The constant swelling in your legs or feet could mean you have edema, or water retention. This condition happens when excess fluid remains trapped in certain body tissues. The most commonly affected areas are legs, feet, ankles, arms, and hands.
However, edema can also affect your lungs, in which case you’ll have difficulty breathing while lying, shortness of breath, chest pain, etc.
Symptoms of Edema
The most common symptoms of water retention include the following:
- Puffiness or swelling of the tissue under your skin, usually in your arms or legs
- Shiny or stretched skin
- Increased abdominal size
- Skin that retains pits (a dimple) after pressing it with your finger for a few seconds
Causes of Edema
Even though it’s not usually dangerous, edema can sometimes indicate a more serious health complication, such as kidney or heart failure. Therefore, it’s best to consult your doctor if the symptoms last for too long.
The most common causes of edema include pregnancy, physical inactivity, premenstrual syndrome, medications, and sedentary lifestyle.
But, here are several other not so known causes of this uncomfortable condition. Some of them might surprise you.
You might be surprised to find out that dehydration can be the cause of your edema. But, a dehydrated body tries to conserve as much water as possible. So, this could be the reason for your abdominal bloating.
Therefore, drink plenty of water and avoid caffeinated drinks and soda.
But, if you drink lots of water regularly, your condition was unlikely caused by dehydration. In such case, it might be caused by some of the following conditions.
2. Lack of Magnesium
Magnesium deficiency might also cause water retention. Research has shown that it in women with premenstrual symptoms can be reduced by a daily dose of 200 milligrams.
Another possible cause for your water retention is magnesium deficiency. Even though you can take magnesium supplements, you can also increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods.
The best food sources of this mineral are dark green vegetables, peas, whole grains, dark chocolate, dried fruits, avocado, and nuts.
3. Excessive Intake of Sodium
If you eat plenty of sodium-rich foods and don’t drink enough water, your body could start accumulating the excess fluid, thus causing water retention.
So, make sure you avoid sodium-rich foods, such as processed meat, canned veggies, and condiments. Also, replace the table salt with Himalayan or Celtic sea salt.
4. Lack of Vitamin B6
Lack of this vitamin could be another cause of water retention. One research showed that women with premenstrual syndrome experienced edema as one of their symptoms. After increasing their vitamin B6 intake, their condition was significantly improved.
Add the following foods to your diet to boost your vitamin B6 levels: bananas, tuna, chicken, dried fruits, sunflower seeds, potatoes with skin, pistachio nuts, lean beef, turkey, and whole foods.
5. Lack of Potassium
This mineral controls the water balance in your body, along with sodium, and improves the function of your cells, tissues, and organs. So, lack of potassium can disturb the water balance, leading to edema.
To improve your condition, increase your potassium intake and reduce your sodium levels by eating watermelons, honey lemons, and rockmelons.
6. Consuming Too Much Processed Foods
Processed foods are high in sodium and sugar, which increase the risk of edema. Moreover, they are packed with toxic artificial additives which overburden the liver and kidneys.
Improper function of your kidneys would mean an inability to flush out excess fluids from your body.
But, you can use the following natural diuretics to help reduce your symptoms of edema:
Now that you know the possible causes of edema, you can avoid them to help prevent and reduce your edema symptoms.