Edema, or water retention, is the condition of accumulated fluid within the tissues and cavities or the circulatory system. It is common before or during pregnancy and leads to swellings in the legs, feet, ankles, and hands.
Edema is also common in inactive people, those who are on long-term medications, bedridden or people with sedentary lifestyles. Water retention is usually not a life-threatening condition, but it can often indicate a more serious issue, like heart failure or kidney disease. Yet, in most cases, water retention can be prevented, treated and the swelling can be reduced.
If you specify the underlying cause of edema, you will know how to treat it. These are some of the most common causes of water retention:
- Excessive Sodium Intake
In the case of consumption of high- sodium foods, and insufficient intake of water, the body enters a “reserve mode” and starts to retain water. In this case, the cells may become 20x enlarged with water, in order to dilute the salty environment.
Moreover, salt is not the only food that is rich in sodium, but canned vegetables, some condiments, and processed meat have also been found to be abundant in sodium.
Conversely, there is a salt that does not lead to water retention, but in fact, can help you reverse it. The consumption of water with Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt can help you in the case of water retention.
- Vitamin B6 deficiency
Vitamin B6 is in charge of the balance f water in the body, so if the body lacks it, you may suffer from water retention.
A study done by the Journal of Caring Sciences found that women who suffered from water retention due to premenstrual syndrome found the intake of vitamin B6 extremely beneficial.
Namely, they reported that it reduces the symptoms more effectively than any other supplements they have used before. This vitamin is actually water-soluble, and it needs numerous cofactors to work, so for best results, take in the form of whole foods.
Moreover, foods which are high in vitamin B6 include chicken, tuna, turkey, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, pistachio nuts, unpeeled potatoes, tuna, chicken, turkey, lean beef, and bananas.
- Potassium deficiency
This important mineral is in charge of the proper function of the body organs, tissues and cells. Namely, it is an electrolyte needed for the balance of water in the body. The consumption of foods rich in salt, excessive sweating due to exercising, and not consuming foods rich in potassium can lead to a depletion of it, which contributes to edema.
Moreover, potassium deficiency may also lead to numerous other health problems lie weight gain, cramps, and muscle spasms. By reducing the sodium levels, and increasing the urine production, this mineral effectively reduces edema.
Potassium is found in almost all fruits, but it is in highest amounts in honey melon, watermelon, and rock melon. For best effects, instead of taking supplements, you should increase your potassium amounts by consuming various fruits and vegetables.
Insufficient amounts of water lead to dehydration of the body. In this case, the body reacts by retaining water as a way to survive. The regular consumption of water and juices high in potassium can reduce edema and dehydration.
Drink lots of water until the water retention is subsided, and avoid soda drinks and coffee, as they additionally dehydrate your organism.
- Magnesium Deficiency
Water retention is one of the common symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is needed for almost every body function, so its low levels impede numerous functions in the body and thus contributes to water retention.
According to one study, 200 mg of magnesium daily lowered the water retention in women with premenstrual symptoms.
The increase of magnesium-rich foods or the use of high- quality magnesium supplements significantly reduces edema. Magnesium-rich foods include dark chocolate, dark green vegetables, avocados, nuts, whole grains, peas, spinach, yogurt, and dried fruits.
- Excessive consumption of Processed Foods
Apart from being rich in sodium and sugar, processed foods also involve numerous artificial food additives that act as toxins and damage your liver and kidneys. Namely, sugar-rich foods, especially in artificial sweeteners, lead to rapid blood sugar and insulin spikes which will lead to sodium retention by cells, by increasing reabsorption in the kidneys.
Therefore, you should avoid processed foods. You should also detox your body with juices in order to preserve the optimal condition of the liver and prevent serious health issues.
Furthermore, there are some herbs which can have an extremely beneficial effect in the case of water retention. Namely, these herbs have strong diuretic properties, and they include:
- Corn silk