Are there ways to boost your immunity by optimizing the function of your lymphatic system? The short answer is yes. To understand how this all works you need to know more about the lymphatic system.
I am sure you have heard of the lymphatic system, but it is not talked about a whole lot. This is pretty astounding because the lymphatic system is one of the most critical components of the immune system!
What is the Lymphatic System?
The lymphatic system is the body’s internal drainage system. The main job of this system is to help remove toxins and waste from the body.
The lymphatic system consists of the following:
- Thymus gland
- Lymphatic vessels
- Lymph nodes
- Lymph fluid
All of these parts work together to support the immune system, along with the other functions.
What Does the Lymphatic System Do?
The lymphatic system is an essential part of our immune system that helps eliminate toxins, waste products, and cancer cells from the body. It does this by moving fluid, called lymph, throughout the body. The lymph moves around in the body collecting toxins, cellular waste, and invaders, and brings them to the liver and kidneys to be processed out of the body.
It helps every system in the body including the digestive system, nervous system, and respiratory system. It helps the immune system by carrying white blood cells throughout the body. It helps with the fluid balance between the tissues and the blood by absorbing the fluid leaked by the cardiovascular system and redistributing it to other parts of the body.
Also, the lymph regulates the absorption of fat and fat-soluble vitamins in the body and delivers nutrients to the cells.
How Does the Lymphatic System Work?
The lymphatic system does not have a pump in the body to move it around as the cardiovascular system does, so it depends on muscle contractions and other movements to keep moving.
Since lymph carries waste and toxins back to the liver and kidneys for excretion, it is very important to keep it moving in the body. You do not want a buildup of toxins and waste building up in the body.
Signs of Lymph Congestion:
Some signs of lymph congestion or stagnation include:
- Infection (ie. more colds)
- Skin issues
Since the immune system depends on the lymphatic system to deliver white blood cells throughout the body, when the lymph is congested, the immune system weakens.
How Can I Activate My Lymphatic System and Boost Immunity?
Fortunately, there are a few ways we can activate the lymphatic system and boost immunity in our body.
Chiropractic Care: Any lack of movement in the thoracic/upper chest area of the spine can prevent the lymphatic system from doing the final dump of toxins that it has collected for cleansing. The rib cage helps the lymphatic system by acting similar to a pump, so it is critical for lymphatic circulation. Correcting any anatomical abnormalities or displacements from everyday activities, which prevent movement in the spine, helps to create pressure within this region which assists in bringing oxygen to the cells.
Hydrate: Drinking enough water helps the lymph move throughout the body. The lymph holds most of the water that is in the body, and if we are dehydrated, the lymph fluid becomes thicker and harder to move.
Diet and Lifestyle: Generally, adopting a healthy diet is one of the most significant things we can do for our health. If we eat a cleaner diet with less toxins, there is less burden on the lymphatic system to remove these things from the body. Whatever diet you choose to be right for you, here are a few things to consider:
- Choose clean proteins (grass-fed, organic, wild-caught) as much as you can.
- Buy organic whenever possible. If you feel like you cannot buy all organic, follow the infographic here to find out what produce is the most important to buy organic. This information is from the Dirty Dozen list by the Environmental Working Group.
- Eat a rainbow and a variety of foods.
- Choose Green/Low-VOC/Chemical-free furniture, paint, and materials for your house.
- Choose natural/organic/chemical-free household cleaners. Since cleaning supplies are not regulated by the FDA, they are not required to label the ingredients and are typically loaded with unhealthy chemicals.
Walking: Everyone knows that walking is healthy, but it really helps the lymphatic system. When you walk or exercise, you use muscle contractions and this is what helps the lymph move. Even if you don’t walk for a long time, it helps just to get out for a short while!
Deep Breathing: Most people tend to fall into shallow breathing throughout the day, but it’s important to remember to take some time to breathe deeply. There are many beneficial things to breathing deeply, but one of them is that it helps the lymph move throughout the body. Deep breathing improves oxygen in the body, and this is good for lymph flow. Also, the actual act of breathing is similar to a pump for the lymph.
Dry Brushing: Dry brushing helps to remove toxins on the skin and to get the lymph moving. It does this by stimulating sweat glands and supporting circulation below the skin. Dry brushing involves using a coarse brush on your skin in the direction of your heart.
These are a few good strategies to help lymph movement in your body and thus, making you healthier. Have you tried any of these things before? What did you notice?
Conclusion on How to Boost Lymphatic and Immunity
Having your lymphatic system functioning well is essential for immunity. There are many things that help to keep the lymph flowing properly throughout your body. Ways to boost your lymphatic system are: chiropractic care, exercise, hydration, diet and deep breathing, just to name a few. When your lymphatic system is working your immunity increases!