Roughly 66% of the human body is water, which means that water is everywhere inside the body. Water is part of the key makeup of cytoplasm, the main element of cells. Having water in the body isn’t a problem, unless the body decides to hold on to excess water. That is when problems occur.
What Is Water Retention?
To put it simply, water retention is the build up of fluid inside the body. This is also known as fluid retention or edema. Occurring in the circulatory system and bodily tissues/cavities, water retention typically causes swollen ankles, feet, legs, hands, or wrists. Long-term water retention can have harmful effects on the human body, which is why it is best to help the body get rid of excess water.
Eat Potassium-Rich Foods
We usually recommend eating potassium-rich fruits and vegetables for those with high blood pressure because the potassium works to rid excess sodium from the body. By reducing sodium levels and increasing urine production, potassium-rich foods are great for getting rid of excess water. Eat bananas, avocados, tomatoes, spinach, kale, or sweet potatoes.
Drink More Water
Surprisingly enough, dehydration is one of the primary causes of water retention. When the body is dehydrated, it goes into survival mode and holds on to as much water as possible. Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and flush toxins from the body. Try to avoid sodas, sugary juices, or coffee because they dehydrate your cells.
When you lead a sedentary lifestyle and don’t get at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity a day, water slowly starts to build up in your system. Exercise is a great natural defense against swollen legs and ankles. Try to take the stairs instead of the elevator or take the time to stretch several times during work hours. You can also take part in exercise classes to help motivate you.
Acupuncture can be used to treat conditions such as lymph edema, ankle edema, leg edema, or arm edema, among others. A skilled acupuncturist is able to assess the underlying nutritional deficiencies that causing poor circulation. In Chinese Medicine, there is Qi Edema and Water Edema. The acupuncturist will insert needles in acupressure points that correspond to the type of edema you have. They can also use traditional herbs to properly address the situation.
Many cultures have used dandelion as an herbal diuretic for hundreds of years. By taking dandelion, you may decrease water retention by urinating more often. It is more beneficial when consumed as a leaf extract. Brew dandelion flowers/leaves into a tea and drink once a day.
Eat Less Salt
If you eat a lot of salty foods, chances are that you retain more water than people who have a lower sodium intake. Salt binds to water and maintains fluids inside and outside of cells. Decreasing your salt intake could help lower water retention in the body. Try to avoid processed foods, fast food, refined carbs, meat, and meat products.