Edema, or also called water retention is the accumulation of fluids in the cavities and tissues and in the circulatory system. It can lead to swelling in the legs, ankles, feet and hands and it usually occurs to women before their period or during pregnancy.

It can also have an effect on people who are not physically active, somebody who is bedridden, people on long-term medication or during a long flight.

Despite the fact the most of the causes of edema are not life-threatening, it can be a symptom of grave medical conditions like heart failure or kidney disease. Nevertheless, if there are not any underlying conditions, you can avoid water retention and decrease the swelling it brings.

In this article, you can read about the causes for edema. Knowing the causes is vital, since in this way, you can stop or avoid doing the thing which causes the swelling.

  1. Excessive Intake of Sodium

Consuming foods which are rich in salt and not drinking enough water can make your body go into the “reserve mode”, thus retaining water. Water can make the cells expand to 20 times.

However, salt is not the only product rich in sodium. It is also present in processed foods like processed meat and some condiments. It can also be found in canned vegetables.

On the contrary, Himalayan or Celtic sea salt reverse the damage that is done by the table salt.

  1. Deficiency in Magnesium

Water retention is a symptom of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is essential for nearly all functions in the body, and if deficient, various functions might not perform as they need to, thereby causing water retention.

According to one study, 200 mg of magnesium on a daily basis can reduce edema in woman with premenstrual symptoms. You can relieve this condition by consuming foods high in magnesium or by taking a magnesium supplement. Foods that rich in magnesium are dried fruits, dark chocolate, yogurt, peas, spinach, whole grains, nuts, dark green vegetables and avocados.

  1. Vitamin B6 Deficiency

Vitamin B6 is responsible for controlling a number of water balance aspects in the body, so if this vitamin is deficient, it can lead to edema.

There was a study, which was published in the Journal of Caring Sciences, and it proved that women who had edema caused by premenstrual syndrome, had improvements thanks to the vitamin B6.

Being a water-soluble vitamin, B6 requires a number of cofactors to function, and it is best to get it from consuming whole foods.


Foods that are high in this vitamin are lean beef, turkey, chicken, tuna, and potatoes with skin, bananas, dried fruit, pistachio nuts, and sunflower seeds.

  1. Magnesium Deficiency

Potassium is a mineral which is responsible for proper function of the organs, tissues and cells in the body. This electrolyte is critical for maintaining normal water balance in the body.

Potassium levels can drop by eating too much salt, and not eating foods which are rich in potassium. This can cause water retention.

Moreover, potassium deficiency can also lead to grave health issues like weight gain, cramps and muscle spasms.

Potassium reduces the sodium levels, thus reducing water retention.

Potassium is present in most fruits, but honeymelon, rockmelon and watermelon are especially rich in this mineral.

  1. Dehydration

Drinking insufficient amounts of water can lead to dehydration. When this happens, the body enters its survival mode and it retains water.

Consuming plenty of water and juices which are abundant in potassium on a regular basis is going to improve this condition.

Knowing the amount of water you need to drink is important. Soda drinks and coffee dehydrate the cells even more.

  1. Excessive Consumption of Processed Foods

Apart from being high in sugar and sodium, processed foods also contain many artificial food additives which act as toxins and put burden on the kidneys and the liver.

Foods which are rich in sugar, artificial sweeteners in particular, lead to rapid increase in insulin levels and blood sugar.

You need to reduce the consumption of processed foods. An excellent way of detoxifying the body is by eliminating chronic ailments and making sure your body is in excellent shape.

Beneficial Herbs for Reducing Edema

The following herbs have diuretic properties, thus they are beneficial for decreasing water retention.

  • Horsetail
  • Dandelion
  • Hibiscus
  • Parsley
  • Nettle
  • Corn silk
  • Fennel
  • Garlic



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