Supporting Your Lymphatic System Through Winter

Dec 1, 2023

As cooler temperatures arrive, people spend more time indoors, enjoying comfort foods and celebrating holidays with others, increasing the risk of pathogenic exposure. You might notice you gain more weight in the winter and become chronically swollen. This winter weight gain and swelling are often due to a stagnant, sluggish liver and lymphatic system. 

During the winter months we consume less produce, have less exposure to sunlight, spend less time in nature and experience more stress around the holidays. This can translate to a suppressed immune system. We can counteract these wintertime challenges by supporting our lymphatic system which can boost our immune system and help keep off excess weight.

How does our lymphatic system work and why is it important to our health? 

Our lymphatic system runs parallel to our circulatory system and surrounds organs which helps our body cleanse. Lymph is the clear fluid that runs throughout this system that carries old cells, bacteria, viruses and toxins out of the body. Some, or all, of these things could be contributing to the swelling we experience, especially, in the wintertime. Swelling from the lymphatic system can vary from a puffy face to significant weight gain. The lymphatic system continually works to redistribute fluid and move out these unwanted substances for excretion through urine, bowel movements and sweat.

When really they’re not gaining weight, they’re not gaining extra fat, they’re gaining extra fluid and that extra fluid is just pushing everything outwards … they have 20 to 30 pounds of fluid retention. – Anthony William 

The liver is the true foundation of a healthy lymphatic system. Our liver is best supported when we are hydrated and eating plenty of carbohydrates to support wellbeing. Eating a low fat and protein diet helps to keep blood thin and toxins moving out of the body, regularly. When we turn to comfort foods like pizza and ice cream, or use those holiday air fresheners before guests come over, our livers step up to protect us. It must separate out the different toxins, break down the excess fat and find the best time to discard this waste. Our lymphatic system is our liver’s back-up plan to keep us healthy. We should always consider how we can boost both our lymphatic system and liver to improve our wellbeing. 

When the liver gets strained, more waste slips by it. The resulting sludge that’s passed off to the lymphatic system is thick. Pockets of lymph fluid start to collect, which translates to fluid retention. – Anthony William

 Symptoms of Poor Lymphatic Drainage

There are a wide variety of symptoms and conditions that can be linked to poor lymphatic drainage. You may need lymphatic support if you experience one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face and/or eyes
  • Swollen feet and/or hands
  • Weight gain and/or water retention
  • Swelling has the potential to cause eye floaters, heart palpitations and/or dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Acne
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Tonsillitis
  • Autoimmune diseases- MS, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s, lyme, lupus, fibromyalgia, ME/CFS (the root cause of these can be viral and lead to swelling)

How can I support my lymphatic system this winter?

There are short and long-term remedies to support your lymphatic system this winter. 

High amounts of fat and protein can thicken the blood and push the liver to work harder. The easier your liver can detox the less likely toxins are to build up in your lymphatic system and cause swelling. You can also aim to hydrate better during the dry winter months. As we consume more warm cooked meals, we are eating less raw fruits, vegetables and liquids. Simply aim to keep a raw fruit or vegetable snack in our routine or top meals with raw leafy greens. You can also add lemon or lime to your water which can deeply hydrate you on a cellular level. You can also incorporate some refreshing coconut water or celery juice into your hydration routine. High fat and protein diets can dehydrate the blood requiring more water to keep it pumping properly throughout the body. Fluid in the lymphatic system can be pulled out and utilized leaving toxins stagnant and you feeling puffy. These approaches can assist in lymphatic system regulation.

There are several foods, teas and supplements that can help support the lymphatic system and lessens illness this winter. Pick a few to focus on and be proactive with your health. More vitamin recommendations and tea preferences can be found here.

  • Foods to support the lymphatic system: HMDS, Apples, celery juice, cucumber juice, fresh green juices melons, wild blueberry juice, lettuce, pears, tomatoes, citrus, burdock, radish and all leafy greens such as dandelion greens and kale.
  • Herbal teas: Red clover, peppermint, elderflower, ginger, turmeric and chaga mushroom powder for sipping.
    Supportive vitamins and supplements to consider: Zinc, barley grass juice powder, spirulina, olive leaf and wild blueberry powder.
  • Exercise is a great option which can help move fluid out and decrease swelling in the body. Simple movement such as walking, stretching, yoga or tai chi, swimming, using a pocket gym and gardening are all great options depending on your climate. Rebounding is the best activity to help support your lymphatic system this winter. Try using a health bounce where you keep your feet on the rebounder as you bounce. This helps leverage gravity to help redistribute lymph and toxins. Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy and can benefit from as you spend more time indoors.
  • Infrared saunas are another alternative to consider when working to balance out the lymphatic system. They can gently, but deeply warm up your body increasing circulation, oxygenation, detoxification and it can support your immune system. Aim for 15-20 minutes twice a week. I enjoy this sauna for at home use. You can find a portable option from Therasage along with a discount code here. Red light therapy is another wonderful tool to bring in to support the body as well. A few of my favorite red light devices, including discounts, can be found here
  • Massage is a great practice that can decrease swelling and discomfort. This will not detox the liver, but it can get stagnant lymph moving. Like a massage, gua sha is lymphatic drainage for the face, neck and chest that can be done during your skincare routine. It can be done with your hands or a facial gua sha stone and an oil compatible with your skin needs.

If you could use more support and  guidance when it comes to uprooting symptoms, you might consider working with a trained professional to help slowly, but surely uncover and address root causes, such as bacteria, pathogens and toxins, that might be causing underlying symptoms such as the ones listed above. Swelling can be from simple, acute injury or it can be from a cause that requires deeper knowledge to uproot.

Puffiness can also occur due to viral related allergic reaction. If your diet contains foods that feed EBV, you can develop an allergy to the toxic byproduct that the virus eliminates after fueling itself on those foods.  –Anthony William

Consider signing up for a one on one consultation or join our monthly membership to ask questions inside our community forum and learn more in our Live Teaching Calls and Q&A.

Create a Game Plan

Our lymphatic system offers back-up support to our liver by helping it cleanse from old pathogens and toxins. It provides subtle signs that we should hydrate better, incorporate more carbs from vegetables and fruits and even get our bodies moving. There are many options to choose from when it comes to supporting our liver and lymphatic system from drinking green juices and herbal tea to incorporating infrared saunas and massages into our routine. Choose one or two tools this winter to build up and create a positive wellness routine that can support your needs. Reach out to a professional if you need more guidance. You deserve to be healthy and happy all year long. 


Anthony William (Host). (2022, Nov 28). Body Swelling- Fluid Retention, Edema, Lymphedema, Tissue Expansion [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from 

Anthony William (Host). (2018, April 2). The Lymphatic System-Radio Show Archive [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from

Anthony  William. (n.d.). Chapter 18: Freeing Your Brain and Body of Toxins. In Revised & Expanded Medical Medium Secrets Behind Chronic And Mystery Illness And How To Finally Heal (pp. 245–246). essay, Hay House, Inc.

Anthony William. (n.d.). Edema & Puffy Face and/or Puffy Eyes. Medical Medium.

Anthony William. (n.d.). Weight Gain. Medical Medium.

Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Lymphatic System. Cleveland Clinic.

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