6 Best Foods for Lymphatic Drainage

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foods for lymphatic drainage
Author Name: Lucas Cook
Date: Monday February 20, 2023

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The human body naturally processes toxins as people inhale air, eat food and drink beverages throughout the day. However, things can get backed up. Sometimes people encounter clogged lymph nodes, which are manageable when you consume foods for lymphatic drainage.

These are some of the best foods for lymphatic drainage, plus everything you need to know about the lymphatic system. You’ll better understand your body and how to care for it after reading these essential tips.

What Is a Clogged Lymphatic System?

The lymphatic system includes lymph vessels that process toxins throughout the body. When it becomes clogged by a blockage built of waste, the vessels can’t function properly. Toxins build up, leading to malnourished white blood cells and potential disease.

Signs of a Clogged Lymphatic System

Someone with a clogged lymphatic system often experiences several symptoms. You might notice swelling in your arm or leg, heaviness in the affected area or restricted mobility. The skin can also become thick and hard around the blockage.

What Are the Best Foods for Lymphatic Drainage?

You might wonder what foods help drain your lymphatic system to mitigate your symptoms and avoid future problems. Various foods assist with lymphatic drainage, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and natural oils.

6 Best Foods to Speed Lymphatic Drainage

These are some of the best foods to help drain your lymphatic system and speed up its toxin elimination. Consider adding a few to your diet to support your physical health better.

1. Leafy Greens

Plants like kale, lettuce, spinach and other leafy greens have higher amounts of chlorophyll. It’s a phytochemical that reduces carcinogen exposure in humans by binding to toxins as it processes through the digestive system. 

Although it’s important to know which foods to avoid with swollen lymph nodes, eating more leafy greens may reduce your symptoms and prevent them from becoming clogged again. Each bite introduces more chlorophyll into your system, which helps your lymph vessels fight toxins.

2. Chia Seeds

Researchers estimate that each chia seed is 20% omega-3 fatty acids, so they’re a significant source of the healthy oil. Omega-3s reduce inflammation, which can cause lymphatic blockages and keep them in place.

Consider mixing chia seeds into your next bowl of oatmeal. They’ll assist your lymphatic system while the oatmeal decreases your blood sugar and soothes your body into a less inflammatory state.

3. Cranberries

Some lymphatic blockages contain fat and toxin buildup. Cranberries are a known fat emulsifier and also include arbutin. This glycoside dismantles and flushes toxins from the body, making cranberries much more effective against lymphatic swelling.

Mix a few cranberries into Greek yogurt to improve your gut microbiome while providing your body with antioxidants that fight lymph vessel blockages. You can also sip on cranberry juice, as long as it’s organic and not the high-sugar processed juice alternatives.

4. Flaxseed

You’ll find flaxseed in products like flours and cereals. It’s a food high in antioxidants and alpha-linolenic acid, which process toxins simultaneously. Eating more food with flaxseed as a primary ingredient further boosts your body’s ability to process and prevent lymphatic blockages.

5. Avocados

People enjoy the smooth texture of avocados on their food because the fruit has essential fatty acids. They’re the same fatty acids found in chia seeds. Improve your healthy fat intake by eating more avocados when you experience lymphatic drainage problems. Add them to tacos and burritos, or spread them on toast.

6. Garlic

The garlic in your favorite meals is another helpful tool against lymphatic buildup. It has hydrophobic antimicrobial properties that fight bacteria, plus bioactive compounds that boost the immune system when it’s weak from infection or illness. Add it to salad dressings, buttery dips and sauce-based meals to help your lymph vessels with the double-packed power of garlic.

How Can I Drain My Lymphatic System Fast?

Your body needs plenty of fluids and more blood flow to send white blood cells to toxin buildups. Drinking more water than usual and exercising frequently can improve both of those bodily functions when you need to drain your lymphatic system quickly.

What Stimulates Lymphatic Drainage?

There are a few ways to stimulate lymphatic drainage. First, you can eat foods that promote lymph flow, like cranberries, leafy greens and chia seeds. The extra nutrients strengthen your body so it can take care of itself. You’ll also increase your antioxidant intake, which is essential for fighting toxins.

However, your lymphatic blockages may need extra assistance. You could schedule a professional lymphatic massage if your doctor advises it or ask a loved one to do one at home. The slight pressure and movements in the massage could stimulate your lymph nodes and make passing blockages easier.

At-home lymphatic massages are not done on swollen areas because they could cause pain or injury. Instead, they occur near the infected vessels, such as:

  • Under the arms
  • Behind the knees
  • On the front, side or back of the neck

Gently placing pressure in these areas to stretch the skin stimulates blood flow, which may speed up your body’s immune response to the blockage. It’s always important to get massage advice from a professional or schedule an appointment to avoid accidental injuries on your path to healing.

What Can I Drink for Lymphatic Drainage?

Foods aren’t the only thing that can improve your lymphatic drainage. You can also drink specific beverages. Certain ingredients could provide extra antioxidant and anti-inflammatory assistance to remove the blockage.

Water is the first beneficial drink because it flushes toxins out. If you prefer more flavor, you could drink juice and broth in addition to flavored water.

People with lymphatic blockages also drink green tea because it’s high in antioxidants that fight cancer and other toxins in the body. Herbal teas with similar ingredients could provide the same benefits.

Is Lemon Water Good for the Lymphatic System?

Adding lemon to your water could help your lymphatic system and add a bit of flavor. Lemon juice has a high pH level, so it eliminates bacteria and pathogens without being too potent for your digestive tract. Add lemon juice to your water bottle or tea to assist with other cleansing foods and efforts you decide to use.

What Vitamins Help Lymphatic Drainage?

You can consume numerous vitamins to help your lymphatic drainage. Focus on vitamins with antioxidant properties, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and beta-carotene. It’s best to avoid foods that don’t have any of these vitamins.

How Do I Know if My Lymphatic System Is Clogged?

You’ll know you have a clog in your lymphatic system when you note swelling in your neck,  tongue, face, limbs or mouth. The affected areas could also feel tight or heavy. It depends on the location and the cause of the swelling.

How Does Lymphatic Fluid Exit the Body?

Toxins produced by the lymph vessels pass through nodes that filter any remaining healthy fluids. The waste flows along the bloodstream and passes through the kidneys or liver. Like any other bodily waste, the toxins turn into urine or bowel movements.

It’s crucial to stay hydrated when you’re fighting swollen lymph nodes. Toxins linger and may result in other issues like prolonged illnesses without liquid moving them through your colon or urinary tract, so be sure to drink up. 

What Happens When Your Lymphatic System Is Clogged?

Clogs cause swelling in the lymphatic system. The fluid containing toxins gathers behind them instead of passing through, leading to enlarged glands. The swelling grows until it’s a noticeable lump in your limbs, neck, face or other regions that contain lymphatic vessels.

Lymphatic system clogs are a curable condition, but they may require help from your doctor. Your primary care physician may prescribe antibiotics when you can’t find relief by eating and drinking more nutritious foods. They could also recommend visiting a local massage clinic for professional assistance with drainage.

Foods to Avoid With Swollen Lymph Nodes

Some foods may hinder your body as it tries to fight lymph blockages. Dehydrating foods like coffee and alcohol will reduce your hydration. Your blood cells take longer to reach blockages without enough fluid in your body and may not be strong enough to fight bacteria well.

You should also avoid foods high in salt, sugar and processed ingredients. Even though they may taste good, salt dehydrates your body, while sweeteners spike your blood sugar. The result is increased inflammation that hinders your body’s ability to regulate itself.

Your white blood cells thrive when your body isn’t trying to divert their healing efforts to irritated nerves, stomach lining or other parts of your body. Eating foods that promote lymph flow with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties is in your best interest.

Eat Better Foods for Lymphatic Drainage

Consider what foods work best with your health history and add them to your diet. You could also schedule a quick visit with your doctor to discuss your options. There are many ways to relieve swollen lymph nodes, especially if you’re looking for at-home remedies. It may take some trial and error, but you will find relief.

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