How to Keep Your Spleen Healthy

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  • By Robin Westen

    Your spleen. It’s probably not something you think about but it’s an important part of your lymphatic system, a group of organs that protect you against infections, control the amount of fluids in your body and destroy damaged cells. Although sometimes a spleen has to be removed because of disease or injury, your best bet is to keep it in good shape. Here’s how to do it:

    Eat Plenty of Veggies and Fruits

    Since overcooking can destroy nutrients, it’s best to eat these foods raw or lightly steamed. Apples, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, carrots, celery, bell pepper, cucumbers, leaf lettuce and broccoli are rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes that can detoxify your body, improve spleen function, support digestion and strengthen your immune system.
  • Drink Lots of Water Your spleen needs fluids to function effectively and drinking approximately eight to 10 glasses of water daily will do the trick. On the other hand if you don’t have enough water, your body becomes dehydrated, digestion slows and your spleen is unable to cleanse itself and expel accumulated toxins from your body.
  • Add Ginger According to traditional Chinese medicine ginger is rich in an enzyme that helps your body digest protein, decrease inflammation, strengthen your immune system and aid in the detoxification process – all of which keep your spleen in tip top shape.
  • Put Fatty Fish on the Menu Eating 7 oz. of fatty fish approximately three times a week can keep your spleen healthy. Your best choices include salmon, mackerel, halibut and sardines which are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Other foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids? Flaxseeds, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts or any of these foods in oil form. On that note, adding canola oil is also a good choice.
  • Make It With Maitake Mushrooms Adding this type of mushroom to your meals can improve the health of your spleen because they’re rich in beta-glucan, which increases the number of immune cells in your spleen.

    Robin Westen is ThirdAge's Medical Director. Check for her daily updates. Her latest book, co-authored with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, is "V is for Vagina."