The term water retention, also called edema signifies accumulation of fluid in the tissues or cavities in the body. In most cases, it causes swelling in the hands, ankles, feet, and legs. Water retention is common in women before their period or during pregnancy.
It can also affect people who are physically inactive or on long-term medications. Many of the causes of edema are not considered as life-threatening. However, it can indicate severe medical conditions such as heart failure or kidney disease.
You can avoid retention and reduce the swelling caused by it, but only in cases where there is no underlying health condition.
It is very important to understand the cause of your water retention, so you can be able to reverse it.
- Excessive Sodium Intake
The consumption of foods high in refined salt and drinking insufficient water make your body to use its reserves. In this way, our body starts to retain water. Besides salt which is the most popular product high in sodium, there are many processed food products such as canned vegetables, processed meat, and certain condiments. All of these are known for their high sodium content. There is a natural salt that is not harmful and actually can help to reverse the condition. Drinking water with Himalayan salt or Celtic salt has a positive effect on our body, unlike the table salt.
- Magnesium Deficiency
Water retention is one of the main symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is required for almost every function in our body. This means that a deficiency in this mineral can disrupt the function of many processes in our body, which eventually will lead to water retention. According to a study, 200 mg of magnesium on a daily bases can reduce water retention in women who have premenstrual symptoms. In order to relieve this condition, you should include foods rich in magnesium in your daily diet or take a high quality magnesium supplement. Foods that are great source of magnesium include nuts, whole grains, avocados, spinach, dark green vegetables, dried fruits, dark chocolate, and peas.
- Deficiency In Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 plays an important role in the controlling of water balance in the body, so a deficiency in this mineral can cause water retention. A study showed that vitamin B6 is extremely beneficial for women who have water retention due to premenstrual syndrome. In fact, vitamin B6 provided better results than most of the other supplements. The best way to obtain this vitamin is from whole foods since this water-soluble vitamin requires many cofactors to work. Foods that are high in vitamin B6 include dried fruit, bananas, potatoes (with skin), tuna, lean beef, turkey, chicken, pistachio nuts, and sunflower seeds.
- Lack Of Potassium
Potassium is a mineral extremely important for the optimal function of cells, tissues, and organs in the body. Potassium is required to maintain a normal water balance in the body. The excessive consumption of salt, not eating foods rich in potassium, or excessive sweating through exercise can lead to depletion of potassium, thus causing water retention.
A potassium deficiency can lead to other health problems including muscle spasms, cramps and weight gain. Potassium reduces the sodium level and increases the production of urine which in turn reduces water retention. There are many fruits that are a great source of potassium. Watermelon, honeymelon, and rockmelon are known for their high content of potassium. So, instead of taking supplements that may cause side effects, make sure to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. In this way, you will be able to obtain this mineral.
Drinking insufficient water can lead to dehydration. When you are dehydrated, your body goes into survival mode and retains water. The regular consumption of water and juices high in potassium can relieve this condition. Never replace your water intake with coffee or soda drinks since they can further dehydrate your cells.
- Eating Too Much Processed Foods
Processed foods are known for their high content of sugar and sodium as well as many artificial food additives that can damage your kidneys and liver. Foods high in sugar cause rapid spikes in insulin and blood sugar levels. In this way, your cells will retain more sodium by increasing sodium re-absorption in the kidneys. So, the best thing you should do is to avoid processed foods at all costs. Juice fasting is an effective method to detoxify your body of toxins, thus keeping the optimal function of your body and preventing chronic diseases.
Herbs That Are Beneficial For Reducing Water Retention
There are some herbs that possess potent diuretic properties and can effectively reduce water retention. Some of them include:
- Corn silk
However, we need to mention that these herbs are supported by anecdotal evidence, not lab studies!