Water retention or also known as edema is the accumulation of fluids in the tissues and cavities as well as the circulatory system. This can cause swelling in the feet, hands, ankles, and legs, and it usually appears to women during pregnancy or the period before.
It can also occur at people who are not physically active, those who take medications for a longer period of time, as a result of sedentary lifestyle and during a long flight as well.
Even though most of the edema causes are not life-threatening, it can be a symptom of kidney disease and heart failure. However, if there are not any underlying conditions, there is a way to avoid water retention and reduce the swelling.
Causes of Edema
1. Excessive Intake of Sodium
Having a diet which is rich in salt and not consuming enough water can make your body use its reserves, which leads to retaining water. Water makes the cells expand to 20 times. It is very important to know that salt is not the only product which contains sodium.
It can be also found in processed foods such as processed meat and some condiments as well as canned vegetables. Himalayan or Celtic sea salt, on the other hand, can reverse the damage caused by the table salt.
2. Deficiency in Magnesium
Magnesium deficiency can lead to water retention. Magnesium is a mineral essential for almost all functions in the body, so if your body is deficient in magnesium, this can obstruct the proper function of the body, which will eventually result in water retention.
A study showed that taking 200mg of magnesium a day can reduce edema in women experiencing premenstrual symptoms. Consuming foods high in magnesium or taking a magnesium supplement can relieve this condition.
Foods rich in magnesium include: spinach, dark chocolate, dried fruits, yogurt, dark green vegetables, avocados, nuts, whole grains, and peas.
3. Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Vitamin B6 controls many aspects of water balance in the body, so if your body is deficient in this vitamin, it can result in edema.
The Journal of Caring Sciences published a study which showed that women who had edema caused by premenstrual syndrome, managed to improve their condition by taking vitamin B6. As a water-soluble vitamin, B6 needs many cofactors in order to function, so the best option is to get it from consuming whole foods.
Foods that are rich in vitamin B6 are chicken, potatoes with skin, pistachio nuts, lean beef, tuna, turkey, bananas, dried fruit, and sunflower seeds.
4. Potassium Deficiency
Potassium is a mineral essential for the proper function of the body cells, organs, and tissues. It is very important for maintaining normal water balance in the body.
Consuming plenty of salt and not eating foods rich in potassium can reduce the potassium levels, and lead to water retention.Potassium deficiency can cause cramps, muscle spasms, and weight gain. This mineral has the ability to reduce the sodium levels, thus reducing water retention.
It can be found in most fruits, but watermelon, rockmelon, and honey melon are the ones which are abundant with potassium
Not consuming enough water can lead to dehydration, which will make the body enter its survival mode and it retains water. You can improve this condition by a regular consumption of water and juices rich in potassium. You should know that coffee and soda drinks can dehydrate the cells even more!
6. Excessive Consumption of Processed Foods
Despite being rich in sodium and sugar, processed foods can also contain artificial food additives which act as toxins and put a load on the liver and the kidneys. Foods rich in sugar especially artificial sweeteners can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar and insulin levels.
So, make sure to reduce the consumption of processed foods as much as possible. Eliminating chronic ailments and making sure your body is in excellent shape is a great way of detoxifying the body.
Beneficial Herbs for Reducing Edema
These herbs are extremely beneficial for reducing water retention due to their powerful diuretic properties:
- Corn silk