Water retention or edema is caused by water leaking into the body's tissues from the blood. Generally, the lymphatic system will drain the water back into the bloodstream but if it is not properly drained you will have swelling of the hands, feet, legs and abdominal cavity. Hormones, salty foods and side effects from drugs can cause water retention. However, there are some home remedies you can take to relieve your symptoms of water retention.
A diet high in fried and processed foods, sodium and carbohydrates can lead to water retention. According to the Mayo Clinic, 77% of the sodium you eat comes from prepared foods. High sodium intake can lead to kidney problems and elevated blood pressure. Suzanne Trupin, M.D,, who is head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign, recommends eliminating your salt shaker altogether. Try eating a diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and lean meats. Up your potassium intake by eating a banana. Potassium helps get rid of excess water. Add lemon, which is a natural diuretic, to your water.
Eat smaller meals throughout the day. Blood sugar fluctuations can lead to water retention. Women should try to have five meals filled with fibrous carbohydrates such as wheat crackers, whole grain bread, oatmeal or wheat couscous prior to having their period. By maintaining a steady blood sugar level, your body won't take sugar from cells, which leaves empty cells to fill with water, thus ushering in water retention. Also take 1,000 mg of calcium. A study conducted by the Metropolitan Hospital in New York City found that women who upped their calcium intake before their menstrual cycle had a 50 percent reduction in water retention.
Water and Herbs
Water will actually reduce the amount of water in your body. It flushes excess water and other toxins out of your body. Take herbs that support the lymphatic system, such as 150 mg of butcher's broom extract three times a day, vitamin C to be taken daily and hesperidin. Stimulate the kidneys by taking goldenrod, corn silk and dandelion leaves. Horse chestnut seed, cleavers and junipers have shown promise in relieving symptoms of edema. Try out these home remedies before you resort to an over-the-counter diuretic. These harsh diuretics can strip the cells of potassium and cause rapid heart beat and fainting.