Do you feel a little extra puffy and swollen these holidays? Your lymphatic system might need some extra TLC. With boozy brunches, Christmas feasts and a few extra holiday treats, your body might be dealing with extra load that it’s not used to. If you feel ilke you have extra water retention during this time of year, give your body the gift of a reboot by taking care of your lymphatic system
What is the lymphatic system?
Basically, the lymphatic system assists to help your body rid waste, toxins and other undesirable materials, through a special network of organs and tissues. The lymphatic system primarily transports lymph throughout your body – which is fluid that contains white blood cells that help you fight infection. Your lymphatic system works hard for you every day to help take away waste and fight off foreign bodies that can cause infection.
How do you know your lymph nodes need some love?
If you’re suffering from a sluggish lymphatic system, you may notice:
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Water retention
- You can’t seem to lose weight
- Digestive issues
- Brain fog
- More colds and flu
- Cold hands and feet
- Lymph node swelling
How to help drain the lympathic system:
1. Stay hydrated
It sounds counterintuitive to drink more water if you’re experiencing water retention, but dehydration can be a major cause of a sluggish system. Give your body the help it needs by drinking at least 2 litres of water every day. Water is the greatest 'cleanser' available - and it's free! Swap out your sugary sodas and coffees (that can cause lymphatic issues) for more h2O - not only will you feel more energised, you'll notice less bloating and feel slimmer too!
2. Reduce your chemical exposure
Unfortunately in our modern world, we are constantly exposed to environmental toxins. Whether it's through the processed food you eat, the air pollution, pesticides, pharmaceuticals or the ingredients in your self-care products, these pollutants can take a toll on your body. By opting for 'greener' products, choosing organic foods where possible and taking the steps to reduce your chemical load, you'll be giving your body less tasks to do. This is especially important when the lymphatic system is struggling - the less junk you put in, the less junk it needs to filter out!
3. Support your gut
A healthy gut is everything for your immune system. When your gut is functioning less than optimally, your whole body suffers. To assist your digestive tract and lymphatic system to do their job properly, make sure you load up on anti-inflammatory foods and antioxidants.
Best foods for the lymphatic system:
- Leafy green vegetables like spinach
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli
- Omega-3 fatty acids such as in salmon
- Berries such as blueberries
- Nuts and seeds
- Citrus foods like lemon
4. Start body brushing
You may not feel like adding another 'to do' into your beauty routine, but body brushing has many benefits and is a popular way to stimulate the lymphatic system. Plus, it'll only take you a few minutes! With regular body brushing using a natural bristle brush before showering, you'll help push fluid through your system. You'll help your body get rid of toxins, improve your circulation, help improve the appearance of cellulite and exfoliate your skin too!
Start at the feet, and with medium pressure and long strokes using your brush, you want to work on each limb, guiding the fluid towards the heart. On your stomach, you can use circular motions or long strokes, whatever you prefer. Stick to this routine daily to see real results!
5. Try a lymphatic drainage massage
Lymphatic drainage massage has been around for a long time and continues to be a popular wellness option for those looking to debloat and reduce the appearance of cellulite. It also has a place in medical therapy where patients are experiencing a lymphatic issue such as lymphedema. You can search for a lymphatic drainage massage practitioner near you for a relaxing treatment that will leave you feeling taut and trim! Otherwise, you can also learn how to do lymphatic drainage massage for yourself. The key is gentle upward strokes towards the heart, guiding the fluid towards the lymph nodes for easy elimination. The massage works best when paired with plenty of water and a healthy diet.