Edema is an excess of watery fluids accumulated in the cavities or tissues of the body. It usually occurs before or during pregnancy and can cause swellings in the legs, ankles, feet and hands.
Moreover, edema commonly occurs in inactive people, people who are on long-term medications, bedridden or people with sedentary lifestyles. Generally, it is not a life-threatening condition but it can lead to serious issues such as heart failure or kidney disease. Fortunately, in most cases, water retention can be prevented, treated and edema can be reduced.
These are some of the most common causes of water retention:
- Excessive Sodium Intake
Excessive consumption of high-sodium foods and insufficient water intake cause the body to activate its reserve mode and retain water. In this case, the cells might become 20x enlarged with water to dilute the salty environment.
Furthermore, salt is not the only food that is high in sodium. For instance, canned vegetables, condiments and processed meat can also be rich in sodium.
In this case, it is recommended that you consume water with Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt to help you with water retention.
- Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Vitamin B6 has the ability to regulate the water balance in the body. Therefore, lack of vitamin B6 can lead to water retention. According to the Journal of Caring Sciences study, women who experienced water retention due to premenstrual syndrome found the intake vitamin B6 highly beneficial. Moreover, they reported that vitamin B6 reduced the symptoms more effectively than any other supplement they have previously used. Vitamin B6 is water-soluble and it needs a number of cofactors to work properly. Therefore, it is recommended that you take it in the form of whole foods.
Foods high in vitamin B6 include: tuna, turkey, chicken, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, unpeeled potatoes, pistachio nuts, lean beef and bananas.
- Potassium Deficiency
Potassium is of vital importance for proper function of the body organs, tissues and cells. It acts as an electrolyte which maintains the water balance in the body. There are many factors which can lead to potassium deficiency, including excessive consumption of foods high in salt, excessive sweating during physical activity, and improper intake of foods rich in potassium. This can further lead to edema.
Furthermore, lack of potassium can cause other health problems such as weight gain, muscle spasms and cramps. It is recommended that you reduce the sodium levels and consume more potassium-rich foods such as honey melon, watermelon, and rock melon. Try to consume it through fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements.
Dehydration is caused by insufficient water intake. In this case, the body starts retaining water in order to survive. Drinking large amounts of water and juices rich in potassium will reduce edema and dehydration. Also, avoid soda drinks and coffee since they additionally dehydrate the body.
- Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium deficiency is a common cause of water retention. This mineral is essential for almost every body function so its deficiency can alter a number of functions in the body and lead to water retention. A study has found that 200mg of magnesium om daily basis can reduce water retention in women with premenstrual symptoms.
In this case, it is recommended that you consume foods rich in magnesium and take high-quality magnesium supplements. Foods rich in magnesium: dark green vegetables, whole grains, spinach, nuts, avocados, dried fruits, yogurt, and dark chocolate.
- Excessive Consumption of Processed Foods
Processed foods are loaded with sodium, sugar and artificial sweeteners. These chemicals can damage your liver and kidney and cause numerous health issues, including high blood pressure, instant increase in blood sugar levels and insulin spikes which cause sodium retention in the cells by increasing reabsorption in the kidneys. So, you should avoid processed foods as much as possible. Also, you should consume more juices in order to preserve the optimal condition of the liver and prevent serious health conditions.
In addition, there are herbs which can be extremely beneficial in reducing water retention. These herbs have powerful diuretic effects and they include:
- Corn silk