Water retention is a condition medically known as edema that manifests through swelling in the cavities and tissues of the body. It is not always harmful, but it may represent a serious medical problem in some cases. In general, edema can cause swelling in your ankles, feet, legs and hands, and is common during pregnancy. People who are not especially physically active are more prone to it as well, as are those on medications for a longer period.
Although edema may not be a life-threatening symptom, it can be a sign of kidney or heart failure. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent the swelling and avoid the underlying condition that caused it.
Main causes of edema
1. Excess sodium intake
A diet rich in sodium and improper water intake can make the body retain water in the tissues, which will almost certainly lead to edema. Salt (sodium) can be found in any food you eat, not just the salty items. It is present in canned products and processed food, which is why you should stick to a healthy diet. Instead of table salt, we recommend consuming Himalayan pink sea salt or Celtic salt.
2. Magnesium deficiency
Magnesium is important for a host of body functions, so lack of it can cause quite a lot of problems including edema. According to one study, 200 mg. of magnesium per day can reduce and treat edema in women suffering from PMS. You can either take a magnesium supplement to prevent the condition, or get the mineral through dietary sources such as dark chocolate, figs, spinach, dark leafy green vegetables, yogurt, nuts and seeds, whole grains, avocados and peas.
3. Vitamin B6 deficiency
Studies have shown that people suffering from edema are also deficient in this nutrient, which definitely connects the two. Other studies have shown that women who get vitamin B6 supplements on a daily basis can easily improve their condition. However, it’s imperative you get vitamin B6 from dietary sources such as pistachios, potatoes, chicken meat, tuna, turkey, lean beef, dry fruit or sunflower seeds.
4. Potassium deficiency
Potassium is one of the most important minerals for our health, and helps the body maintain proper water balance. Consuming sodium-rich foods can reduce the potassium levels in your body, which will almost surely result in edema and may cause muscle cramps and pain as well. You can find potassium in most melons, including watermelon and honey melon.
Dehydration is one of the main causes of edema. In this case, the body enters survival mode and starts retaining water, which can be corrected by consuming potassium-rich foods and drinks.
6. Processed foods
Consuming processed foods often can overwork the kidneys and liver which will definitely result in edema. Foods rich in sugar and artificial additives can raise your blood sugar levels and cause insulin resistance as well, resulting in edema and pre-diabetes. Avoid consuming processed foods often and make sure your diet is based on fresh fruit and vegetables.
In order to reduce edema, you can start consuming herbal teas and blends with diuretic properties. The best include dandelion, nettle, garlic, fennel, hibiscus, parsley and horsetails. You can also add these herbs into your daily diet in order to prevent the swelling in your legs.
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