How to Activate the Missing Link to Lasting Weight Loss:
If the liver is the body’s filter, the lymphatic channels are its drainage system. Most of us are familiar with the cardiovascular system and its role in our well-being, but the lymphatic system needs to get a better press agent! Despite the crucial importance of this system to our health—and notwithstanding its central role in weight gain—many of us have barely heard of it.
Improving the health of the lymphatic system is the cornerstone of the path towards wellness! The bloodstream carries oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the body, bathing them in a rich fluid that is pumped through the body by the heart. Then, a watery fluid carries away waste products and toxins from the cells, about 85 percent of which returns to the bloodstream. The remaining 15 percent flows into the lymph system, where it eventually reaches the heart.
The word lymph comes from the Latin word for “water goddess,” in honor of the fluid’s watery nature. Healthy lymph is transparent, with a slight yellow tinge and a vaguely opalescent sheen. Unlike blood, which is pumped by the heart, lymphatic fluid has no pump. Instead, what moves the lymph through its many ducts and channels is exercise.
That’s right, exercise. The behavior of the lymphatic system is one of the ways we know that nature intended us to be active, vigorously moving creatures, not sedentary couch potatoes or frantic workers chained to our desks. Mother Nature was so sure we’re be constantly moving—gathering food, building shelters, running away from wild animals—that she seems to have assumed that the lymph system could rely on voluntary activity, rather than on the involuntary constant beating of a heartlike pump. She didn’t count on eighty-hour work weeks and twenty-four-hour cable television.
Ideally, our lymph moves through a complex network of needle-thin tubes known as lymphatics, collecting excess fluid from cells all over the body. Different body parts produce different types of lymph: protein-rich fluid from the limbs; lymph full of white blood cells from the bone marrow, thymus, and spleen; and, more important for our purposes, high-fat lymph from our intestines. Fat is the only food element that moves through the lymphatic system. The proteins and carbohydrates that we ingest go right from the intestines into the blood stream, but the intestinal lymphatics draw fat into the lymphatic system before it reaches the blood.
Now, what happens when the lymph isn’t flowing properly? First, the excess fluid that isn’t draining from our tissues causes them to swell. These bloated, inflamed tissues can add up to 10 or 15 pounds to your weight, and cause you to swell two extra dress sizes. These facts will help you understand why doctors recommend these steps to achieve good lymphatic health:
- Drink lots of high-quality liquids. Both your blood and your lymph need water to help keep the fluids flowing. Ironically, drinking more water actually means you’ll retain less.
- Eat a proper balance of lean proteins, slow-acting or low-glycemic carbs, and the right kind of fats. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential but too much of the wrong fats, such as trans fat or hydrogenated fat, can clog your lymph system as well as your arteries.
- Avoid pollutants, additives, solvents, pesticides, and other toxins. Remember, it’s the liver’s job to filter these poisons out of your system. Otherwise they end up in the bloodstream—and in the lymphatic system as well.
- Keep moving. Again, the blood has a heart to keep pumping it through the arteries and veins, but the lymphatic system has only you. It is literally your bodily movements—walking, running, and dancing with your legs; pumping and swinging your arms—that keeps the lymph flowing.
- Dry Brush Daily: Are you familiar with this amazing technique? Read my past blogs for more information on this fantastic daily routine you can add to your life to drain the lymphs and also balance hormones and achieve weight loss.
Rebound to Switch on Your Internal Vacuum Cleaner:
Rebounding is a remarkably effective form of exercise. It affects every cell in your body at once, and is particularly helpful to the immune system. That’s because the up-and-down movement, working with the force of gravity as well as against it, stimulates lymph flow—and it’s the lymphatic system that carries your white blood cells, which fight infection and help to neutralize malignant cells. Albert E. Carter, author of The Miracles of Rebound Exercise, describes the lymphatic system as “an internal vacuum cleaner.”
When you’re bouncing up and down on your rebounder, your cells are participating in three separate forces: acceleration, as you rise, and deceleration and gravity, as you fall. The demands on your body’s cells to adjust to each force make all your cells stronger. Your cells also experience a kind of squeezing from all the bouncing, which helps force toxins out of the cells. Meanwhile, your entire body is getting a workout, including all the vessels of your lymphatic system.
With just a few minutes a day of bouncing on the rebounder (yes I do mine everyday), you’ll begin to see and feel results—from tighter abdominal muscles, to a higher muscle-to-fat ratio, to improved skin elasticity and tone with less visible cellulite. You’ll also benefit from a stronger immune system and renewed bone mass.