Last week we talked about the lymphatic system, what it is and what it does for the body. Missed it? Go here and check it out! This week, as promised, we’ll look more closely at the effects of stress and digestive imbalance on the lymphatic system. Spoiler alert – both are bad for it.

First, stress: what it does and how to ease the effects of it for better lymphatic health. Generally it’s believed that stress alone cannot lead to evidence of disease like swollen lymph nodes, but some studies resulted in evidence to the contrary. In one done in Australia on mice, high stress in the mice with cancerous tumors led to the tumors spreading much more quickly through the lymphatic system, and earlier death from the cancer. It’s also the case that exposure to large doses of cortisol, a hormone produced during stressful situations, can cause the lymphoid tissue to atrophy. Once again, we’d urge everyone to add practices into their daily lives that help alleviate stress.  There are so many ways to do this! Daily movement and exercise is a great one, a meditation practice is another one that’s easy to work into the day; it can help even if it’s just 10 minutes a day! Most people have found healthy activities that help them feel calmer and more able to handle the day to day stress, but if you haven’t managed to find anything that really works for you, please talk to us about it! We can suggest some things that are specifically tooled for your existing lifestyle.

We also have digestive dysfunction to consider. It effects every aspect of our health, to be sure! What, specifically is happening with the lymph when your gut isn’t working properly? Simply put, the lymphatic system plays a major role in healthy digestion. It helps the body properly absorb dietary fats and helps prevent the development of disease in the gut. When any part of digestion isn’t functioning properly, the lymph is at risk of not circulating properly, which puts the entire body at risk for disease. All the things we recommend for better gut health – a low sugar diet, lots of nutrient-dense foods, lots of water, chewing your food well, avoiding processed foods – these all protect the lymph as well as the gut. As you can see, no part of your body is an island! Taking care of the lymphatic system will help restore or maintain your best health.