Water retention, or edema is the build-up of fluid in the circulatory system or within tissues and cavities. It can cause swelling in the hands, feet, ankles and legs and is common in women during pregnancy or before their period.
It also affects people who are physically inactive, such as someone who is bedridden or sitting through a long flight. Although many of the causes of water retention are non-life-threatening, it can also be a symptom of severe medical conditions such as kidney disease or heart failure. However, in cases where there is no underlying health condition, there are ways avoid water retention and reduce the swelling caused by it.
These are some of the most common causes of water retention:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Potassium deficiency
Potassium is a mineral that is imperative to the proper function of cells, tissue and organs inside the human body. Potassium has even been shown to benefit heart health.
Potassium helps reduce water retention in the body in two ways. One is by increasing sodium levels and the other is by increasing your body’s production of urine.
Foods high in potassium include apricots, beets, Brussels sprouts and bananas. For best effects, instead of taking supplements, you should increase your potassium amounts by consuming various fruits and vegetables.
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.
5. 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.
A study has found that 200 mg 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.
6. 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 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