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The Healing Diet is a healthy lifestyle diet, not a risky weight-loss plan. The diets, recipes, menus, and exercise regimens included here are easy-to-use tools for people dedicated to improving their lymphatic health and general well-being. This simple dietary program will lower your homocysteine, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels and you'll begin to feet healthier and more energetic almost immediately. Dr. Lemole is convinced that our lymphatic system is our river of fife. By keeping it pure, clear, and free-flowing, we can extend the length of our lives as well as enhance its quality.
Think of a forest pool. You have carefully built it into the mountainside just below your house. Fresh water from the top of the mountain pours into it whenever it rains or when the snow melts. At the bottom of the pool is a drain that, when opened, allows the water to flow out and continue on its way down the hill to the river at the bottom.
Perfect! Perhaps you even have such a pool. But even if you don't, surely you have a sink in your kitchen, which fills when you turn on the tap and close the drain, and empties when you open the drain and turn off the tap.
When as much water is coming in as can be emptied by the drain, everything flows smoothly. The pool remains fresh -- ideal for swimming.
But what if the water carries with it silt and leaves and other refuse from the mountain. Sometimes the drain will get clogged, and the water will be unable to flow out. It will he inertly in the pool. Then when new water comes, the pool will overflow, leaving a residue of silt and leaves -- and bacteria as well. The pool win become fetid, unsafe for swimming.
The lymphatic system operates in much the same way. But when it backs up, the consequences to your health are far more serious: Heart disease. Arthritis. Cancer.
The lymphatic "pipes" are similar to those in the cardiovascular system (the bloodstream) in being vessels that circulate the body's fluids. The lymphatic system serves as the conduit through which the lymphatic fluid (termed interstitial fluid) flows from around the cells back into the blood system. Between the finest blood vessel, the capillary, and the cell itself is located a sea of fluid, the lymph.Across that sea oxygen and sugar are transported to nourish the cell, and the cell's wastes-carbon dioxide, lactic acid, and metabolites -- are carried back to the bloodstream.
Two kinds of pressure are involved: hydrostatic pressure (blood pressure), which tends to force fluid out of the vascular system into the lymphatics; and the counterbalancing oncotic pressure exerted by blood proteins suspended in fluid.
For example, blood enters the capillary. The pressure of the heart muscle beating behind it forces its rich oxygen and sugar into the interstitial fluid. After the blood has passed through the capillary to the capillary's "downstream" end, it has lost some of its water in the process of nourishing the cell. Its proteins are therefore in thicker concentration. Now the blood takes on water from the interstitial fluid, which contains metabolites, carbon dioxide, and lactic acid, and continues on its way.
This marvelous mechanism not only offsets protein and pressure imbalances within the body but allows for clearance of potentially damaging elements.
Lymphatic pathways begin as tiny open-ended vessels similar to capillaries. These merge into larger vessels with walls similar to our veins. Like veins, they have flaplike valves that help prevent the backflow of fluid. The lymphatic vessels lead to specialized organs called lymph nodes (also known as lymph glands), located in the neck, the thoracic cavity (which contains the heart), the armpits, the abdomen, and the pelvis. These are the only parts of the system familiar to most people.
But too much emphasis has been put on the nodes, at the expense of the lymphatic system itself. Perhaps this is because swelling of the nodes is such a dramatic danger signal. Lymph nodes are not really conduits for lymphatic fluid but simply act as filters to remove particular threatening substances from the system. These include bacteria, viruses, and other foreign proteins, which are fairly large compared with oxidized cholesterol and other toxic substances that are the culprits in chronic diseases. Blood chemicals too small to be captured in the nodes must be metabolized by the liver and kidneys after being carried there by the lymphatics.
The nodes are like the water purifier you might use under your kitchen sink. Lymph nodes are the center for the production of lymphocytes (which act against foreign particles such as viruses and bacteria) and macrophages (which engulf and destroy foreign substances like damaged cells and other cellular debris).
Infections and diseases may be caused when microorganisms called pathogens enter the body. Diseases may also be caused by substances produced within the body, such as abnormal cells. When a virus, say, enters the body, it is seen as a foreign protein -- an antigen. The body reacts by creating an antibody to destroy the perceived intruding protein. Substances as seemingly benign as tomatoes, peanuts, or chocolate can create antibody production and an allergic reaction.
The immune system, of which the lymphatics are an essential part, acts to fight off pathogens and antigens. It is, in essence, our own center for disease control, and we must keep it well funded.
After leaving the nodes, the lymph vessels merge to form still larger lymphatic trunks. These empty into the thoracic duct, which traverses the entire chest and opens at the bottom of the neck, just above the left collarbone, in what we call the supraclavicular space (in some people, a smaller thoracic duct is located on the right side of the chest cavity). Fluid in the thoracic duct is pumped along by the breath. A bellows mechanism, breathing exerts both a positive and a negative pressure. If you take a deep breath and exhale deeply, you're massaging the thoracic duct upward into the neck so that the fluid flows generously. This duct empties the lymph into the veins, where it becomes part of the blood's plasma. From there the lymph returns to the liver for metabolization, and finally to the kidneys for filtering.