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12 Foods for Improved Lymphatic Drainage

22nd October 2014


The lymphatic system is involved not only in removing the excess fluids from the body, but also in supporting the elimination of toxins. A sluggish lymph circulation can lead to a series of unpleasant health issues, from cellulite and sinus infections to fatigue, digestive problems and muscle swelling and cramps.

Although regular exercise remains the preferred treatment for a lazy lymphatic system, diet also plays an important role, as certain foods can cause the lymph to become stagnant and can increase the risk of infections by favoring the accumulation of toxins inside the body. The list of foods to avoid includes all products that are rich in sugar and salt, those prepared with artificial sweeteners, but also refined grains, meat, foods with preservatives and baked goods and cookies.

Some of these aren’t necessarily unhealthy, but they’re either hard to digest or likely to alter blood sugar levels and to favor the growth of bacteria and unfriendly microorganisms inside the digestive tract. On the other hand, foods that are rich in fibers and those with a mild diuretic effect are considered beneficial for people who struggle with excess fluid retention and poor lymphatic drainage.

assorted berries

Foods that support the lymphatic system


1. Brown rice

Brown rice is a good source of vitamin B6, which is thought to be effective in eliminating the excess water from the tissues and in relieving the swelling of the legs. If your feet get swollen and painful by the end of the day and you often wake up with puffy eyes, try replacing white rice and pasta with brown rice.

2. Apricots

One of the reasons apricots are good for stimulating the lymphatic drainage is that they contain potassium, mineral which is thought to support the circulation of lymph and to maintain the internal equilibrium when there’s too much sodium in the body. If you tend to eat lots of salty foods, reduce the intake and try to add more fruits and veggies that are rich in potassium, like bananas, dates, raisins, spinach and Lima beans.

3. CranberriesCranberries

Cranberries work as natural diuretics and have a low sugar content, so they’re among the best fruits for people with a lazy lymphatic system. They contain antioxidants and help in the removal of toxins from the body, supporting the functioning of kidneys and bowel movements. Moreover, cranberry juice is known to encourage the breakdown of fats and to help the body eliminate the fatty particles.

4. Low-fat dairy products

These are a good source of calcium and vitamin B5, both minerals being known to support the lymph flow and to prevent water retention. Roquefort and blue cheese, feta and Camembert are all tasty and healthy choices, so don’t be afraid to add these to your menu more often.

5. Leafy green veggiesbroccoli

Vegetables in this group are rich in chlorophyll, ingredient that has strong cleansing properties and is also called “the green blood”. Spinach, kale, turnip greens, broccoli, mustard greens and dandelion leaves are excellent for stimulating the lymph and blood circulation and speeding up the removal of excess water.

6. Unsalted nuts

Nuts provide essential fatty acids, which are needed for the absorption of fat-soluble minerals and vitamins, as well as for the removal of food debris from the body. Try adding more nuts to your menu for stimulating the lymphatic drainage, and don’t be afraid to increase the intake of seeds, as they’re also beneficial. Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, and even peanuts as long as they’re not salted are great for this purpose.

7. Avocado

Another good source of fatty acids is avocado, which tastes great in breakfast sandwiches, smoothies, raw salads and even in grain-free, nut-rich pancakes. Replace salted butter with mashed avocado, and try eating more of this fruit instead of salty meat in the morning.

8. Garlic

One of the most powerful natural antioxidants, garlic fights against bacteria and prevents infections and inflammations. It’s great for improving circulation and the removal of toxins from the body, and has cleansing properties. Adding garlic to your menu more often will result in a stronger immune system and a better lymphatic drainage.

9. Oranges and lemons


Citrus fruits help in improving the flow of lymph and hydrate the body. They’re rich in enzymes and antioxidants that contribute to a stronger immune system, and help in cleansing the body fluids from toxins.

Eat more fresh oranges, drink lemon water and add kiwi, nectarines and pomelo to your menu more often if you suffer from poor lymphatic drainage. The astringent properties of citrus fruits make them effective in removing blockages and improving the functioning of the lymph vessels.

1o. Ginger

Besides stimulating circulation, ginger also supports the digestive function, and helps in preventing constipation and the accumulation of food debris inside the body.

11. Sea vegetables

Spirulina and kombu are two winning choices for people who struggle with fluid buildup, as they help in detoxifying the body, eliminating the excess water and improving the lymph flow.

12. Echinacea and goldenseal

These two herbs have adaptogenic properties and help in relieving congestion, alleviating inflammation and clearing the lymph nodes and vessels. They’re useful for strengthening the immune function and the lymphatic system at the same time.

Don’t forget to hydrate yourself properly, as not drinking enough water can cause the body to retain more fluid as well.

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