The Lymphatic System:
The lymphatic system is entwined with the circulation of the blood, and is a system of vessels that drains a colourless liquid called lymph from all over the body back into the bloodstream. It plays a major role in the immune system and defends us against disease and infection; it is the body’s own security system, constantly guarding the body.
The lymphatic system consists of thin tubes that run throughout the body carrying lymph. Lymph is generally moved by exercise and deep breathing, and obstruction of lymphatic flow results in oedema-swelling of the tissues due to the collection of excess fluid. Lymph circulates around the body and contains a number of white blood cells. Plasma comes from the capillaries and bathes the body tissues, then drains into the lymph vessels and empties back into the blood circulation.
Lymph nodes are scattered around the body and contain scavenging white blood cells that ingest bacteria, as well as other foreign matter and debris. These nodes filter lymph, destroying harmful microorganisms, tumour cells, damaged or dead tissue cells and toxins. Lymph from most tissues and organs cross lymph nodes to become filtered, before draining into the bloodstream. Swollen lymph nodes normally indicate disease. There are lymph nodes in the armpits, neck,groin, abdomen, pelvis and chest.
The lymphatic system also includes the spleen, tonsils, adenoids and thymus gland. The job of the spleen is to filter the blood to remove old, worn-out blood cells and destroy them; these are then replaced by new red blood cells made in the bone marrow. The spleen also filters out bacteria, viruses and other foreign particles found in the blood. The white blood cells in the spleen attack bacteria and viruses as they pass through.
Having a strong immune system is essential in maintaining good health. You can boost your immune system by consuming organic foods, fresh fruit and vegetables, good quality drinking water and by taking gentle exercise.