Edema is also referred to as water retention, i.e., fluid build-up in the circulatory system or within cavities and tissues. This health issue can result in feet, leg, ankle, and hand swelling, and is most commonly developed in women before their period or during pregnancy.
Water retention can also affect those who are physically inactive, for example those who are sitting through a long flight, bedridden, as well as those who are taking long-term medications.
Even though a lot of the water retention culprits are non-life-threatening, but it can also be an indicator of severe medical conditions, like heart failure or kidney disease.
But, if there is no underlying health condition, consider avoiding water retention and decreasing the swelling that it triggers.
Water retention can be triggered by the following issues:
- Excessive Intake of Sodium
Your body actually goes into reserve mode and starts retaining water every time you consume foods rich in refined salt and drink insufficient amounts of water. To dilute the salty environment the cells could expand about 20 times over with water.
However, besides salt, there are also many other products with high sodium content. Namely, it has been found that processed food like processed meat, canned vegetables and certain condiments have high content of sodium.
On the contrary, there is all-natural salt, which doesn’t result in water retention. In addition, this type of salt has an ability to help in reversing the condition. We are talking about Himalayan or Celtic sea salt – consuming water with Himalayan or Celtic sea salt can actually have the opposite effect of the harmful table salt.
- Magnesium Deficiency
Water retention is main indicator of magnesium deficiency. Most body functions in require magnesium, so this mineral deficiency may cause many body functions to be operating below optimal level, resulting in water retention.
According to a study, 200 mg of magnesium on a daily basis decreased water retention in women with premenstrual symptoms. You can help in the alleviation of this condition by including magnesium-rich foods in your diet, as well as taking a high quality magnesium supplement.
For instance, dried fruits, dark chocolate, yogurt, peas, spinach, whole grains, nuts, dark green vegetables, and avocados are the magnesium-rich foods.
- Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Many aspects of water balance in the body can be regulated with this Vitamin, so Vitamin B6 deficiency could lead to water retention.
Moreover, The Journal of Caring Sciences carried out a study that showed those women who had water retention as a result of premenstrual syndrome experienced positive effects from taking vitamin B6.
To explain you more deeply, Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, and therefore it requires a wide variety of cofactors to act, so it would be perfect to get it from whole foods instead of supplements.
For example, lean beef, turkey, chicken, tuna, potatoes along with their skin, bananas, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, and pistachio nuts are Vitamin B6-rich foods.
- Potassium Deficiency
It is a crucial mineral responsible for proper organ, tissue and cell function in the human body. Potassium is an electrolyte that is necessary for maintaining a normal water balance in the body.
Furthermore, potassium deficiency can be caused by not consuming potassium-rich foods, consuming salt-rich foods, excessive sweating through exercise, contributing to edema or water retention.
What’s more, many other health problems like cramps, weight gain, and muscle spasms can be also triggered by potassium deficiency.
This mineral helps decrease water retention in the body by lowering the sodium level, as well as by increasing the body’s urine production.
Almost all fruits have high potassium levels, but in particular, the honey melon, rock melon, and watermelon are the richest sources of potassium. Also, an excellent way to get this mineral is by adding more vegetables and fruits in your daily diet, instead of taking potassium supplements since they may lead to certain side effects.
It is fact that not consuming enough water can result in dehydration. Additionally, the body goes into survival mode and retains water if you are dehydrated.
Remember, by regularly consuming a lot of water and juices high in potassium, you can relieve this issue.
But, it is highly recommended to avoid soda drinks and coffee because these drinks further dehydrate the cells.
- Excessive Processed Food Consumption
Besides processed foods have high sugar and sodium content, but they also include many artificial food additives that can burden the kidneys and liver.
Sugar-rich foods, particularly those high in artificial sweeteners, can trigger rapid spikes in insulin and blood sugar levels, so that the cells need to retain more sodium by elevating the sodium re-absorption in the kidneys.
Hence, it is advisable to reduce your processed food consumption. Moreover, a wonderful way to detoxify your body of toxins as well as be free of chronic conditions is by juice fasting.
Herbs that Help in Decreasing Water Retention
Water retention could be reduced with several powerful herbs thanks to their excellent diuretic properties.
It is good to know that these herbs are not supported by lab studies, but only by anecdotal evidence.
- Corn silk