Clogs in the body's detox system stall fat burn, resulting in cellulite, jelly belly and wobbly fat. Feel-great strategies clear blockages for fast slimming!

Call in your thoughts the final time you stopped to take a break: You admired their beautiful color, soft petals and sweet scent. But you may not have thought about why the flowers looked and smelled so good. And that's because of the flower's nutrient-delivering root system, which requires careful tending so the plant will flourish.

Science implies that our very own internal “root system” – known as the the lymphatic system – is similarly accountable for our health and well-being. “When the lymphatic system is functioning, lymph fluid flows through the body, detoxifying tissues, filtering out fat and toxins and looking after a healthy immune system,” explains Bruno Chikly, M.D., D.O., director from the Lymph Drainage Therapy & Brain Therapy Programs in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The problem

“When lymph flow becomes stagnant, waste accumulates, which can result in stubborn putting on weight, cellulite and bloat,” asserts women's health expert Jennifer Weinberg, M.D., author of The Whole Cure. Why this happens: With time, stress hormones and toxins collect in the system, making the lymph fluid thick and sludgy. “When your lymph system is congested, it can't properly transport fat where it needs to go,” says Dr. Chikly. So extra fat is deposited in fat cells- resulting in lumpy, bumpy cellulite and jiggly fat around the belly, hips and thighs. Actually, Stanford University researchers are convinced that a lymphatic slowdown causes fat cell function to double. And slowdowns get worse with each passing decade: According to researchers in Japan, lymph flow decreases by 39 percent between age 20 and 50 and drops another 20 percent between 50 and 70.

The solution

Fortunately, it's not hard to get lymph moving and flush fat fast. Studies show that combining pampering strategies, like self-massage, with a few easy diet tweaks, like drinking more water, can quickly thin out congested lymph and stimulate flow. It's that easy, Dr. Chikly assures: “Once the lymphatic fluid is moving freely, fat can be transported to become burned for fuel, and toxins could be flushed from the body.” Just ask Marie Collins, 59, who lost 20 pounds after incorporating self-massage and deep breathing into her daily routine: “My whole body changed. I feel better and appear better,” she cheers. Natalie Kikkenborg experienced similar benefits when she began stimulating her sluggish lymphatic system with low-impact exercise and delicate massage. “I never took inch measurements, but oh gosh! You can see the difference,” cheers Natalie, who ultimately dropped a remarkable 172 pounds. “I can't believe just how much my life has changed.”

And weight reduction is just the beginning. “Improving the function and flow of the lymphatic system might help clean up the skin, enhance your energy and improve your metabolism,” says Dr. Weinberg. Women FIRST spoke also to credit a healthy the lymphatic system with thicker hair, better focus, improved sleep and sunnier moods, in addition to less breast tenderness and much less menopause symptoms.

The benefits

Improving lymph flow is really a surefire method to power off excess weight – and jumping on the small trampoline (or rebounder) for Ten minutes 3 times a week is a powerful way to get the advantages. That's because jumping parallels the way lymph ducts function, opening and closing vertically, pumping lymph fluid with the body. Indeed, Finnish researchers report that moderate-intensity activity like rebounding, jump rope or dance increases lymph flow by 400 percent.

Read on for the revitalizing plan that will reverse the clock and help your health!

The plan

“The lymph system cleanses your body of poisons and waste, regulates the defense mechanisms and supports fluid balance,” explains women's health expert Jennifer Weinberg, M.D. The machine tends to slow as we grow older, but reviving sluggish lymph prompts your body to lose body fat. To obtain the benefits, she recommends pairing self-care practices with simple diet tweaks.

Flush fat with feel-great strategies

“Adding self-care practices to your routine can get the lymph system flowing,” says Dr. Weinberg. Jumping on a mini trampoline (see page 26) is a great place to start, and attempt to add these feel-good techniques for faster slimming.

Breathe out of your belly. “Slow, deep breaths activate stomach muscles to help lymph flow,” says Dr. Weinberg. To complete: Put your on the job your belly. Inhale, expanding your belly while you count to 3. Exhale, relaxing your belly while you count to three. Repeat five times, taking deeper breaths each time.

Try self-massage. “Lymph flow increases during lymphatic massage,” asserts certified lymphatic therapist Lisa Levitt Gainsley, author from the Book of Lymph. “You'll instantly feel refreshed.” To complete: Lying down comfortably, massage your abdomen clockwise with the palms of the hands.

Next, starting at the navel, massage downward toward your pelvic bone. Then, making use of your palms, scoop from your right hip toward your navel; from the bottom right of the rib cage toward your navel; from the bottom left of the rib cage toward your navel; and from your left hip bone toward your navel. Finish by massaging clockwise all around your abdomen again. End with five deep breaths. Repeat at least 3 times a week, says Gainsley. “This will eliminate congested waste, split up tight connective tissue and your bowel movements regular that will help you lose inches.”

Brush your skin. “The natural bristles of the dry brush encourage lymph movement to assist move built-up toxins,” says Dr. Weinberg. “I dry-brush my body for 10 minutes each morning.” To do: Utilizing a firm-bristled brush, make long, gentle strokes toward your heart, paying special attention to the feet, neck, chest and abdomen. The payoff: Stanford University doctors report that dry-brushing daily reduces bloat within Ten days.

Roll it out. A “foam roller,” which looks like an oversize pool noodle, is really a self-massage tool that stimulates movement of lymph fluid. “Foam rolling awakens the the lymphatic system,” explains trainer-to-the-stars Lauren Roxburgh, founder of the virtual Aligned Life Studio. “It helps release stuck toxins, oxygenates the blood and reduces inflammation.” Look for a “medium compression” roller as low as $20, then download Roxburgh's free foam roller guide at

For detailed self-massage instructions for the whole body in addition to additional lymph-healing self-care practices, pick up The Book of Lymph (Buy on Amazon, $21.59) by Lisa Levitt Gainsley (Harper Wave, 2021).

Fill up on lymph-boosting foods

“Choosing what to eat is one of the simplest and many great ways to impact lymphatic health,” asserts Dr. Weinberg. “Aim to consume more whole foods and fewer processed foods, which create congestion and swelling that slow the flow of lymph fluid.” For speedier weight reduction, add these quick tips.

Eat the rainbow. Enjoy colorful vegetables. “Naturally red foods, for instance, contain antioxidants that keep the lymph moving freely,” says Dr. Weinberg. Also smart: Include lots of raw fruit and vegetables. “They're full of enzymes and bioflavonoids that break down toxic buildup and the the lymphatic system healthy.”

Swap your fats. “The more you narrow back on saturated, long-chain essential fatty acids in dairy fats, palm oil along with other vegetable oils, the better it's for your the lymphatic system,” says Gainsley. This sort of fat clogs the lymph fluid. To get the benefits, cut back on dairy and junk foods (which tend to contain long-chain fatty acids) and change to olive, avocado or walnut oil to cook.

Drink plenty of fluids. “Lymph fluid is about 95 % water and becomes thicker when you are dehydrated,” explains Dr. Weinberg. That's why she recommends sipping water throughout the day and avoiding soft drinks and alcohol, which are dehydrating.

A sample day to get you started:

  • Breakfast: Garden omelette. Load a 2-egg omelet together with your favorite lymph-healing veggies, like mushrooms, red peppers and sprouts.
  • Dinner: Salmon dinner. Serve 6 oz. baked salmon together with colorful vegetables, including broccoli, bell peppers and asparagus tips.
  • Lunch: Summer salad. Top 2 cups baby spinach with1 /2 cup fresh berries, one-half avocado and a number of walnuts. Dress with essential olive oil.
  • Dessert: Crumble .Mix 3 tsp. oats, 1 tsp. sugar and 1 tsp. olive oil. Fill ramekin with1 /4 cup berries. Top with oats. Bake at 350°F for 10 min.

Slimming sips

Drinking plenty of fluids helps thin congested lymph fluid to transport body fat therefore it could be burned for fuel – and these delicious picks include extra benefits to speed slimming even more

  • A fruity mocktail: Anthocyanins, the antioxidant compounds that provide pomegranates their crimson color, break up lumpy deposits of lym-phatic waste to speed slimming. A recipe to try: Combine 1 /2 cup of 100 percent pomegranate juice, 1 /2 cup of seltzer and a pair of Tbs. of fresh lime juice over ice. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
  • A peppery energizer: Unique phytonutrients in ginger (zingibain and zingerone) emulsify the fats that clog lymph flow, causing waste to develop in cells. A recipe to test: In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 /4 cup of orange juice, 3 /4 cup of ginger beer and 4 (1″) slices of gingerroot over ice. Garnish by having an orange wedge .
  • A zesty iced tea: Natural plant acids in red clover tea speed elimination of toxins trapped in the lymph system. A recipe to test: Steep 1 red clover tea bag (like Alvita brand) and 1 peppermint tea bag in 1 /2 cup of warm water not less than Ten minutes. Pour into a cup full of ice.

The results: Before & after

Marquita Wilson, 45
Richmond, VA
Height: 5’5″

THEN: 279 lbs | NOW: 168 lbs

Marquita lost 111 lbs!

Out of breath, Marquita Wilson helped her disabled sister change clothes, then lovingly placed her in her wheelchair. Marquita knew: If I'm going to supply the care my sister deserves, I have to get my health in check.

After Marquita lost her mom to cancer, she had become the full-time caregiver on her sister, who needed 24-hour assistance. “I never realized how much strength and dedication it took to care for her. But I knew without me, she'd be institutionalized.”

So this wife and mother of four began making changes. In the kitchen area, Marquita adopted a clean-eating approach, grabbing lymph-detoxing foods like cranberries, apple cider vinegar and red peppers. In the club, Marquita learned to activate her lymph system by jumping rope and using a foam roller. She also sat inside a sauna to improve circulation and sweat out toxins. “Even weeks I didn't lose weight, I lost inches.”

Marquita continued to drop 100 pounds, cure her diabetes and trade her 3Xs for 10s. More wins followed, because the doctor happily reported:

“Cholesterol, normal. Cardiovascular disease, avoided. Everything, changed!”

Marquita's transformation blessed her sister too. “Cheryl's experienced a wheelchair for 42 years, but I strengthened her legs and taught her to face and scoot!” says Marquita. “I think my mother is dancing on the horizon. Second chances are real!”