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Your Intertwined Digestive and Lymph Systems


The Relationship Between Your Digestive and Lymphatic Systems

Your digestive system is actually intertwined with your lymphatic system. Their proper functioning has a significant effect each other’s ability to function properly.

Your lymphatic system provides important multiple functions in your body. It provides a defensive network against pathogens. One of the primary tasks of the lymph system is to create white blood cells to fight off infections, diseases, and tumors. The lymphatic system is as vital as your body’s immunity system or white blood cell system.

Lymphatic vessels, like the veins and capillaries in the blood system, circulate through your body as your blood system does. Interstitial fluid, created in the heart gathers from your body salt, glucose, minerals, fatty acids. Another important function of the lymphatic system is to gather waste products for removal from your body.  The waste is removed from your blood by the liver and/or kidneys and they are then eliminated from your body through your digestive system through urination and bowel movements.

Your gastrointestinal tract(GI tract) is surrounded by gut-associated lymphatic tissues (GALT), which are the largest group of lymphatic vessels in your body.

The intestinal villi, which absorb nutrients, are located near your GALT. It’s important to keep the lymphatic system healthy in this area in order to stop pathogens from entering your intestines. The lymphatic system also helps keep up a healthy intestinal flora, which are the healthy bacteria and other organisms that live inside the intestines. 

Lymphatic vessels also help collect fats and fatty acids from the small intestine. These fats provide your body energy, especially when you are in low temperatures. They are fundamental in helping your body absorb and store vitamins and protect the heart.

Another critical ways in which the lymphatic system works with your digestive system is transporting the fats that are part of your diet to be processed in the liver.

As you can see, your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) and your lymphatic system have a biologically symbiotic relationship. It’s important to keep your GALT and all of your lymphatic system working well.

For example, if your diet is full of processed foods with preservatives your GALT can become congested. In turn, this stagnant lymph flow will not only toxify your body and hurt your immune system, but also create digestive problems. Also, since stress often directly affects the digestive system, the adjacent lymphatic system can be negatively affected.

How to Keep Your Lymphatic System Healthy

A poorly functioning lymphatic system can not only affect your digestion but much of your body. It can cause water retention, brain fog/fatigue, weight gain, colds, stiffness and more.

To avoid these lymph-related digestives and other health problems, you can take care this your lymph system by drinking water throughout the day. Your lymphatic system is made of about 95% water. Start your day by drinking at least one eight-ounce glass of water. This will also help your metabolism moving forward into the day. Drink water throughout the day. Limit or avoid caffeine as it dehydrates you. Keep your gut healthy by eating foods that are nutritious, don’t irritate your gut, and have high water content such as leafy and or green vegetables. Do a colon, liver, and gallbladder cleanse periodically and when needed, take probiotics to maintain your intestinal flora. Probiotics naturally live in your intestines. They are bacteria and yeasts that benefit your gut and your digestion. You can buy probiotic supplements. Probiotics are also found in yogurt and other foods. Probiotics assist food to move through your intestines by signaling the nerves that control and affect gut movement.  They help alleviate IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome), and diarrhea.

Some naturally red foods have are cranberries, beets, pomegranates, and cherries. These items contain bioflavonoids (antioxidants) and enzymes that fight free radicals, break down toxins. Beets are known to be anti-inflammatory. Your lymphatic system has lies on the movement of your muscles to keep flowing (it doesn’t have a pump like the heart does in the circulatory system.) You might have fluids swelling your legs when you are inactive or sitting for long periods. That’s built-up lymph. Massage or self massage, stretching and exercise will keep the fluids moving. Ayurvedic medicine recommends dry brushing your body towards your heart. Wearing tight-fitting clothes can restrict lymph flow. As the body does a lot of detoxifying when you sleep, it is important to wear not to wear loose fitting garments when you go to bed at night. Another way to help your lymphatic system is with slow, deep breathing. Stress can cause digestive and lymphatic constriction and deep breathing and deep breathing exercises can calm you down and relax you. Meditation is also good for this for calming your mind and body. Being in nature is also a natural relaxant for your body. Last but not least, you can relieve tension on your lymphatic system by having a good laugh now and then!

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