Are Certain Foods Good for Lymphatic Drainage?

grilled salmon fillet on wooden board
Support lymph health by eating nutrient-rich foods such as salmon and peppers. (Image: Szakaly/iStock/Getty Images)

Your lymph system, which is made up of vessels, nodes and organs, is responsible for collecting and filtering fluid from your blood that contains a number of substances, including bacteria, to help maintain fluid balance and protect you from infection. While there's no special diet for keeping your lymph system draining properly, including nutrient-rich foods that keep the immune-promoting part of your lymph system in good shape may help your body fight off infection, which might prevent swollen lymph glands that may block drainage. Consult your doctor to discuss diet and lymph health.

About Lymph Cleansing

Your lymph system plays an important role in helping rid your body of harmful substances that may make you sick. A search of the Internet may lead you to believe that you need to detox your lymph system in order to help make sure it works properly. However, there's no evidence that any food, juice, tea or supplement can help improve your body's natural ability to cleanse itself, according to KidsHealth.

Healthy Proteins

Your lymph system produces lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell that produces special proteins called antibodies that help your body fight off germs. Making sure you get an adequate intake of protein is essential in order for your body to produce these antibodies to fight off germs that may lead to an infection that impairs lymph drainage. For reference, women need 46 grams of protein a day, and men 56 grams. Healthy proteins include poultry, seafood, lean meat, beans, peas, soy foods and eggs.

Vitamin C-Rich Fruits and Veggies

You also need vitamin C for the production of the antibodies. Men need 90 milligrams of vitamin C a day, and women need 75 milligrams to 120 milligrams a day, with higher amounts required during lactation. Including vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet, such as green and red peppers, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, oranges, strawberries, grapefruit and kiwifruit, can help you meet your vitamin C needs to help keep your lymph system healthy and draining properly.

Foods Rich in Zinc

An adequate intake of zinc is essential for the production and activation of lymphocytes. In fact, low levels of zinc are often associated with an increased risk of infection, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, which might lead to lymph gland swelling. To meet the recommended 11 milligrams a day for men and 8 milligrams a day for women, include foods such as oysters, chuck roast, fortified breakfast cereal, pork loin, yogurt, cashews, dark meat chicken and chickpeas in your diet.

A Banana a Day

Bananas are a good source of vitamin B-6. Not getting enough of this essential vitamin in your diet may prevent the production of lymphocytes that help your lymph system fight off infection that may impair proper drainage, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. The recommended dietary allowances are 1.7 milligrams a day for men and 1.3 milligrams to 2 milligrams a day for women, with the higher needs for lactating women. You can also get more vitamin B-6 in your diet by eating salmon, potatoes, turkey, avocados or hazelnuts.

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