Given the moniker of the garbage collector, the lymphatic system is one of the most overlooked yet significant systems in the body. This largest and most expansive circulatory system runs throughout the body collecting wastes and toxins from every part of the body and eventually draining them out of our system through elimination.
Here are five things you need to know about your lymphatic system:
It is your body’s built-in garbage disposal system: While the lymphatic system is involved in several functions like regulating the immune system and transportation of fats, one primary function is detoxification. It is our body’s smart and intelligent built-in garbage disposal unit! And like how obnoxious a clogged drainage pipe in your home would be, a clogged lymphatic system can start holding up toxins in the body leading to toxin buildup, weakened immunity, poor skin and hair health, headache, bloating, water retention, brain fog, chronic fatigue and a wide variety of other health issues, including cancer.
When your body moves, your lymphatic system moves: Unlike blood, which relies on the pumping of our heart for its circulation, the lymphatic system does not have a heart or pump of its own. The lymph, thus, circulates only when we move. It gets activated the minute you take a step, and the sole of your foot hits the ground.
This means movement is crucial for lymphatic health. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to the stagnation of toxins and lymph fluid. And if bedridden, ask your caregivers to massage the sole of your feet for three to five minutes twice a day. Practise simple movements in bed or in your wheelchair using resistance bands.
Tight undergarments can compromise lymphatic health: Wearing tight undergarments can compromise lymph circulation. You have lymph nodes that are drains that get rid of toxins in your armpits. Your lymph fluid travels inside your breasts along your breastbone. But when you wear tight underwire bras that run tight across the entire circumference of your breasts, your bra presses against your lymph nodes and compromises the drainage system otherwise designed to protect you. The lymph can no longer flow freely.
It plays a significant role in cancer prevention, management, and remission: While cancers are multifactorial and no one reason causes cancer, most lymphomas, carcinomas found in breast tissue are also closely related to a jammed-up lymphatic system or toxic residues that create a perfect environment for the faulty genes to express themselves. So a healthy lymphatic system plays a significant role in cancer prevention, progression, and remission.
Excessive use of deodorants and perfumes can also clog the lymphatic system: Stop blocking your lymph nodes with chemical-laden sprays, deodorants, and perfumes. Sweat the toxins out. Sweating is a way of flushing out toxins from the body. It is also a way to keep your lymphatic system clean. Due to sweating and in our honest attempt to smell good all the time, we liberally apply deodorants under our arms not realising that we are pushing all the toxins back into our body. Switch to natural and sustainable personal care products instead.
What happens when our lymphatic system gets clogged? Just like a chock-a-block sewage pipe can become a breeding ground for bacteria, pathogens, germs, mold, and fungi, a clogged lymphatic system becomes a cesspool of toxins. A faulty lymphatic system can lead to poor immunity, skin and hair, migraines, bloating, water retention, brain fog, chronic fatigue, and in extreme cases, metastatic cancers.
Loading up on turmeric and ashwagandha supplements, fancy charcoal drinks or chugging detox juices is not the secret to good health. While they are great, it is more important to first set the fundamentals right, and the lymphatic system is one of them. No amount of detox drinks can ever help if your lymphatic system is jammed.
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