With the start of the New Year, it seems new health goals and resolutions are just a given. If you've got some new health initiatives on the table or are just feeling run down after the holidays, it's important to pay attention to your lymph to reset your system, boost your immunity, and help you be much more successful with this year’s health goals.
What is lymph and why is it important?
Our lymph travels with our nerves, arteries and veins, and is twice as big as our arterial blood supply!
The lymphatic system removes waste from every single cell in the body (yes, even all the way down to your little toes!). That said, it has to be running very efficiently, particularly if you're thinking of embarking upon a New Year’s cleanse. You NEVER want to dump toxins into drains that aren't working well.
Sadly, we don't often talk about the lymph until it turns into cancer. In Ayurveda, the lymphatic system is the first system that is addressed. That's because congested lymph is responsible for a variety of ailments, including suppressed immune system, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, aches and pains, bloating and poor digestion. If your lymph is sluggish, you're also more prone to cellulite, collecting fat deposits and obesity.
First, I should note that the number one cause of congested lymph is dehydration. That leads me to a few tips to keep your lymph moving:
1. Drink hot water every ten minutes for a full day.
Grab your favorite thermos and do your best to sip all day long. If that's too much, aim for 2-3 big mugs of hot water. If at the end of the day your tongue feels dry, you're dehydrated and the lymph is likely not moving well. If that's the case, sip 2-3 mugs of hot water a day or tote your thermos for at least two weeks. Additionally, if you're coming down with something, make this your go-to move. It will help rid of waste and you'll kick whatever's got you down much more quickly.
2. Eat raw beets.
They'll also work wonders for cleansing the liver and processing out holiday sugar. Beets will thin the bile, which also helps break down extra holiday fat in the system and rev up an often sluggish liver after the festivities. Bile is responsible for a large portion of the immune response in the gut, so it's extremely important that if you want to nourish your best health and immunity, you're giving the lymph and the liver some extra love. Fresh, raw beets are best. Juicing them is wonderful, as is grating them over salads. Beet kvass or raw beet krauts are quite tasty (and energizing) ways to get in some beets as well.
For optimal health, aim for at least 1/4 cup of raw beets a day.
3. Move each day to ensure your lymph is working efficiently.
Exercise is one of the easiest ways to keep this precious system working well. Optimal lymph moving exercise would be rebounding on a trampoline. Just ten minutes a day will work wonders. Don't be discouraged if you don't have a trampoline or access to a yoga class. Yoga is also wonderful as all the twists and poses can help with lymph movement as well. All exercise helps move lymph. So crank up the music and dance, walk with your bestie or hit your favorite group fitness class.
Which of these tip or tips can you commit to in order to improve your health in 2014??
Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. She's been an on-camera expert for ABC, NBC, and GoodDayLive, with her writing published on a number of healthy living and nutrition websites. Melissa also teaches cooking classes and workshops at Whole Foods and various other retail outlets. She’s an avid yogi, always improving surfer, and a firm believer in faith, love, and the healing power of green juice. She’s got a heart for helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life.