Water retention, also known as edema, is the condition of fluid buildup in the tissues and cavities or in the circulatory system. It usually appears before or during pregnancy and it causes swelling in the legs, feet, hands, and ankles.
However, edema also often appears in inactive people, people who take long-term medications, bedridden or people who sit a lot. This condition is not that serious or life-threatening, but it can often be a sign of a more serious problem, including heart failure or kidney disease. However, there are numerous cases where this water retention can be prevented, successfully treated, and reduced.
The best and the easiest way for treating edema are to find out the underlying cause of it. Here are the most common reasons for water retention.
- excessive sodium intake
if you consume too much food high in sodium and you do not take in enough water, the body enters a ‘reserve mode’ and begins retaining water. In this case, the body cell can even grow 20 times enlarged with water so that the salty environment is diluted.
Furthermore, we need to mention that salt is not the only food that contains a lot of sodium. In this group of foods are canned vegetables as well, some condiments, and processed meat, which have been proven to be abundant in sodium.
Alternatively, some types of salt do not lead to water retention, but actually, can help you reverse it. Drinking water with Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt can help you get rid of water retention.
- vitamin B6 deficiency
vitamin B6 is responsible for the balance of water in the body, so it there is a lack of this vitamin in the body, you may suffer from water retention.
The Journal of Caring Sciences has conducted a study which has discovered that women who suffered from water retention as a result of premenstrual syndrome found the intake of vitamin B6 extremely beneficial.
According to this study, the women managed to reduce the symptoms of water retention thanks to vitamin B6 more effectively than with the use of anything else they had used before. This vitamin is water-soluble and it requires many co-factors in order to work, so if you want to get the best results out of it, consume it in the form of whole foods.
In addition, you should consume foods rich in vitamin B6, such as tuna, chicken, turkey, dried fruits, sunflower seeds, unpeeled potatoes, pistachio nuts, lean beef, and bananas.
- potassium deficiency
this essential mineral is responsible for the proper function of all body organs, tissues, and cells. It is an electrolyte required for maintaining the balance of water in the body. If there is a lack of this mineral in the body due to consumption off foods abundant in salt, excessive sweating during exercising for example, and not consuming foods that contain potassium, edema occurs.
Furthermore, the lack of potassium in the body can also contribute to many other health problems such as weight gain, muscles spasm and cramps. If you lower the levels of sodium, and if you increase the urine production, you will efficiently reduce edema thanks to this mineral.
Almost all fruits contain potassium, but the highest amounts of this mineral are found in honey melon, rock melon, and watermelon. If you want to get the best results, do not consume potassium supplements, but instead, increase the amount of potassium you take in by consuming different fruits and vegetables.
lack of water in the body leads to dehydration of the body itself. Water retention is one of body’s ways to survive by holding onto the water present in it. If you regularly drink water and juices that contain a lot of potassium you can reduce both the edema and the dehydration.
You should take in a lot of water until the water retention is subsided and you should reduce the intake of soda drinks and coffee, because they add to the body dehydration.
- magnesium deficiency
if your body lacks magnesium, water retention occurs. Magnesium is an essential mineral required for almost all body functions, so if there is lack of this mineral, numerous body functions are impeded and water retention happens.
One research has shown that 200 mg of magnesium a day can reduce the water retention in women with premenstrual symptoms.
If you start consuming more foods rich in magnesium or if you start taking high-quality magnesium supplements you will significantly reduce edema. Foods that are abundant in magnesium are the dark chocolate, avocado, whole grains, dark green vegetables, nuts, dried fruits, peas, yogurt, and spinach.
- excessive consumption of processed foods
not only are processed foods high in sodium and sugar, but they also contain numerous artificial food additives that act as toxins and do harm to your liver and kidneys. All foods that are high in sugar, particularly in artificial sweeteners, contribute to quick blood sugar and insulin spikes which cause sodium retention by cells by increasing the re-absorption in the kidneys.
Thus, everyone should avoid consuming processed foods. Moreover, people who have consumed this type of food are recommended to detox their body with juices so that they preserve the optimal condition of their liver and prevent serious health issues.
In addition, there are some herbs that have highly beneficial effect when it comes to reduction of water retention. These herbs are well-known diuretics, and it is their diuretic effect that makes them so beneficial. Those herbs include:
- corn silk