through the pumping of the heart. Whole body movement is idea. Cross-training, yoga and dance are great examples of whole body movement.
- Rebounder – jumping gently on a mini-trampoline is an ideal exercise for lymph in the whole body. The point at which you’re in mid-air creates a suspension where the lymph vessels can open up and allow for lymph fluid to move.
- Alkalize your diet – eating more fruits and vegetables and decreasing intake of meats and breads, grains, dairy, processed foods and junk foods. (I recently read a truthful post about junk food: There is no such thing as junk food. There’s food and then there’s junk.)
- Eat more leafy greens and citrus fruits.
There are many other ways to help increase the health of your lymph including lymph drainage massage. The lymph in our bodies is just as important as our nervous system and circulatory system. After all, if the garbage is not taken away, illness is sure to follow.