Your lymphatic system: what it is, what it does, and why it matters if you have diabetes.
People with diabetes (PWD) are at an increased risk of developing infections. The lymphatic system is an organization of cells that filters wastes from tissues and blood and works with the immune system to fight off microorganisms that can cause diseases. The time to review the lymphatic system is now, given that flu season is near and the coronavirus keeps lurking around.
Whereas the central nervous system is the balancer of information received and transmitted by the body, the lymphatic system is the nutrient and waste balancer of the body. The lymphatic system comprises the appendix, bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, tonsils, and vessels. The lymphatic system filters waste and cells from bodily fluids and removes excess nutrients, such as fat. Lymph, the fluid collection from tissues and cells, reenters the circulatory system via the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system protects the body from pathogen invasions. The human body contains approximately 500 lymph nodes scattered throughout the body, such as under the arms (axillary), neck (cervical), thighs (femoral), and other places. These lymph nodes filter waste, and nodes contain lymphocytes, white blood cells, that help rid the body of foreign and potentially harmful microorganisms.
The body requires a certain blood serum volume to work effectively and efficiently. Research reveals that high blood sugars stress the immune system, impairing its function in keeping the body healthy. Individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of infection, which can affect one organ or multiple organs throughout the body. Hyperglycemia increases PWDs infection risk because bacteria love warm, moist, and high-sugar-content areas. PWDs are at increased risk of developing respiratory (pneumonia), urinary tract, skin, and viral infections (Coronavirus and the flu).
Here's how to keep your lymphatic system healthy.
There is no specific diet for the lymphatic system, so you can be creative and design a meal plan that supports your individuality.
The goal is to eat balanced meals and include a variety of nutrients throughout the day. Maximize each meal and snack with high-quality fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, legumes, and water. Limit the amount of processed foods or foods changed from their natural state. Look for foods with the fewest additives. Remember that the first three ingredients are often the product’s main ingredients. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, look it up.