Category Archives: Health Tips

How to Get Rid of Stomach Fat

Last week we discussed the different types of body fat and how they affect your health. The most dangerous type of fat, called visceral fat, is found deep within the belly area and surrounds your major organs. The bad news is that having a lot of this type of stomach fat can increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. The good news is that although it’s dangerous, it’s very responsive to weight loss attempt — meaning, you can burn it off pretty easily with the right strategy.

Calories In Versus Calories Out

The most basic strategy for all weight loss is this: take in fewer calories than you expend. The source of your calories definitely matters, but simply restricting your calories will have a significant impact on your visceral fat.

Move More

According to researchers at Harvard University, exercise can reduce your waist circumference and help get rid of visceral fat even if you don’t actually lose any weight. To reduce visceral fat, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or biking, on most days of the week.

Consume Calcium

A study done by researchers from the University of Alabama Birmingham reported that the more calcium-rich foods a woman eats, the less visceral fat she gains. Good sources of calcium include plain yogurt, collard greens, broccoli, kale, bok choy, figs, oranges, sardines, and canned salmon.

Avoid Trans Fat and Fructose

Trans fats and fructose (read: high-fructose corn syrup) encourage the storage of fat around the belly. In addition, foods that contain trans fat and fructose are typically processed, packaged foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients anyway.

Sleep Right

Finding your perfect sleep balance is important for reducing visceral fat. Studies show that both too much (more than 8 hours) and too little sleep (fewer than 5 hours) can increase visceral fat. Aim for around 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

Manage Your Stress

Stress increases production of the hormone cortisol, which prompts the body to store belly fat. If you want to reduce your visceral fat, you’ll need to get your stress levels under control. Try deep breathing, yoga, meditation, exercise, and/or journaling.

5 Morning Habits to Start Your Day Off Right

It’s been said that what you do in the morning sets the tone for your entire day. If that is, indeed, true (and based on our experience, it is), that first hour after waking up is crucial time that’s often spent pretty poorly.

morning wake up
Picture this: your alarm goes off, you hit snooze, and then you roll around in bed for the next 9 minutes counting down the time until the alarm goes off again, all while dreading having to get up for work. By the time you actually peel yourself from your bed, you’ve snoozed three times. Now you don’t even have time for a shower, let alone breakfast, so you run your fingers through your hair, throw on whatever clean outfit is closest to you, and run out the door. You run into a convenience store to grab a quick cup of coffee that you can drink while stuck in morning traffic. By the time you get to work, you’re frazzled because you have 3 minutes to spare. You put in a few hours before taking your lunch break. Since you didn’t have time to prepare a healthy lunch, you hit the pizza shop next door for a sandwich and chips or a couple slices of pizza. We’re not going to run through the rest of the entire day, but you get the point, right?
Now picture this: Your alarm goes off an hour early (because you set it that way), you stretch and then lie still, visualizing three things that you’re grateful for. You get out of bed, without hitting snooze, and sit down on the living room floor where you do some yoga stretches for 15 minutes. After stretching, you make yourself a quick smoothie, set your coffee to brew, and then you hop in the shower. When you get out of the shower, you pour yourself a cup of coffee and sip it while you’re getting dressed. After you get dressed, you prepare yourself the day’s lunch by transferring some leftovers from your healthy dinner the night before into a to-go container. As you drive to work, you sing along to your favorite songs on the radio because you have plenty of time to get to work, even with traffic.
Now which morning sounds better to you? We’re not psychic, but we’d bet that you chose the second morning. It invokes feelings of calm and relaxation, while just reading about the first morning leaves us feeling tense and stressed out.

Changing Your Routine

Changing your morning routine can take some time and practice, especially if you’re not a self-proclaimed “morning person”, but it’s worth the effort. A well thought out morning not only leaves you feeling calmer, it can help balance your hormones and lead to more productivity throughout the day. If your morning looks more like the first one, you may have a long way to go, but focus on making small changes – they’ll add up to big results down the road.

1. Don’t Snooze

We know it’s tempting to hit that snooze button and get that extra nine or 18 or even 27 minutes of sleep, but don’t do it. You may feel like it’s a good thing to get more sleep, but snoozing is actually working against you. According to Robert Rosenberg, the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona, when you hit the snooze button, you’re putting your body into a new sleep cycle that you’re not going to have enough time to finish. In addition to that, the sleep quality is poor, since you’ll only get about nine minutes until you’re jarred awake again. When you wake up, your body needs time to process and set the physiological processes that signal “awake” in motion. Waking up and then going back to sleep for a short time causes sleep inertia – the groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling you get when finally pull yourself from the sheets. Instead of snoozing, go to bed earlier and get up the first time your alarm signals that it’s time.

2. Practice Gratitude

If you lie in bed in the morning thinking “UGH, I don’t want to get out of this warm bed and go to work”, you’re not alone; unfortunately, however, this is doing you a huge disservice. By thinking these negative thoughts first thing in the morning, your setting your nervous system up for tension and stress. Instead, when you wake up, think of three things that you’re grateful for. Better yet, keep a small notebook next to your bed and write them down.

3. Let Those Emails Wait

It’s tempting to immediately check your inbox or Facebook notifications when you first wake up, especially if your alarm is on your phone, but resist the urge. Instead of checking in with the outside world, focus on yourself and easing into the morning. If you’re glued to your phone, keep it outside of the bedroom and get an alarm clock that wakes you up gently, without allowing you to check in on social media.

4. Eat Breakfast Within an Hour of Waking Up

No, coffee doesn’t count. As you may have heard, breakfast can be the most important meal of the day, but many skip it because their morning routine is just too hectic. Breakfast doesn’t have to be fancy; but it’s important to get some nutrients in your body after the fast that occurs while you’re sleeping. We like to prepare little smoothie bags in advance, so that breakfast is a breeze. Take a plastic sandwich bag, fill it with berries, a half of a banana, spinach, and a handful of nuts. Place the bag in the freezer. In the morning, empty the contents of the bag into the blender along with some protein powder and coconut milk, and you’re done!

5. Exercise

Before you run off on us (pun intended), give us a chance to explain! We’re not suggesting that you do some form of high impact exercise first thing in the morning, but moving your body after you get out of bed is an important part of starting your day off right. It helps get your metabolism moving and eases any aches or stiffness you might have from the night before. Try 15 minutes of yoga or stretching before jumping into a hot shower.

Seltzer Water and Weight Loss: The Skinny on the Bubbly

There’s this major company that makes seltzer drinks. And let’s just say that every time said company comes out with a new flavor, there’s also a major uproar. We’re talking uproar in a good way. People go nuts; and oftentimes, the new flavors start selling out so fast that they become extremely difficult to find in stores. When this happens, we also start to get a lot of questions about whether or not seltzer drinks are conducive with a weight loss goal. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, so it’s no wonder you’re confused. Some weight loss programs allow seltzer, while others tell you to steer clear, so which is it? Can you drink seltzer water when you’re trying to lose weight?

seltzer water

What is Seltzer Water?

It’s simple really. Seltzer water is plain water that has carbonation added to it. To do this, manufacturers take carbon dioxide gas and add it to the water under pressure. Now this is where it gets a little tricky, so pay attention. Although the terms “seltzer water”, “club soda”, and “tonic water” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing.
While seltzer water is simply water and carbon dioxide, club soda generally has sodium and other minerals like potassium bicarbonate or potassium sulfate added to it. Tonic water contains a compound called quinine, which gives it its signature bitter taste, along with sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup.
For the purposes of this article, we are discussing seltzer water only. Club soda comes with its own concerns and tonic water, which as just as much if not more sugar than soda, is completely off limits when trying to lose weight.

Dispelling the Myths

Because seltzer water contains no calories and no sugar, drinking it won’t cause weight gain or stall weight loss; but there is a murky area. As you probably know, carbon dioxide is a gas. When you introduce excess gas into your stomach, what happens? Yes, you guessed it. Bloating. While drinking seltzer water counts toward your daily water intake, unlike flat water, drinking too much can leave you feeling uncomfortably full and bloated. Now, of course, this doesn’t mean actual fat pounds gained, but it’s something to consider when trying to fit into those skinny jeans.
There are also a few other concerns regarding bone and dental health. The pH of seltzer water is around 3 to 4 (flat water falls around a 7), making it slightly acidic. Because of this, there are concerns that regularly drinking seltzer water could destroy the enamel on your teeth, making you more prone to cavities, and prompt your bones to release minerals into the blood to increase the pH of your body. Studies have shown that both of these concerns are unfounded; seltzer water is safe for both your bones and teeth. On the other hand, when combined with sugar, as is the case with tonic and soda, carbonated beverages do have the potential to cause enamel erosion.

Benefits of Seltzer Water

In addition to dispelling these myths about seltzer water, some studies went so far as to research added benefits of drinking the bubbly stuff over flat water. One study found that drinking seltzer water over flat water may help you feel full longer. This can prevent overeating and actually lead to weight loss. In this study, researchers concluded that seltzer water may trigger food to stay in the upper portion of the stomach longer, which translates to feeling full for longer.
Another study found that drinking seltzer water may help alleviate digestive problems like constipation and stomach pain (associated with indigestion).

The Verdict

If you want to add seltzer water to your diet plan, you can do so with peace of mind. The bubbly stuff won’t inhibit weight loss or cause weight gain; and your teeth and bones will remain as healthy as ever. Just make sure that you’re staying away from tonic water or any flavored carbonated drinks that contain added sugar of any kind (we’re looking at you high fructose corn syrup).

Emotions and Weight Loss: How Meditation Can Help You Shed Pounds

When it comes to weight loss, diet and exercise get most of the credit. However, according to research, the key player in the game is actually psychological well-being. When you embark on a weight loss journey, learning to manage emotions and develop a healthy relationship with food isn’t always at the forefront, but maybe it should be. Now, we know what you’re thinking: well, all of that is great, but how do I achieve this psychological well-being? How do I stay present in the moment so that I can enjoy my food and listen to my body’s internal cues? The answer is actually quite simple: meditation.

The Research

Although there is still a lot of research to be done, a survey published by the healthcare network Orlando Health reported that successful weight loss is dependent on management of emotions and psychological well-being more than other any factors. However, 90 percent of the survey participants weren’t even aware of the importance of a positive mental state. Most gave all of the credit to diet and exercise.

Another study done by researchers at Cornell University looked at why some people seem to maintain a healthy weight all their lives, while others struggle. The study, which was published in 2016, reported that the leading three reasons were taking pleasure in food, listening to the body’s internal cues, and lack of guilt after eating. Yet another study out of the Brown University Public School of Health found people who pay more attention to the present and their current thoughts and feelings had lower levels of abdominal fat and were less likely to become obese.

How to Meditate

Although the word can be intimidating for some, meditation is simply the practice of focusing your attention on the moment. This results in more calm and clarity.  In addition to increasing psychological well-being, which can in turn lead to weight loss, meditation has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep patterns, and reduce chronic pain.

It does take practice, but the good news is that there’s no real right or wrong way to do it. If you’re new to meditation, try this:

  1. Find a quiet spot where you’ll be free from any distraction for 5 to 15 minutes.
  2. Get into a comfortable position – you can sit, stand, lie down, or even walk. It’s completely up to you.
  3. Find a point of focus. Many people choose to focus only on their breathing. Feel the breath as it comes in and then goes out. Take note of any tension in your body and relax any areas that feel tight.
  4. Be still.

You can also try guided meditations if you find it difficult to remain still or focus on your own breathing. There are many available for free on YouTube that range from 3 minutes to 3 hours.

If you’re new to meditation, the practice may seem a little silly and pointless at first, but trust us. The benefits of meditation extend to all areas of your life. If you combine meditation with the practice of mindful eating, you’ll be on your way to a slimmer waistline in no time.

Immune Booster: Your First Line of Defense This Flu Season

It’s the last day of November, and you know what they say: “’tis the season”. We wish that just meant it was the season to be jolly, but no, it means flu season is steadily creeping up on us.

Couple giving two young children piggyback rides smiling

According to the CDC, although the flu season can vary, it typically begins in October and peaks between December and February. Although you can’t guarantee protection from the flu, the CDC recommends some preventative tips for keeping the flu away:

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Avoid contact with anyone displaying symptoms of the flu
  • Stay home from work or school if you’re sick

In addition to these simple preventative measures, you can also do things to boost your immune system to help you fight off any invading pathogens that might be trying to make you sick. Some easy ways to boost your immune system include:

  • Staying away from sugar
  • Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Exercising regularly
  • Supplementing with vitamin D
  • Getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night

At Valley Medical, we also offer the Immune Booster injection, which contains a combination of Engystol and Gripp-Heel, two homeopathic ingredients that are scientifically proven to both prevent viral infections, like the flu, and reduce the duration and severity of an infection, should you get one. These homeopathic remedies give your body a natural immune boost by increasing white blood cell count by as much as 41 percent!

Arm yourself against the flu this season, by coming in for your Immune Booster injection. Want to know more? Contact us now!

Healthy Recipe: Golden Milk (Haldi Ka Doodh)

turmeric

Last week, we talked about turmeric and the potent health benefits associated with this powerful spice. While you could easily add the spice to savory dishes and soups, we wanted to help you think outside the box a little bit by introducing you to Golden Milk.

Golden Milk, traditionally known as Haldi Ka Doodh, dates back thousands of years with roots in the ancient branch of medicine called Ayurveda. According to Ayurvedic medicine, in addition to the benefits we discussed last week, the components of Golden Milk help support a healthy inflammatory response in the body, balance emotions, and support mental clarity. Traditionally, Golden Milk is consumed right before bedtime, but you can enjoy this simple and delicious “tea” at any time of the day.

What You Need:

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw honey

What to Do:

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender until completely smooth.
  2. Transfer into a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until heated, but not boiling.
  3. Pour into a mug, sprinkle with cinnamon, and enjoy!

10 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Although the real reason for this holiday – giving thanks and practicing gratitude – is spelled out right in its name, let’s be honest: a big part of Thanksgiving is the FOOD. And although we might not like to admit it, typically that food is full of fat, calories, and sugar – things that don’t really go hand in hand with weight loss. But just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to completely blow it. You can still enjoy the holiday healthily with your friends and family with these simple tips.

thanksgiving

1. Eat Before Dinner

Yes, you read that right. One way to help keep you on track during Thanksgiving is to eat BEFORE the big meal. Many people make the mistake of skipping breakfast or lunch in an effort to “save” the calories from these meals for later, but this method of thinking actually works against you. If you skip meals, you’ll end up feeling ravenous later in the day and you’re more likely to overindulge or reach for the extra fatty, extra carby options on the table. Instead eat a healthy breakfast, like oatmeal or a veggie omelet prior to heading out the door for your big meal.

2. Wear Your Sunday’s Best

A lot of us have a tendency to pre-plan our Thanksgiving outfits. We may choose stretchy pants or a loose flowing shirt to prepare for the bloat and discomfort that comes after eating too much. Instead of doing this, wear a form fitting dress or fitted slacks. Doing so will force you to be a little more mindful of what you’re eating since the discomfort of being too full will be harder to ignore.

3. Ditch the Alcohol

Alcohol isn’t just a major source of calories, it also lowers your inhibitions, so you’re more likely to eat more than you would if you had a clear head. We’re not telling you that you shouldn’t imbibe at all, but set a limit for yourself of one to two drinks. Opt for wine or vodka and club soda over fancy, sugary cocktails.

4. Get Active

Instead of giving yourself the entire day off, hit the gym or go for a walk first thing in the morning. If you’re out of town visiting friends or relatives, ask them to join you. That way, your still engaging in family time while also paying attention to your health goals. Another way to get some exercise in is to round everybody up for a walk or a game outside after the meal. It’s tempting to just veg out on the couch, but if you resist this urge, you can get a nice calorie burn post-dinner. As a bonus, moving after a big meal can help improve digestion.

5. Take 10

When you finish your first plate, wait at least 10 minutes before reaching for a second serving. You may not even realize your full until you give your body time to register the meal it just ate. Another reason to wait 10 minutes is that that’s the time it usually takes for a craving to subside.

6. Drink Up (Water, That Is)

Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before your meal. This helps to fill up part of your tummy and may reduce your hunger. Many times, thirst is mistaken for hunger and the best way to quench it is with some fresh water.

7. Focus on Family

During Thanksgiving, there is a lot of focus on food, but the holiday is really about family, friends, connection, and gratitude. Try not to put so much focus on what you can and can’t eat, and instead focus on good company and good conversation. When you shift your mindset, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on what the holiday is really about.

8. Volunteer for the Cleanup Crew

Instead of moving right to the couch after your meal, volunteer to help clean up. The movement will help get the food moving through your digestive system, and you’ll burn approximately 100 calories in an hour of clean-up. Bonus points: your host will be happy.

9. Bring a Better-For-You Dish

If there is something that you absolutely cannot live without this Thanksgiving, make a healthier version of it and offer it to bring it to dinner. That way, you’ll know for sure there will be something healthy for you to eat and you won’t feel like you’re missing out. If you’re the one hosting, put a healthy spin on all dishes. In most cases, your guests won’t even know. If you’re low on ideas, we have some modified recipes for you to check out.

10. Be Gentle with Yourself

The most important thing you need to do to stay healthy on Thanksgiving is be gentle with yourself. If you overindulge or don’t stick to your intended plan, forgive yourself and move on. One day of indulgence isn’t going to throw you completely off track, but guilt and stress can do a number on your health, so be mindful and have fun!

Make Time for Turmeric: A Super Spice with Enormous Health Benefits

Turmeric is nothing new. In fact, the ancient spice dates back nearly 4,000 years to the Vedic culture in India. Indians have been using turmeric from everything to flavoring food to relieving gas to improving energy for thousands of years, but it’s not until recently that modern medicine has caught on. It’s clear that researchers are becoming aware of the health benefits that turmeric provides based just on the number of scientific studies available on its effects. If you do a Google search for the health benefits of turmeric, you’ll be hit with hundreds of different articles and studies telling you why turmeric should be a regular part of your diet. As you know, we’re big fans of making your life a little easier, so we’ve compiled a summarized list of those health benefits.

turmeric

Benefits of Turmeric

  • The main ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is an extremely strong antioxidant. Combining turmeric with black pepper, which contains a compound called piperine, enhances the absorption of the curcumin by 2000%.
  • Curcumin has been shown to increase levels of a hormone called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in the brain. Because of this, it may help delay or even reverse brain-related diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
  • The curcumin in turmeric may help improve the health of the lining of the blood vessels, called the endothelium, which can reduce the risk of heart disease. Some studies show that regular consumption of curcumin may be as good for the heart as regular exercise.
  • Several studies have shown that curcumin may help reduce the growth of cancer cells and the growth of new blood vessels in cancerous tumors.
  • Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin has been shown to greatly improve symptoms in those with arthritis. Some studies comparing curcumin to anti-inflammatory drugs show that it’s just as, if not more, effective.
  • The curcumin in turmeric also aids in the proper metabolism of fat and may help with weight maintenance and/or loss.

How to Enjoy Turmeric

Now that you know the benefits of turmeric, the next step is to make it a regular part of your diet; but the task can seem daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with the spice. The good news is that there are several ways to consume the super spice that go beyond food.

  1. On Your Food.

Turmeric has a very distinct flavor, so this is a wonderful opportunity to try some new, authentic Indian-inspired recipes. You can also keep things simple by sprinkling turmeric on top of eggs or adding it to the water when boiling rice.

  1. In a Smoothie

One of our favorite ways to enjoy turmeric is in a morning smoothie. We add a turmeric mix that contains black pepper, along with our Skip-a-Meal, a handful of berries, a handful of spinach, and just enough coconut milk to allow it to blend.

  1. As a Supplement

If you’re not a fan of the taste of turmeric, you can take it in supplement form. There are many different options available – from capsules to tinctures. Just make sure the supplement you choose contains black pepper, or piperine, in addition to turmeric.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Nothing mentioned here is intended to cure, diagnose, treat, or heal any disease.

Your Lymphatic System: Part 2

Last week, when we talked about your lymphatic system, we gave you some quick tips about what you can do to keep this vital system thriving. We didn’t get into detail about the “how” or the “why”behind some of these tips yet, because we thought that some of these important techniques deserved their own post.

dry skin brushOne of the most important things you can do to keep your lymphatic system healthy and flowing as it should is MOVE YOUR BODY. Unlike your blood, which is moved through your body by the force exerted by your heart when it beats, the only way lymph fluid can move is if you move your body around.

Any movement helps your lymph, but there are two techniques that are particularly effective: dry brushing and rebounding.

Dry Skin Brushing

Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It’s not only responsible for keeping everything (your bones and muscles) in place, it’s one of the major ways your body detoxes. Dry skin brushing, which involves using a natural bristle brush to brush the surface of the skin, helps stimulate the lymphatic system by breaking down lymph fluids that have thickened due to the accumulation of toxins in the body. When the thickened lymph fluid is broken down, it’s flows through the body more easily, and as a result, it helps produce more white blood cells to help you fight off infection.

How to Do It:

Using long, upward strokes (you always want to brush toward your heart), start brushing your skin at your feet and work up your legs, brushing one leg at a time. Move from your legs up to your stomach and back and across your chest (avoiding brushing directly on the breast). Brush each arm up toward the underarm area. The whole process takes only 5 to 10 minutes. Because dry skin brushing can stimulate the body, it’s best done first thing in the morning, before you shower/start your day. As the name implies, the skin should be dry during the entire process.

dry skin brushing

Rebounding

Rebounding is a fancy term for jumping on a mini-trampoline. The up and down motion of the jump stimulates all of your internal organs, moves cerebral spinal fluid and the fluid around the eyes, and improves digestion. Rebounding helps move lymph fluid increasing detoxification and can make the white blood cells of your immune system more active. Jumping on a solid surface doesn’t have the same effect, so it’s important to make sure your jumping on a trampoline.

How to Do It:

You can effectively rebound with any mini-trampoline — all you have to do is jump up and down. While rebounding, wear loose comfortable clothes — nothing that’s too tight or restricting. The goal is to allow your body to move and wiggle a bit. The more wiggle, the more effectively the jumping is flushing out your lymphatic system.

As you begin, you may find that you can’t rebound for very long, but work your way up to about 15 to 20 minutes per day. If you need to, you can break up the time into three five-minute sessions throughout the course of the day. Keep a moderate pace — one that makes you breathe a little heavier, but doesn’t make you as out of breath as a run would.

Your Lymphatic System: Part 1

lymph

You’re probably familiar with the terms “lymphatic” or “lymph”, but how much do you know about this important, yet under-loved body system? The lymphatic system is arguably one of the most important systems in the body, and yet it doesn’t get much mainstream attention when it comes to maintaining your health. Of course, all body systems are important, but the lymphatic system has three main functions that have an extremely profound effect on how you feel:

  • Makes up a major part of your immune system that helps defend against bacteria, viruses, and any other foreign invaders.
  • Helps your body absorb fats and fat-soluble nutrients.
  • Helps maintain fluid balance.

If your lymphatic system is struggling, it’s impossible for you to feel your best. In this two part series, we’re going to discuss what the lymphatic system is and the best things you can do to keep your lymphatic system healthy.

What is the Lymphatic System?

The lymphatic system consists of lymph vessels, lymph ducts, and lymph nodes that form a “network” that travels through all of the body’s tissues. The major players in the lymph system are the bone marrow, spleen, lymph nodes, thymus glands, and tonsils. Most lymph nodes are found in groupings in the neck, armpit, and groin area, but they’re located all over the body. Lymph nodes help filter blood and lymph fluid to fight infection and disease.

To fight infection, lymph fluid enters the lymph nodes, where specific white blood cells called macrophages fight foreign bodies and take them, as well as debris and any other waste products, out of the blood. After the foreign bodies have been removed, the lymph fluid returns to your veins and then goes back into your bloodstream. If you have an active infection, sometimes this causes your “glands”, which are actually your lymph nodes, to swell up.

The lymphatic system is also responsible for producing antibodies, the proteins that help your immune system attack foreign invaders.

How to Keep the Lymphatic System Healthy

Unlike other body systems, the lymphatic system depends on you to keep it healthy because the only way lymph fluid can properly travel through the body is through your movement. This differs from other systems, like the circulatory system, for example, because the heart will beat and blood will move through your body even if you lie on the couch all day; however, when you’re sedentary, the lymph fluid will start to become stagnant. Also, unlike blood, which flows all over your body in both directions, lymph fluid only moves upward, toward the neck.

When your lymphatic system is unhealthy, it can lead to several conditions, such as enlarged lymph nodes, inflammation of lymph nodes, enlarged spleen, inflamed tonsils, and even cancer; an unhealthy lymph system can also lead to lymphedema, or swelling of the tissues, which is not only uncomfortable, it can interfere with your weight loss goals.

Some of the best things you can do to keep your lymphatic system healthy are eat a clean diet, stay hydrated, incorporate lemon water into your routine, exercise regularly, take beneficial herbs and supplements, and get massages. Dry skin brushing and rebounding are especially beneficial to the lymphatic system. Make sure to check back next week for an in-depth description of these two therapies, as well as supplements that are good for the lymphatic system.