We have an inner life-giving sap that nourishes our foundation, providing us abundant health. It’s our lymph fluid. Understanding our lymphatic system provides insights into our body’s profound ability care for itself.
“Lymph” is Latin for “Water Goddess.” She keeps our inner world wet and clean. Hers is a complex network of fluid-filled nodes, vessels, ducts and glands — including the spleen, thymus, and tonsils — that bathe our cells.
Lymph fluid inside each vessel transports proteins, white blood cells, bacteria, cell debris, enzymes and hormones to and from body tissue. When overwhelmed, she packages up toxins via the spleen, forming cysts in the body to assist.
Breasts are especially rich in lymph vessels. Ample lymph vessels provide needed exchange of nutrients near the mammary glands, making the nourishing sap of mothers milk.
Nutrient-rich lymph fluid originates in our small intestine. Once the acidic contents of our stomach moves into the small intestine, bile is squirted into the mix. Bile digests, or emulsifies, dietary fat into fatty acid molecules. This becomes a milky fluid consisting of emulsified fats or free fatty acids–the base raw material of our lymph fluid!
This fatty/milky mix, composed of the largest particles of digestion, is taken up directly into our lymphatic system through special lymph vessels in the villi (or brush border) of the small intestine known as lacteals. Healthy gut mucosa protects the lacteals from taking up unwanted yeasts and bacteria. This highlights the significance of enjoying probiotic foods like yogurt, water kefir, beet kvass, kombucha tea and lacto-fermented veggies for immunity. The smaller particles of digestion, such as proteins and sugars, are taken up directly into the blood stream.
Our Water Goddess is vibrant with adequate fluid intake (including non-chlorinated, non-fluoridated water) and the highest quality dietary fats. She loves (organic when possible) egg yolks, cream, butter, whole milk, full-fat yogurt, cod liver oil, coconut, avocado, cold-pressed seed and nut oils and fruit oils such as olive. She feels weak with strict low-fat dieting and consumption of poor quality fats (soy, corn, safflower, cottonseed and canola oils, hydrogenated shortenings and emulsifiers found in commercial baked goods). These oils not only create a burdened lymph system, but weaken all cell membranes.
“Garbage in, garbage out"
When the Water Goddess can’t keep up with what we put in our bodies, like Galveston Bay at left, she festers in effluent, her lymphatic ocean sullied. When lymph fluids become thick, lymph glands swell as lymph vessels become narrowed and blocked by stagnant waste. Lymph circulation becomes sluggish.
Sluggish lymph encourages parasites, yeasts and bacteria to live and thrive in our lymphatic ocean. All types of illnesses spread by feeding on the garbage clogging our inner waterways, including cancer.
To keep our “Water Goddess” happy, it’s not drastic cleanses and restrictions that really make a difference in the long run. It’s the simple daily lifestyle choices which add up to big results.
If stagnation is the problem, don’t wallow in waste. Lymph flow relies on contraction of all our muscles to pump lymph fluid through our tissues. There is three times more lymph fluid in the body than blood! Regular daily exercise is necessary to stimulate the lymph circulation. Simple walking and deep abdominal breathing are basic forms of exercise. Breasts have no muscles, so breast massage is the bomb when it comes to keeping the “Girls” clean and healthy on the inside!
Additional lymph-loving nutrients to mention are organic broths, seaweed and miso, which mimic our inner salty ocean. Onions, leeks and radishes help you “cry” inside, thinning and washing your lymph and its vessels. If you feel could use some extra lymph support, try lymph-stimulating Poke Root tincture. Just a few drops per dose is all you need, so a little goes a very long way. If you are sensitive, literally begin with one drop (yes, that's right, one drop, not one dropper-ful!) and see how you do. Poke root can cause digestive distress and/or hallucinations when taken in excess.