For example, some researchers are looking at whether extreme amounts of intensive exercise can cause athletes to get sick more often or somehow impairs their immune function. Older people should discuss this question with a physician who is well versed in geriatric nutrition, because while some dietary supplementation may be beneficial for older people, even small changes can have serious repercussions in this age group. Protect yourself from dementia, stroke and brain injury with PQQ August 26, The enzymes and acids in fruit are powerful lymph cleansers. There are still relatively few studies of the effects of nutrition on the immune system of humans, and even fewer studies that tie the effects of nutrition directly to the development versus the treatment of diseases. The Fat Flush Plan author Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, estimates that 80 percent of women have sluggish lymphatic systems and that getting them flowing smoothly is the key to easy weight loss and improved feelings of well-being. Make other lifestyle changes in the hope of producing a near-perfect immune response?
Search Harvard Health Publishing
As the lymphatic system is 95 percent water, it is important to avoid becoming dehydrated. Experts advise drinking half your weight, in ounces, of water a day. Remember, not all water is created equal — so if possible drink pure spring water or purified water to reduce your toxic burden. Use an inversion table, which allows you to be suspended upside down while strapped in by the feet. Being in this unusual position can help promote free-flowing lymph. Use a quality inversion table with a safety strap to control the angle of inversion and safety locks to hold it in place.
Herbal substances can enhance the lymphatic system by improving lymphatic flow and drainage and facilitating removal of toxins. Goosegrass, or Galium aparnine — also known as cleavers — is a time-honored lymphatic tonic, valued for removing and draining trapped bacteria from lymph glands. Using a brush with coarse bristles, gently brush the skin in the direction of the heart.
Although you may feel silly doing this, experts say it stimulates circulation and encourages the movement of lymph. By the way, dry brushing can be particularly helpful in breaking down deposits of cellulite caused by a sluggish lymphatic system. Utilized in the body to break down proteins and aid in digestion and metabolism, enzymes can help dissolve and clear away toxic accumulations in both the lymph and the blood, promoting lymphatic drainage and stimulating the immune system.
You can take them as a supplement — or obtain them through diet by eating papaya, which contains the enzyme papain, and pineapple, which contains bromelain. Designed to stimulate the flow of lymph and drainage of toxins, specialized lymphatic massage uses gentle pressure and rhythmic circular motions.
You can also perform a do-it-yourself version by gently massaging the lymph nodes under your jaw. According to a review published in The Journal of Manual Manipulative Therapy , lymphatic drainage massage facilitated removal of waste products in the lymphatic system and helped to reduce edema.
This applies particularly to underwire bras , which can significantly interfere with lymphatic flow and drainage from lymph nodes located in the armpit and upper chest.
Possible consequences of long-term use of constrictive clothing could include impairment of lymphatic function, fibrocystic breast tissue and even breast cancer.
Better to be safe…and comfortable. Drink plenty of water. Without adequate water, lymph fluid cannot flow properly. To help ensure the water is readily absorbed by your cells, I frequently add some fresh lemon juice or oxygen or pH drops.
These sugar-, color- and preservative-laden beverages add to the already overburdened workload your lymph system must handle. Eat more raw fruit on an empty stomach. The enzymes and acids in fruit are powerful lymph cleansers. Eat them on an empty stomach for best digestion and maximum lymph-cleansing benefits. Most fruits are digested within 30 minutes or so and quickly help you feel better.
Discover the best herbal remedies, foods, and therapies to get your lymph moving… 6. Eat plenty of green vegetables to get adequate chlorophyll to help purify your blood and lymph.
Eat raw, unsalted nuts and seeds to power up your lymph with adequate fatty acids. Choose from walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, Brazil nuts, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Add a few lymph-boosting herbal teas to your day, such as astragalus, echinacea, goldenseal or wild indigo root tea. Avoid using herbs while pregnant or lactating and avoid long-term use of any herb without first consulting a qualified professional.
Dry skin brush before showering. Use a natural bristle brush. Whether the increased rate of disease is caused by malnutrition's effect on the immune system, however, is not certain.
There are still relatively few studies of the effects of nutrition on the immune system of humans, and even fewer studies that tie the effects of nutrition directly to the development versus the treatment of diseases. There is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies — for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E — alter immune responses in animals, as measured in the test tube.
However, the impact of these immune system changes on the health of animals is less clear, and the effect of similar deficiencies on the human immune response has yet to be assessed. So what can you do? If you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs — maybe, for instance, you don't like vegetables — taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement may bring other health benefits, beyond any possibly beneficial effects on the immune system.
Taking megadoses of a single vitamin does not. More is not necessarily better. Walk into a store, and you will find bottles of pills and herbal preparations that claim to "support immunity" or otherwise boost the health of your immune system.
Although some preparations have been found to alter some components of immune function, thus far there is no evidence that they actually bolster immunity to the point where you are better protected against infection and disease. Demonstrating whether an herb — or any substance, for that matter — can enhance immunity is, as yet, a highly complicated matter. Scientists don't know, for example, whether an herb that seems to raise the levels of antibodies in the blood is actually doing anything beneficial for overall immunity.
Modern medicine has come to appreciate the closely linked relationship of mind and body. A wide variety of maladies, including stomach upset, hives, and even heart disease, are linked to the effects of emotional stress.
Despite the challenges, scientists are actively studying the relationship between stress and immune function. For one thing, stress is difficult to define. What may appear to be a stressful situation for one person is not for another. When people are exposed to situations they regard as stressful, it is difficult for them to measure how much stress they feel, and difficult for the scientist to know if a person's subjective impression of the amount of stress is accurate.
The scientist can only measure things that may reflect stress, such as the number of times the heart beats each minute, but such measures also may reflect other factors.
Most scientists studying the relationship of stress and immune function, however, do not study a sudden, short-lived stressor; rather, they try to study more constant and frequent stressors known as chronic stress, such as that caused by relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, or sustained challenges to perform well at one's work.
Some scientists are investigating whether ongoing stress takes a toll on the immune system. But it is hard to perform what scientists call "controlled experiments" in human beings.
In a controlled experiment, the scientist can change one and only one factor, such as the amount of a particular chemical, and then measure the effect of that change on some other measurable phenomenon, such as the amount of antibodies produced by a particular type of immune system cell when it is exposed to the chemical. In a living animal, and especially in a human being, that kind of control is just not possible, since there are so many other things happening to the animal or person at the time that measurements are being taken.
Despite these inevitable difficulties in measuring the relationship of stress to immunity, scientists are making progress. Almost every mother has said it: So far, researchers who are studying this question think that normal exposure to moderate cold doesn't increase your susceptibility to infection. Most health experts agree that the reason winter is "cold and flu season" is not that people are cold, but that they spend more time indoors, in closer contact with other people who can pass on their germs.
But researchers remain interested in this question in different populations. Some experiments with mice suggest that cold exposure might reduce the ability to cope with infection. But what about humans? Scientists have dunked people in cold water and made others sit nude in subfreezing temperatures. They've studied people who lived in Antarctica and those on expeditions in the Canadian Rockies.
The results have been mixed. For example, researchers documented an increase in upper respiratory infections in competitive cross-country skiers who exercise vigorously in the cold, but whether these infections are due to the cold or other factors — such as the intense exercise or the dryness of the air — is not known. A group of Canadian researchers that has reviewed hundreds of medical studies on the subject and conducted some of its own research concludes that there's no need to worry about moderate cold exposure — it has no detrimental effect on the human immune system.
Should you bundle up when it's cold outside? The answer is "yes" if you're uncomfortable, or if you're going to be outdoors for an extended period where such problems as frostbite and hypothermia are a risk.
But don't worry about immunity.