Edema is another name for water retention. It refers to the excess fluid gathered in the body cells and tissues. Water retention can result in joint and limb swelling and is very usual in pregnant women.
Edema is also very common for people that lead a mostly sedentary life and people on prescription medications for longer periods of time. You might have noticed swollen joints after a long plane flight as well.
Water retention is not a serious condition by itself but it might signalize that something more serious is happening in the organism, like liver problems, heart disease, or kidney failure. Luckily, water retention can be prevented and swellings can be avoided by making just a few changes in your diet.
There are six main causes of water retention. Let’s look at them separately.
#1 Too Much Sodium
Consuming too much salt and not consuming enough water leads to water retention. To reduce the intake of salt, use Celtic or Himalayan salt instead of the regular table salt. Despite popular opinion, salt is not the only ingredient that contains sodium. Other sources include canned veggies, condiments, and all processed foods.
#2 Magnesium Deficiency
If you are deficient in magnesium, you might end up with edema! This mineral is important for numerous body functions and the lack of it will disrupt the balance in the organism, leading to water retention.
Research has shown that in order to maintain healthy magnesium levels in the body, you need to take 200mg of magnesium every day. This can be achieved by either consuming magnesium supplements or, even better, by increasing the intake of magnesium-rich foods. Such foods are dark chocolate, spinach, dried fruits, dark-green vegetables, yogurt, avocados, whole grains, and nuts.
#3 Potassium Deficiency
This mineral is another element that maintains water balance by regulating the function of all the tissues in the body.
The combination that can result in edema is the low intake of foods rich in potassium and high intake of foods rich in sodium. Potassium deficiency symptoms are spasms and cramps in the muscles, as well as unexplained weight gain. Potassium has the ability to lower the levels of sodium and thus prevents water retention.
Three foods that are very high in potassium are watermelon, honey melon, and rockmelon.
#4 Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Vitamin B6 is responsible for maintaining water balance in the organism, so if you are B6 deficient, it may cause water retention.
Studies have shown that the increased intake of this vitamin helped women suffering from edema caused by severe PMS. The best way to consume this water-soluble vitamin is through foods such as chicken, lean beef, turkey, tuna, potatoes, bananas, dried fruits, pistachios, and sunflower seeds.
Dehydration is caused by lack of water in the organism. If you don’t give your body enough water, it will be triggered to retain water in order to “survive”. Make sure you drink at least eight glasses of water a day. If you are not a fan of water, drink natural potassium-rich juices. Also, even though sodas and coffee are drinks, you should avoid them because they cause further cell dehydration.
#6 Eating Too Much Processed Food
Processed foods have nothing good to offer. On the contrary, they are full of harmful ingredients such as:
— Artificial additives
Added sugars and artificial sweeteners cause sharp surges in the blood sugar levels, whereas additives are highly toxic, especially for the kidneys and the liver. That is why you should stop using this type of food ASAP.
In addition to the above-mentioned diet changes, there are a few herbs you should consider including in your meals. These herbs are especially efficient in edema prevention because they are considered natural diuretics:
- Corn silk
And last but not the least, another important factor that prevents water retention is regular physical activity. Being active will help you clean the body from toxins and keep you in good health.