Are your feet, ankles, legs, or hands often swollen? This happens as a result of water retention, a condition which is known as edema. It is characterized by the accumulation of the fluids in the tissues, cavities, and circulatory system.
The main causes of edema are not being physically active, pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome, sedentary lifestyle, and some medications. But, swelling can also happen during a long flight.
Most cases of edema are not serious. Nevertheless, sometimes it could indicate heart failure or kidney disease, so it is very important to treat it on time.
Here are the main causes of edema and some suggested ways of how you can reduce the swelling and avoid water retention, as long as there is no underlying condition.
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6 Causes of Edema
- Excessive Sodium Intake
In case your diet is based on sodium-rich foods and you don’t drink enough water, your body is going to use its water reserves. In turn, this results in water retention. The human cells can expand even up to 20 times with the help of water. Therefore, the most important thing here is to know which foods contain high amounts of sodium, so that you can start avoiding them.
Besides salt, sodium can also be found in some condiments, canned vegetables, processed meat, and some other processed foods. On the other hand, the Celtic and Himalayan sea salt can reverse the water retention which is caused by table salt.
- Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium deficiency can lead to edema. This mineral is essential for most functions in the body, which means insufficient amounts of it could hinder the proper function of the body. This is eventually going to lead to water retention.
A research showed that taking 200 mg as a daily dose of magnesium could reduce the water retention in women with premenstrual symptoms. Increasing the intake of the magnesium-rich foods or taking it as a supplement could relieve this condition.
Here are the foods that contain the highest amount of magnesium: spinach, dried fruits, dark green veggies, nuts, avocados, dark chocolate, peas, and whole grains.
- Lack of Vitamin B6
Deficiency in vitamin B6 might lead to edema as it’s involved in numerous aspects of water balance in the body.
One study published in the Journal of Caring Sciences included women who experienced water retention that is caused by premenstrual syndrome. They took vitamin B6 every day, and their condition was improved verysoon. This vitamin is water-soluble, which means it requires many cofactors to function properly. Therefore, it is best to obtain it from whole foods.
Foods high in this vitamin are potatoes with skin, turkey, chicken, lean beef, tuna, bananas, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, and pistachio nuts.
- Lack of Potassium
This mineral is essential for the proper function of the cells, tissues, and organs inside the body. It plays a veryimportant role in the maintenance of normal water balance inside the body.
Potassium deficiency could result from not consuming enough potassium-rich foods but consuming high amounts of salt. This is eventually going to lead to edema. Lack of this mineral might cause weight gain, cramps, andmuscle spasms. Potassium can reduce water retention because of its ability to reduce the sodium levels.
You could find this mineral in most fruits, especially in honey melon, watermelon, and rockmelon.
Dehydration happens when you don’t drink enough water. It forces the body to retain water in order to survive, resulting in swellings in the ankles, feet, legs, orhands. Luckily, it is not hard to improve your condition. You just need to drink enough water and potassium-rich juices, and also avoid soda drinks and coffee.
- Excessive Consumption of Processed Foods
As we mentioned before, processed foods are full of sodium andsugar – one of the leading causes of water retention. However, they also contain artificial food additives whose toxic nature puts a load on the liverandthe kidneys.
Foods that contain high amounts of sugar among which artificial sweeteners, they may cause spikes in the levels of insulin and blood sugar.
Therefore, we suggest avoiding processed foods as much as you can.
Plants that Help Reduce Edema
Because of their strong diuretic properties, these plants could help reduce water retention or edema:
- Corn silk