Category Archives: immune system

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Are There Dangerous Toxins in Your Medicine Cabinet?

medications-cure-tablets-pharmacy-56612-largeThis post is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family

Acetominophen: aka Tylenol, Little Fevers Pain Reliever, or non-aspirin pain reliever/fever reducer, or other brand names or generic.

It’s a common item in medicine cabinets and purses of lots and lots of moms. We take it ourselves for headaches and cramps. We give it to our kids for fevers. The pediatricians hand out free samples every time we visit their offices.

It is often the drug of choice all around the country.

But are we too trusting when we use it?

It turns out that maybe we do need to step back and ask a few questions before deciding to keep it in our medicine chests and here’s why:

Using acetaminophen for fever in the first year of life is associated with an increase in the incidence of asthma and other allergic symptoms later in childhood.

This is because acetaminophen severely depletes antioxidants such as glutathione in the liver and other body tissues. Glutathione is used for growth, tissue repair and immune system building.

Asthma is one of many diseases influenced greatly by antioxidants. Acetaminophen is definitely not something to use if you already have asthma.

A new study just released showed acetaminophen is definitely linked with behavior issues. Women who took acetominophin during pregnancy were 29-46% more likely to have children with a wide range of behavior problems by age 7 than moms who did not take it.

Dr. Mercola calls acetaminophen one of the most dangerous medicines on the market. Even when taken at the recommended dosage for just a few weeks it can be toxic to your liver. In fact, acetaminophen is responsible for nearly half of all cases of acute liver failure each year.

What can we do to protect ourselves and our families?

It’s super important to become knowledgeable and informed about the medications we use. The Medicine Chest Renovation e-book from Vintage Remedies is a quick-start guide to help you decide what to keep and what to toss out.

Taking courses or reading books on safe alternatives to OTC drugs is a great family project. Older children and teens can learn right alongside mom about which herbs to use for which conditions, and how to make tinctures and salves and syrups at home to stock your own medicine cabinet.

Try this recipe for elderberry syrup to keep on hand for cold and flu season.

Elderberry syrup is an effective cold and flu fighter. Elderberries and elder flowers are safe for all ages with no known contraindications. You can make it yourself with this recipe reprinted from The Handbook of Vintage Remedies. At that book link there is also an alternative recipe that adds astragalus, echinacea and wild cherry to the elderberries.

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Elderberry Syrup

100 g dried elderberries
1 quart cold distilled water
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 cup local honey

Combine berries and water in a large (cold) saucepot. If time permits, allow the berries to soak until they are soft, about 30 – 60 minutes. Place over medium heat and gradually bring to a boil. Once a rolling boil has been reached, stir frequently and continue to boil until the liquid has been reduced by half – roughly 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Strain the concentrated extract and measure the liquid. It should be roughly 2 cups. Combine with the cup and a half of honey, brown rice syrup, glycerin or simple sugar solution. (Or a blend of two or more sweeteners as I did in the ingredient list above.) Bring back to a boil and continue to boil for 10 minutes until the mixture is thoroughly combined and the syrup reaches your preferred consistency. Allow to cool slightly and pour into prepared bottles. Store in the refrigerator.

What is your favorite natural remedy? Share it with us here in the comments!

The Historical Uses of Mercury & Its Use in Dentistry Today

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(This post is found in its entirety on the Traditional Cooking School site where I also write monthly articles.)

“Will you do a post about amalgam fillings and curing tooth decay? What do you think about biological dentistry? How can I find a dentist with a holistic practice?” asks Michelle A.

In January of 2016, Michelle asked us these questions.

(By the way, we loving getting questions from our readers — they make us think!)

This is one of the most difficult topics I’ve ever written about, and I’ve done some doozies in the past!

To begin, Michelle, let’s talk about the historical uses of mercury and what various countries are doing today, as well as the FDA’s confusing response to mounting evidence against the safety of mercury in dental fillings.

These topics will pose a few more questions, which I will address in future posts. (read more…)

 

Explaining Antibiotic Resistance + Natural Alternatives That Work!

This is my latest article for Traditional Cooking School. Please stop by there and leave a comment or question!

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In 1942, Anne Miller was dying of a streptococcal infection until, literally overnight, a single injection of an experimental drug saved her life.

The medical community predicted the elimination of all infectious diseases in the near future.

What was her miracle drug?

The first true antibiotic: penicillin.

Explaining Antibiotic Resistance

At that time, the entire world’s supply of antibiotics amounted to only 64 pounds. Today, over 60 million pounds of antibiotics are used in the United States each year. (Herbal Antibiotics, page 7.)

Additionally, much of the population now uses antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, and cleaners daily. And yet, this tidal wave of antibiotic use — and misuse — has not eliminated infectious disease, but rather kindled a new war against antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

The result?  Keep reading here…

8 Things You Can Do to Boost Your Immune System

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I covered two super ways to build and strengthen your immune system in this post and this one. Here are eight more ways to give your immune system what it needs to keep you well. All of these ten items are from Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and her ground-breaking book Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, Schizophrenia. Dr. Campbell-McBride is a pioneer in the field of gut, brain and immune system health.

1. Onions and garlic

Onions, garlic and other closely related foods like leeks, shallots and scallions, contain amazing nutrients that have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. They are also full of polyphenols, special nutritional compounds found in fruits and vegetables in addition to the more well-known vitamins and minerals. Garlic, according to The Herbal Home Remedy Book, garlic is one of nature’s best antibiotic and antiviral agents. Jo Robinson, author of Eating on the Wild Side, gives this important tip to maximize the nutrition we get from garlic: “ If you just chop, dice, slice or press that garlic, set it aside for 10 minutes before you expose it to heat. That garlic is producing all that allicin. When that reaction is complete, you can do whatever you want to it at that point. You can broil it, you can fry it and you get all of the allicin. It’s just press, rest for 10 minutes.”

2. Freshly Juiced Vegetables and Fruits

No juice boxes or bottles here, just the pure juice from fresh vegetables and fruits consumed as soon as they are extracted. Fresh juice contains all of the valuable enzymes and micronutrients that canning and pasteurizing destroy. Juicing makes the nutrition easier to digest, especially for anyone already suffering from digestive issues. It’s also easier to get a wider variety of vegetables in your diet when you combine less favorites ones with others that you really like. If you don’t have a juicer at home you can usually find fresh juice at many health food stores. Try mixing bitter greens, beets and celery with the sweeter flavors of apple or carrot and then add some spice with ginger, cilantro, lemon or lime. Boost the nutrient absorption even more by stirring in a little raw cream or coconut milk.

3.  Regular Consumption of Greens

Parsley, dill, cilantro, green onions, dandelion, kale, and many other strong tasting, dark green vegetables support the healthy functioning of our immune system organs. Healthy people are efficient at detoxing. It happens every night while we sleep. Our liver and pancreas kick into detox mode, and by the time we wake up these organs have filtered out all the bad stuff and sent it on its way out. Leafy greens, especially those bitter greens listed here, offer just the right ingredients to give the liver and pancreas a boost so they can do their job even better.  Raw, cooked or juiced – be sure to include a little butter, bacon fat or other fat to help absorb the vitamins.

4. Fermented Foods and Probiotic Supplements

Maintaining a healthy gut flora is super important for good digestion, clarity of mental function, and supporting the immune system. The majority of our immune system resides in our gut, so having healthy levels of beneficial bacteria can give us more energy and help us to manage stress appropriately. Fermented foods have been an important part of every culture all throughout history. Fermentation preserves food while at the same time making it more nutritious. Add sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, kvass, kefir, kombucha, and lacto-fermented pickles and vegetables to your daily diet. When you can’t get fermented foods probiotic supplements can step in and help. There are also certain strains of probiotics that can help target certain conditions and provide therapy to aid specific concerns.

5. Contact with Animals

Have your kids been begging you for a pet? It’s probably a good thing. Several studies link increased immune system strength to growing up with pets in the home. Having dogs, cats or even a horse can help us in many ways including lowered blood pressure, stress relief, combating depression and even aiding Alzheimer’s patients.

6. Swimming in Unpolluted Natural Lakes, Rivers and the Ocean

When you need to disinfect germs in your bathroom toilet or dirty laundry you often reach for bleach. The active ingredient chlorine is designed to kill germs, but it doesn’t distinguish between infectious germs and beneficial bacteria. So why do we want to spend hours swimming in a big chlorinated swimming pool? Chlorinated swimming pools have a strong effect on asthma and respiratory allergies. In fact, chlorinated pools have a five times stronger effect than secondhand cigarette smoke. Contrastingly, swimming in the ocean is restorative and healing helping you to detoxify naturally and take stress away from your immune system. Similar benefits are found to a lesser extent with swimming in natural, unpolluted lakes and streams. If you have a backyard swimming pool consider switching your chlorine filter for one using ozone or ultraviolet light, or copper or zinc filters. There are also safer “shock” treatments using baking soda rather than chlorine.

7. Physical Activity in the Fresh Air

Exercise can create at least an additional 50% boost in your immune system’s chance of preventing cancer, and can cause improved function in your entire metabolism.  Doing this exercise outdoors gives you the added benefit of breathing in clean air and taking a break from indoor pollutants lurking in carpets, furniture, cleaners and dirty ventilation systems.

8. Exposure to Sunlight and Sensible Sunbathing

Our greatest source of vitamin D lies in our body’s ability to create Vitamin D in our skin using cholesterol during exposure to the sun.  Let me repeat this – vitamin D is made from cholesterol in our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight. With all of our modern cholesterol fears and manic sunscreen use is it any wonder we have a rise in vitamin D deficiency and all of the vitamin D-related health conditions including heart disease, mental illness, auto-immune disease, osteoarthritis, cancer and high blood pressure?!  According to Dr. Campbell-McBride “The skin cancer, blamed on sunshine, is not caused by the sun…it is a fact that skin cancer (just like any other cancer) is caused by our modern processed foods and our modern toxic lifestyles. Trans fats from vegetable oils and margarine and other toxins stored in the skin are a particular culprit.”  Being outdoors year round is important for all living creatures, human and animal. So much has been written about the importance of vitamin D. Here is a great place to read more.

How many of these tips do you already practice? Which are your favorite? Which are you going to try to incorporate next? Let us know in the comments or visit our Facebook page and share with us there.

This blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting us with your purchases!

This article was shared on Wellness Wednesday!

 

Number Two Immune Boosting Food – Wellness Wednesday

This blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family.

It’s Wellness Wednesday – I’m sharing about another great food for boosting your entire immune system, then at the end there is a link for you to share your own wellness-related blog. Don’t forget to check out the other fine folks who’ve linked up here too!

Immune Boosters

Recently I gave you the Number One immune boosting food – you can read about it here. Today I’m revealing the food in the Number Two slot. This one also plays a powerful role in rebuilding and maintaining a healthy immune system. If you were surprised by #1 then this one may also surprise you. This list is from Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, M.D., is a neurologist, and creator of the GAPS diet, a successful nutritional protocol used in healing both physical and neurological disorders such as autism, auto-immune diseases and heart disease.

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Immunity Booster #2: Cold pressed oils such as olive oil, fish oils, nut and seed oils

While fresh animal fats and cholesterol-rich foods are stellar when it comes to building strong cells and creating important stress-coping hormones, there are many other healthy fats that we should incorporate into our daily diet.

We’re all familiar with extra virgin olive oil, and many of you are also aware of the benefits of fish oils (especially cod liver oil). What you may not have heard about are which of the nut and seed oils truly are healthy, and which ones are toxic.

Just as with animal fats, the fats from plants are also mixtures of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – there is no naturally occurring fat that is only one type.Coconut, palm kernel, and cocoa butter are all rich sources of plant-based saturated fats. Olive, avocado, almond, pecan, cashew and peanut all provide generous amounts of monounsaturated fats. Cold water fish oils like cod and salmon; along with flaxseed,  non-GMO soy, canola, corn and safflower are primarily polyunsaturated.

Just as with animal fats, the sources of plant fats are extremely important. Many seed oils come from genetically modified plants and carry with them the pesticide and herbicide residues as well as other questionable factors.  Nearly all soy, corn and canola in the U.S. is GMO.

Unlike animal fats, however, there are many methods of extracting fats and oils from plants. The extraction method chosen is extremely important – in fact, even if your plant source is 100% biodynamically-beyond-organic, but you extract the oil incorrectly you will have ruined it, made it toxic.  Care must be taken when extracting plant oils. If powerful chemical solvents are used to extract the oils then you can be sure the oils will retain the toxins from these chemicals. When high heat methods are used for extraction, especially on the fragile polyunsaturated oils, these oils are damaged and turn rancid.  This is why the #2 Immune Booster must come from cold pressed oils.

Any oil that is primarily polyunsaturated should be kept chilled and stored in a dark container to protect the fragile nature of this type of oil. If you find a polyunsaturated oil in a clear container sitting out on a grocery shelf just leave it there! It is already rancid and has no place in your body. It’s not an immunity booster – it’s just a big bust!

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So to summarize: Choose your plant-based oils from organic, cold-pressed sources. Read the labels for any expiration date. Keep polyunsaturated oils refrigerated and use them up before they expire. Never heat polyunsaturated oils, keep them for salad dressings or adding to smoothies. Coconut oil and olive oil can be kept at room temperature, but it is still important to keep olive oil in dark containers as the enzymes are light sensitive. Saturated and monounsaturated plant oils can be used for cooking, but save the higher heat applications for the mostly saturated ones.

Now it’s your turn! Share with us on Wellness Wednesday – here’s all the info…


The Number One Immune Booster – Wellness Wednesday

WW titleWelcome to Wellness Wednesday! Each week I will share an article or recipe as part of the Wellness Wednesday blog hop link-up, and at the end is a place for you to share with us too! Co-hosts for this blog hop include Never Lacking Zeal, Frugal G33k, The Wise Wife and Hudman Honey Farm.  So let’s go!

Immune Boosters

More and more people are hearing about the GAPS diet. GAPS (an acronym for Gut and Psychology Syndrome) is based on Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s ground-breaking book Gut And Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, Schizophrenia.

Along with priceless information about healing the digestive tract and restoring the gut microbiome she includes her Top Ten list of ways to boost your immune system.

Big Surprise!

Newcomers to the world of real, traditional food will probably be dumbfounded to read that the number one way to support a healthy immune system is with animal fat and cholesterol-rich foods. For over thirty years Americans have been brainwashed to believe fat is bad, fat makes you fat, fat clogs arteries, fat causes heart attacks. Except that it’s all been a big fat lie.

As you begin to absorb the information from Dr. Natasha’s book it begins to make sense how Americans have been in a downward health spiral for the last several decades. We’ve been mistakenly advised to eliminate the very foods that can keep us healthy. Because of this we have put a very heavy burden on our bodies: a burden to create new cells, regulate their growth, create hormones, create barriers to toxins that want to get in, fuel an immune system that needs to patrol for infections and disease - all of this without the proper tools, without the proper building materials. It’s like telling a brick layer to build a wall without using any bricks. You could build a wall with just mortar, but it will not be structurally sound and certainly won’t last as long as a wall built with mortar AND bricks.

#1. Fresh animal fats (from meats and dairy) and cholesterol-rich foods (particularly raw egg yolk)

Animal fats include tallow (beef or lamb fat), lard (pork fat), chicken or goose fat (sometimes called schmaltz), and duck fat; butter, cream and cheese from cows, goats and other dairy animals. Wild caught cold water fish such as salmon and cod also possess healthy fats such as cod liver oil, fish oil and roe.

Animal fats are not made up only of those wrongly demonized saturated fats, but, like all naturally occurring fats, each is a mixture of different percentages of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. Goose, duck & chicken fat, and lard have generous amounts of monounsaturated fats like those found in olives and avocados.

The health food world has discovered the many useful properties of coconut oil, a saturated fat, and yet they are unwilling to embrace beef or lamb tallow, lard or duck fat because they include saturated fat. Healthfully sourced animal fat is something to be desired in a healthy diet.

Healthy animals make healthy fat.

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Animals living outdoors in ways appropriate for their species, eating the food God created for them to eat, will yield beautiful, clean, healthy fat rich in vitamins and fat soluble activators.

Unhealthy sources of fat include fat from any animal living in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO) fed a steady diet of GMO grains, antibiotics and other inappropriate substances.

Healthy saturated fats provide structural integrity to our cells. Our immune system cells are not exception – all cells need saturated fats. Cholesterol, found in all animal fats, is the key component in several important body functions which include helping our skin manufacture vitamin D from sunshine exposure, and being used by the adrenals to make important hormones, including sex hormones and anti-inflammatory hormones. When we don’t eat cholesterol-rich foods our body must use up precious energy to manufacture it out of the carbohydrates in our diet, and then turn around and use the cholesterol to manufacture everything else. When our adrenal glands are already fatigued due to illness or stress this unnecessary step wears them out even more making us more prone to infections of all kinds.

Animal fats provide complete, fully formed and easily absorbable versions of the key fat soluble vitamins A, E, D and K. Pasture raised eggs, whole clean raw milk and cream, butter, cheese, grassfed beef liver and chicken liver, wild caught cold water fish and fish eggs are all great choices for immune-boosting fat soluble vitamins.

Even though labels may say carrots contain vitamin A, the truth is plant sources of these vitamins are not fully formed and require our bodies to use up energy, enzymes and and other reserves to complete the transformation into usable forms. Again, when our bodies are stressed this conversion is difficult and may not even happen at all. This is especially true for people with digestive disorders. This means no matter how many carrots you eat you just aren’t getting vitamin A – you need to eat foods with fully formed vitamin A to get what you need!

eggs1This blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family with your purchases.

Now it’s your turn. Share your number one wellness tip with us on the Wellness Wednesday link up!

 


Foods For Immunity

Guest blog post for Raisin’ Acres Farm. Amy shares her journey to finding healing foods for her family.

A little more than ten years ago my family began making major dietary changes that have resulted in much better health for all of us. Up to that time my children were prescribed antibiotics several times every year for ear infections and upper respiratory infections, I had my share of bad colds that seemed to last forever, and one of my children had chronic constipation that disrupted our family life for three years. Today, more than a decade and two children later, we are free from medications and sicknesses are no longer the rule. My youngest, born about 7 years after our diet changes, has never had medication of any kind, nor has she ever been to the doctor for a sick visit.  read more….

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Are We Genetically Modifying Ourselves?

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I remember way back in elementary school science class when the teacher handed out magnifying glasses and told us to look at the ends of our fingers to study our fingerprints. I remember the teacher had us draw the patterns we saw whether straight lines or wavy, circles or whorls. Then we took our magnifying glasses and looked at our neighbor’s fingers, and we looked at their pictures – I was so surprised to see that everyone was different.

As adults we understand no two people have the same fingerprints, it’s one of the many characteristics that makes us each unique. But now we have learned there is something else remarkable, something else about humans that is also unique to each individual – our microbiome.

The Microbiome

 

Did you know that within the digestive tract of each human being there is a little ecological community? Within each adult are three to four pounds of a highly organized micro-world of bacteria, yeasts and viruses that are so important and so vital to our health and well-being that if they were sterilized away we would probably die.  This micro-world is populated by three categories of creatures. The Essential or beneficial flora, the Opportunistic flora, and the Transitional flora. The Transitional flora come into our bodies every day riding on our food, in our beverages or on our hands and fingers, and usually they go right on through to exit without any trouble. The Essential/beneficial flora are the ones that live permanently within us.  We are born into this world as a blank slate and within the first 20 days of life we receive our first and most important colony of Essentials coming initially from the birth process and from breastfeeding. As we grow into adulthood this colony grows and changes depending on what happens to us, how we eat, stress, the places we live, go to school, work, and play. The third category, the Opportunistic flora – about 500 different species strong – just hang out waiting for an opportunity to stage a coup; they want to take over, but a healthy population of the Essentials keeps them under control…unless something happens.

What does a healthy microbiome do?

When we have a healthy microbiome we are naturally protected from all kinds of threats from the outside world. The healthy microbiome, like a burly offensive guard, can physically block invaders such as undigested food or toxins or even parasites from getting through to the rest of the body. The healthy microbiome, like a living pharmacy, can also make their own antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals and other specialized chemicals to aide the immune system. It can also neutralize toxins, chelate heavy metals and inactivate carcinogens. A healthy microbiome can even protect us from cancer.

What about an unhealthy microbiome?

If the Essentials grow weak or get damaged, the Opportunistic flora seizes the chance to take over. Candida, c. diff, salmonella and e. coli are all Opportunistic flora able to severely damage our bodies and even kill us when left uncontrolled. If we accidentally ingest something toxic the weak Essentials can’t do their job neutralizing it and we get poisoned. And then, if undigested food gets past and into the body we develop allergies and inflammation leading to serious disease. Without a healthy balanced and flourishing community of Essential flora the whole structure of our gut changes and we get sicker and sicker.

Gene Transfer and GMOs

Genes in our DNA are like computer programs for our cells, telling them what pattern to follow in order to replicate or make repairs.   In the 1950s scientists discovered that single-cell organisms like bacteria were able to share their genetic information (DNA) to other bacteria even when they weren’t related. This is called gene transfer.  Sharing genes with each other is how bacteria can quickly become resistant to anti-biotics. Scientists are now discovering that gene transfer can occur with organisms more complex than single-cell bacteria.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are organisms that have artificially shared their genes via a laboratory process of Genetic Engineering. Read more about GMOs here. But since we know about gene transfer occurring in nature, we need to question the wisdom of Genetic Engineering. Tinkering with the genes of a corn plant doesn’t stop with the corn, it is altering a whole lot more in ways that biotech companies didn’t forsee.

A 2004 study showed that when humans ate genetically modified (GMO) foods the artificially created genes transferred into the Essential/beneficial bacteria of the gut and altered the character of the flora so that it couldn’t function normally.

GMOs and Superweeds

In a similar fashion we are now seeing gene transfer from genetically engineered crops like corn, soy, cotton and canola infecting the native plants surrounding the crop fields giving rise to superweeds that are highly resistant to chemical herbicides. Whether or not the biotech companies took these possibilities into consideration when they chose to release their creations into nature, we are now experiencing the consequences of their actions. The artificially engineered genes are now spreading among us and altering us on an intimate level as well as altering our environment.

How to Protect Your Microbiome

  • Avoiding GMO foods is one way to protect your microbiome from GMO gene transfer. You can learn more at the Institute for Responsible Technology’s site and get their shopping
    GMO verification

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    guide.

  • Eat plenty of fermented foods and beverages, especially if you have to take antibiotics. For some delicious fermented food recipes check here or here, or follow our Pinterest board on ferments.
  • Use filters for your water that remove chlorine.
  • Reduce your stress
  • Reduce your intake of sugar.

Share this article on Twitter or Facebook or Pin it for later using the links above. Leave us a comment here, we love to hear from our readers!

This blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized.

 

3 Easy Ways to Support Your Lymph System

3 easy ways to support lymph titleWe all want strong immune systems. Most people have heard about taking vitamin C, or eating garlic, and if you’re up on your GAPS protocol knowledge you know about getting plenty of sunshine, eating fermented foods, and plenty of healthy fats. One often overlooked area of the immune system is the lymph system.

The lymph system is made up of special vessels, nodes and spaces all over your entire body from head to toe. It is filled with a special fluid, called lymph, that starts out as part of your blood, but slowly leaks out of the blood and takes with it anything dangerous or toxic. The lymph fluid holds onto these toxins until they can filter them through the nearest lymph node. The nodes isolate and neutralize the toxins by making special white blood cells. The neutralized toxin is released back into the lymph fluid and excreted with the rest of the body’s waste.  Eventually the lymph fluid travels all around the body and ends up in a special area right behind the heart. It enters the heart through the thoracic duct and the fluid is returned to the circulation system where the whole cycle starts all over again.  Your tonsils, bone marrow, thymus gland and spleen are also a part of the lymphatic system.

When you catch a cold or a sore throat one of the first things you notice, maybe even before you realize you are sick, is swollen lymph nodes. This is because your lymph system is already hard at work trying to fight off disease. It’s important to take care of your lymph system since it is one of our first lines of defense.

We all know our blood circulates on its own, quite rapidly, throughout the body making the trip from head to toe about once every minute or so. The fluid in the lymph system moves much more slowly. It makes the blood look like a Class V rapids in comparison! No, the lymph system is more like the lazy river – except that’s not exactly accurate since rivers flow on their own. The lymph system requires help to flow. You don’t want stagnant lymph, you want it to flow and circulate and clear away the toxins as efficiently as possible. So here are three things you can do every day to move your lymph along.

1. Exercise.  Our lymphatic systems depend on the contraction of our muscles to move along and circulate. Sitting for too long causes the lymph fluid to stagnate. Sometimes this fluid builds up and causes swelling – sometimes in your ankles and lower legs – which is uncomfortable and not very safe either.  Daily exercise helps activate the lymph circulation. Gentle movement like walking or tai chi can be as effective as more strenuous exercise when it comes to moving lymph.

dry brush

dry brush with detachable handle

2. Dry Brushing. Lymph only flows in one direction – toward the heart. So dry brushing done correctly is a great way to move that fluid along where it needs to go. Dry brushing also helps shed dead skin cells, a beauty bonus. To get started purchase a natural bristle brush with a long handle like this one. Before your daily bath or shower is a good time to do it. Start with the bottoms of your feet and cover your entire foot with firm, longish strokes moving evenly up from the foot to lower leg to thigh and hips. Do the same thing with hands moving up toward shoulders, and torso moving from hips and buttocks up toward the heart. Do both feet/legs and both hands/arms. Every stroke should move toward your heart. You can end with reaching the brush to mid back and stroking up over shoulders toward the heart. Then shower or bathe as usual. Dry brushing is most effective when done daily for at least three months.

lemons and oranges

drink the juice from half a lemon

3. Lemon water. The first thing you drink every morning should be something that benefits your health. So put the coffee or sodas, or even milk or juice, on hold while you have a glass of lemon water. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a 16oz mug and fill it with warm water. Drink the warm lemon water first thing to give your lymph system a boost as it dumps out all of the toxins it has accumulated from the day before and during the night.

Try these three ideas to nurture your lymph system now. This will help you get ready for all those back-to-school germs by helping to build and boost your immune system.  Share this post with your friends by using the Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook links at the top of the page. We’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment!

This blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Read our full disclosure here. This post was shared with Wellness Wednesdays.