Water retention is a common issue for many people as most of the population lead a sedentary lifestyle with little or none physical activity or are simply on certain medical treatment. Swollen feet or legs are really not nice to look at, but aside the aesthetic issue they can be the reason for the occurrence of many health issues. Hence, the need for determining the root of this condition is very important so that you can prevent the onset of any other more serious disease.
Edema is the medical term for water retention and it is manifested by water or fluid accumulation in the tissues, cavities and circulatory system that results in the swelling of the feet or legs. This is the common manifestation of this condition, but it can get accompanied by bloated belly or unexplained weight gain. For instance, an affected person of water retention can take up to 3 kg in 24 hours without any diet change.
What are the causes of water retention?
- Protein deficiency
Nutritional imbalance such as protein shortage can lead to water retention. The human blood is made of over 60% water and proteins that support the production of albumin by the liver. This substance keeps the water in the blood, but if there is protein shortage, the water will migrate and accumulate in the tissues.
- Excess sodium
We all use salt in our meals, but if we overdo it, then it can lead to water retention, especially if we solely use table salt that is packed with sodium. The excess of salt is being stored in the tissues that will attract water and thus cause the edema as it will prevent the removal of water.
When the body is deficient of water it becomes dehydrated that negatively affects its whole being. Its optimal function becomes deteriorated resulting in the occurrence of many diseases. In such case the body wants to protect itself from the lack of water and pushes some parts of the body to capture the available reserves. Therefore, some body parts can be swollen as a result of this process.
In the pregnancy period the uterus exerts pressure on the vena cava which is accountable for the blood flow coming from the lower limbs and going up to the heart muscle. The more of the volume of this organ becomes bigger, the more the liquids remain in the legs thereby leading to water retention. This disorder can result also due to the hormonal changes that occur in this period particularly due to the rich production of progesterone thus making the body to store water and excess sodium.
Potassium is a valuable mineral for the body and there are foods that are packed with it like the fish, bananas, and nuts. According to Sara Stanner of the British Nutrition Foundation, potassium is one of the regulating substances for kidney activity of body fluids. Therefore, if the body lacks its presence the removal of liquids will get hampered and thus lead to the occurrence of water retention.
How to prevent water retention?
- Optimal body hydration
Your body will function at its best when it receives plenty of liquids. Bear in mind that you should not overdo it that will lead to bloating issues. Your body gets hydrated and via the intake of certain foods like the fruits and vegetables that are packed with water. Those are watermelon, cucumber, tomato, strawberries, and so on.
- Moderate intake of salt
Our body needs salt but the excess intake can cause water retention among other health issues. Regulate its intake and try to replace it with other spices and monitor the intake of foods that are packed with sodium like cheese, processed meats, white bread, etc.
- Consume more proteins and less carbohydrates
Proteins take a part in the body’s reabsorption of water and because of that they should be introduced in our diet in a form of white meat, eggs, fish, cereals and legumes. You should lower the consumption of carbohydrates particularly the ones that are found in white rice, bread, and pasta.
- Take in more fiber
Fiber is very important for good digestive system that will help in the fight against constipation and bloating. Beneficial fiber foods are lemons that can release excess water from the kidneys and thus prevent the occurrence of water retention.
There are also other food ingredients and methods that can fight water retention. However, it is always best first to consult a doctor before initiating any new method.