What if we told you a body system that you might completely ignore is critical to your breast health? You might say, “No way. A system like that would be too important to ignore!” and you would be right. The lymphatic system is the silent warrior of your immune system and a vital player in moving excess fluids throughout your body. Both of these functions contribute to maintaining healthy breast tissue. To help make the connection, here’s a little rundown of exactly what the lymph system does in your body.
The lymph system and the circulatory system work hand in hand. As the blood is pumped through your body, excess liquid is forced out of your capillaries. This excess liquid, called lymph, drains into the vessels of the lymphatic system and circulates throughout the body. It keeps your tissues from swelling and circulates back into the bloodstream to make sure your blood has plenty of fluid to transport oxygen, nutrients and water throughout your body. The lymph also filters pathogens, cellular debris and microbials from your bloodstream. Ever noticed how your tonsils (one of the main lymph organs at the throat) get swollen and sore when you catch a virus? Well, that’s your lymph system working to try and eliminate the threat and filter it out before it can circulate through your body.
Lymph and Breast Connection
The filtering process happens in your lymph nodes, small bean-shaped structures composed of lymphatic tissue. Your lymph nodes house immune cells that kill unwanted microorganisms like bacteria and virus. Once the threat is neutralized, the dead bacteria or virus is released back into the lymph and blood circulation to be eliminated from the body. About 600 lymph nodes are found throughout your body and are especially concentrated in areas around the armpits, groin, neck, and knees. The largest reservoirs of lymph fluid in women are located in their breasts. Issues can arise when those fluids become stagnate.
About 3 liters of lymph have to be cleaned and drained everyday but, unlike the circulatory system, there is no pump like the heart to get it moving. So how does all this fluid get transported through the body? Mainly by moving your muscles. If you don’t move, your lymph doesn’t move. If your lymph gets stuck, your immune system can be in trouble.
Get It Moving
One of the best things you can do to keep the fluid moving in the breast area is commit to a daily exercise routine. It doesn’t need to involve much, in fact, one of the best methods to move lymph is to jump around. Yep. Jump. Just 10 minutes of doing jumping jacks or jumping rope would do the trick. Or you can delight your inner child and spend 10 minutes on a mini trampoline or rebounder.
Regular lymph palpitations (watch Alison’s How To video here), massage and hot showers can all stimulate lymph flow. Even the foods you eat can get your lymph flowing.Check out these foods that promote flow inspired by One Green Planet:
- Citrus- These sweet and tart fruits, especially lemons and limes, have a potent amount of vitamin C and act as a decongestant as well as a liver cleanser so having a warm glass of lemon water in the morning is magic for your lymphatic system.
- Greens – Think kale, collards, spinach, watercress, arugula, lettuces. The magic here is in the chlorophyll. The greener the plant, the higher the content of this potent plant food that mimics our blood chemistry and aids in cleansing lymph.
- Garlic – This smelly food is perhaps the single most studied plant food in the world. Studies tout its incredible immunomodulation – positive effect on the immune system- and its role in lymph node support.
- Warming spices – There are a few rock stars for the lymph system and although they each have their own phytochemical magic, the common denominator here is that they are warming for the blood and the lymph. It’s like a hot shower on your plate. Just in time for the fall season, minus the pumpkin spice lattes, utilize the turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, and coriander to spice up your butternut squash soup or breakfast oats.
Now that you know about the important role the lymph system has in maintaining health breasts, get that fluid flowing. The girls will thank you!