Swellings in the hands, feet, and legs are a result of water retention, or otherwise known as edema. Edema is manifested by the buildup of fluids in the tissues, circulatory system, and cavities. The most common reasons for water retention include premenstrual syndrome, physical inactivity, sedentary lifestyle, pregnancy, and use of certain medications.
Swellings often occur during a long flight as well. Edema is most often not serious, but at times, it can indicate a kidney disease or heart failure. Due to this, you should always find a way to treat edema.
These are the main reasons for water retention and ways to treat it:
- Excessive Consumption of Processed Foods
Processed foods are loaded with sugar and sodium, which is one of the main causes of edema. They are also rich artificial food additives which have toxic nature, and thus put a load on the kidneys and the liver. Foods high in sugar lead to insulin spikes and high blood sugar.
- Excessive Sodium Intake
In case you consume foods rich in sodium and do not drink enough water, the body will start using the reserves, leading to edema. With the help of water, the human cells can expand up to 20 times.
Sodium is also added to processed meat, canned vegetables, condiments, etc. You should avoid table salt and start using Celtic and Himalayan sea salt.
Dehydration occurs when a person does not drink sufficient amounts of water. In this case, the body retains water to survive, and this causes swellings in the body. Remember to avoid coffee and soda drinks, and drink more water.
- Vitamin B6 deficiency
The lack of vitamin B6 in the body often causes water retention.
The Journal of Caring Sciences published a study which involved women who experienced water retention due to premenstrual syndrome. The intake of vitamin B6 daily improved their condition.
Since it is water-soluble, it is best to consume it in the form of whole foods. Foods rich in it include tuna, sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts, potatoes with skin, dried fruits, chicken, lean beef, turkey, and bananas.
- Magnesium Deficiency
Edema is often caused by the lack of magnesium in the body, which is an essential mineral for numerous bodily functions. Researchers have found that the daily dose of 200 milligrams can reduce water retention in women with premenstrual symptoms.
Therefore, make sure you consume more magnesium- rich foods, like nuts, whole grains, dried fruits, peas, spinach, dark green veggies, dark chocolate, and avocados.
- Potassium deficiency
Potassium is vital for the proper function of cells, tissues, and organs in the body, and it regulates the water balance. If you consume high amounts of salt and not enough foods rich in potassium, you will experience edema.
Potassium reduces water retention as it reduces the sodium levels. Rockmelons, watermelons, and honey melons are especially rich in it.
The following plants have potent diuretic properties and thus effectively reduce water retention:
- Corn silk