The lymphatic system is an integral part of our circulatory system. It is responsible for fighting infections and filtering out bacteria and several other waste products. Lymph, a clear/white fluid, is also responsible for the absorption of oxygen and nutrients by our cells. Hence, it is always a good idea to have a healthy lymphatic system for overall health and happiness.
In our previous blog posts on Lymphedema, the benefits of lymphedema leg exercises and lymphedema arm exercises and massages were mentioned. However, in order to maintain an optimal level of lymphatic circulation, following a healthy diet is important as well. Let us then take a look at top ten foods that are essential for maintaining a healthy lymphatic system:
1. Water- Although one may not call it food per se, but water is essential for the body’s proper hydration and maintaining a good flow in the lymphatic system. It is recommended that you drink between 2.5 to 3 liters of water throughout a day.
2. Fruits- Citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, orange and lime help improve lymphatic flow. Melons and cranberries are also highly recommended since their high antioxidant content keeps our immune system strong. Cranberries are a good emulsifier of fat and make sure that excess fat is cleaned out by the lymphatic system.
3. Seeds and Nuts- Foods with avocado, olive oil and coconut oil have the necessary fatty acids which not only make the vascular tissue stronger, but also help in the absorption of minerals and vitamins that only dissolve in fat. Walnuts and almonds are beneficial as well.
4. Lymphatic Herbs- Several herbs are known to have a very positive effect on lymph flow. They decongest the lymph nodes, reduce swelling in areas of higher lymph concentration and clear lump formations. Pokeroot, Violet leaf and flower, Red Root and chickweed are all excellent natural remedies for a healthy lymphatic system.
5. Aquatic plants- Kelp, spirulina and chlorella are highly nutritious sources of healthy proteins, iodine and other ingredients that are not only good for lymph, but other body functions too. These can be consumed either fresh or dried, or added to traditional dishes like sandwiches, pasta and soups.
6. Leafy veggies- It is recommended that you consume three servings of leafy vegetables and fruits, such as spinach, broccoli, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens and other dark green vegetables with high chlorophyll content.
7. Garlic- Garlic improves the immune system and helps the body fight unwanted bacteria. It also helps with blood and lymph circulation, thus helping you maintain a healthy lymphatic system.
8. Turmeric- It acts as a blood thinner and reduces swellings.
9. Ginger- Ginger acts as a digestive aid and contains potent anti-inflammatory agents called gingerols. Studies have shown that ginger helps with joint circulation and as a result, helps the lymphatic system. Studies have shown that ginger can be as effective as ibuprofen in osteoarthritis treatment.
10. Potassium rich foods- Potassium content in beans, bananas, wild salmon, clams and sweet potatoes help in lymph drainage as well.
Making these foods a part of your daily diet can greatly help in ensuring that you have a healthy lymphatic system. When combined with several other safe and healthy methods of improving lymph drainage, such as doing the right exercises and massages, taking care of your skin and wearing lymphedema compression garments, will keep your lymph flow at its best.