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Simple ways to improve your lymphatic health: Diet

The old adage you are what you eat couldn’t be truer than when applied to your lymphatic health. We all know the importance of eating a healthy balanced diet, but are not aware of the role the lymphatic system plays in aiding the digestive process – in particular processing fats and fatty acids, as detailed in our previous blog post.

However, did you know that there are other foods that can actively help boost lymphatic flow? Read on to find out more about these lymph loving foods…

 Going Green

Different vegetables are packed with various enzymes and antioxidants that help the body combat and filter out the body’s impurities with ease. Leafy green perform excellently in breaking down toxins; they possess chlorophyll, an essential detoxification agent that can aid the cleansing of blood vessels and lymph nodes. They facilitate lymph circulation which enables infections to be dealt with by the lymph nodes efficiently. A lot of these leafy greens also come packed with water content, so they also provide optimum hydration. In particular we recommend, Kale, Spinach, Cabbage, Watercress, Romaine Lettuce, Swiss Chard and Bok Choi.

 Seeing Red

Plants, fruit and vegetables traditionally used to produce red dyes (cherries, berries, pomegranates, beetroot and cranberries) were frequently used in Ayurvedic and other Eastern medicines to boost lymphatic flow when signs of stagnation occurred. This is because the compounds responsible for their intense colour (such as anthocyanins, lycopene and betalain) are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Research has also shown that anthocyanins are effective against cancer, ageing, neurological disease, chronic inflammation and diabetes.

 To keep your lymph flowing freely, be sure to load up on lots of lovely red fruit and veg.  Cherries, raspberries, red cabbage, pomegranate and beetroot – are especially high in anthocyanins.

 Deserving of particular attention are cranberries, which are great fat emulsifiers and will help break down excess fat for easier absorption and transportation through the lymphatic system.

 Beets – particularly beetroot – help to thin the bile, which has been shown to play a major role in the immune response of the gut. Bile also regulates the stool, helps digest good fat and disposes of bad fat. Beets also scrub the villi of the gut, which is where digestive lymph originates in the lacteals.

One of the most powerful lymph-supporting red foods is the Manjistha root. Highly prized in Ayurvedic medicine for its ability to boost lymphatic flow and overall health.  Manjistha (or Rubia cordifolia, meaning “red root”) has been found to support the liver when it is exposed to high levels of toxins by boosting the production of glutathione, recognised as one of the body’s most powerful anti-oxidants. Difficult to come by in it’s fresh state, there are many Manjistha supplements that are available in powder and capsule form.

 Yes to yellow

Including yellow foods in your diet can provide several benefits from healthy hearts and improved circulation to better immunity.

 Lemons are well known to cleanse toxins from any part of the body and Ayurvedic medicine uses both lemons and lemon essential oil to treat a significant number of health conditions.

Ginger has been used for centuries and is highly prized in Chinese medicine where it is regarded as a warming herb with particular benefits for the lymph nodes, spleen, heart and digestive organs.

A staple in India for thousands of years, turmeric is wonderful for increasing circulation and enhancing the detox function of the liver. It also increases the body’s antioxidant levels, stimulates the metabolism and is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

 Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants and have four times the recommended daily intake of Beta-Carotene, converted by the body into Vitamin A, which has a critical role to play in immune function.