And despite my best efforts to gargle, WaterPik, cough, eat dry bread and poke at my neck in the tonsil area, that almond was stubborn…so I had to get some “medical assistance.” (I won’t get graphic.)
But the thing that floored me was the conversation with the intake nurse that I had beforehand.
She said that she always had trouble with food getting stuck in her tonsils, so she just had them removed since they “don’t serve any purpose anyway.”
Since when is a part of your body’s lymphatic system a useless mistake of Nature?
Here’s why I had to resist the temptation to tell her to go back to school.
Your body’s garbage truck
Your lymphatic system is like the garbage truck that comes through your neighborhood each week.
This garbage truck is made up of numerous nodes and glands, the thymus gland, the thoracic duct, spleen, bone marrow, tonsils and MILES of lymphatic vessels.
You actually have three times more lymph fluid flowing through you than blood—that should tell you something.
Its job is to filter and purify your bloodstream, cleanse wastes from your tissues, organs, and cells, and search out and destroy any harmful pathogens that enter your body.
Then the garbage truck takes the wastes and brings them to one of your 4 "dumping grounds"--the bowels, bladder, lungs, and skin--for elimination from your body.
The lymphatic system has been called the heart of the immune system because of its vital role in keeping your body clean and destroying dangerous organisms.
The tonsils—a first line of defense
The largest nodes in your lymphatic system are the tonsils--and there are actually more than two.
The most common tonsils are the ones everyone knows about in the throat (that recently housed my almond), but there are also some in the space above the throat and behind the nose (called the adenoids), some surrounding the tubes in each ear, and one in your larynx. There's also tonsil tissue at the base of your tongue.
All of the tonsils are connected by lymphatic vessels and make up a protective ring that defends your oral and nasal areas from bacteria and viruses.
Does that sound like a useless mistake to you?
Now sometimes your lymph system gets overloaded and when it can't keep up with its job, the tonsils can fill up with fluid, swell and hurt.
Otherwise known as tonsillitis.
This is a BIG warning sign that something is seriously wrong with the level of waste in your body.
It doesn’t stop there
In addition to tonsillitis, if your lymphatic system is challenged, you are susceptible to a number of health problems including:
- Lacking nutrients/deficiency diseases
- Low energy
- Repeated viruses or infections
- Fluid swelling in your limbs or other areas of the body (edema)
Take care of YOUR tonsils—and your entire lymphatic system!
Here are ways to make sure your entire lymphatic system is working in tip-top shape to cleanse and protect you:
Get regular exercise
Unlike your circulatory system which has your heart to pump blood through your body, your lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump to move lymph around.
So YOU have to be the pump—by getting regular exercise!
No more excuses. Pick an activity, get your doc’s OK and GET MOVING.
Water is essential for having proper blood levels and to flush wastes out of your cells. Eight 8-oz. glasses a day should be your minimum.
A great way to help your lymphatic system’s cleaning efforts is to create less garbage, to begin with!
That means avoiding processed and fast foods and instead having a diet of real foods. Excellent choices for lymphatic health are leafy greens, citrus fruits and healthy fats (especially nuts, seeds and avocado).
Give those immune cells a good home
Although your lymphatic system’s bone marrow and spleen produce most of your immune cells, the majority of those cells (about 70 percent) take up residence in your gut.
So it’s crucial to make sure that you provide a healthy intestinal environment to house these life-saving protectors—and the key to that is a real foods diet and probiotic supplementation.
Practice deep breathing
Proper movement of air through your lungs also helps pump fluid through the lymphatic system:
1- Get in a sitting or lying position and put your hands on your chest and stomach.
2- Focus on breathing from your abdomen instead of your chest.
3- Breathe in through your nose, hold the breath for a few seconds and then exhale through your mouth.
4- Try to do four 8-breath cycles one to three times every day.
Consider possible iodine deficiency
Most people associate iodine deficiency with thyroid goiter, but it can also cause congestion of the lymphatic system.
If you suspect you may be deficient, ask your doctor to do a test.
And if you want some (non-salt) dietary sources of iodine, fish and shellfish are your best bets.
Congratulations! You are now an expert in your lymphatic system and hopefully, realize that NO part of it is useless.
Instead, it’s keeping you healthy and, well, alive.