What to Do When You Have Fluid Retention
Fluid retention is one of the main factors of weight gain. It can be due to various reasons such as pregnancy, menopause, cirrhosis, heart failure, or simply a sedentary life, among other factors.
In general terms, fluid retention is a swelling that occurs in different parts of the body, such as the ankles, arms, legs, abdomen, and wrists.
During pregnancy, it’s quite common due to hormonal changes, especially when it occurs in the ankles and feet. However, if it occurs in an exaggerated way, it’s advisable to consult your doctor.
Tips to prevent and relieve fluid retention
Throughout this article, we’ll explain the tips that the Spanish Heart Foundation has provided to help prevent or alleviate the symptoms of fluid retention. Here’s what we’ll be talking about in more detail:
- Practice physical exercise
- Eat diuretic foods
- Eat foods rich in potassium
- Consume foods that are rich in magnesium
- Reduce your consumption of foods with sodium
Practice physical exercise to relieve fluid retention
Fluid retention can often be caused by a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, to avoid or cope with it, physical exercise is a good solution.
Practicing physical exercise is one of the best tips and habits that are recommended to avoid fluid retention and improve the condition of the body in general, as pointed out by different investigations. Physical activity should be done constantly and moderately, according to your personal characteristics (age, sex, health status, lifestyle, etc.).
Some of the activities that can be useful to relieve fluid retention can be walking, running, cycling or swimming, dancing, among many others. Do what you like, but try to do it consistently: at least half an hour three days a week is the best option.
Consume diuretic foods to reduce fluid retention
The diuretic properties of some foods may help eliminate excess fluids from the body. Among the foods that are attributed diuretic effects, we find:
- Watermelon: This is mainly recommended for its high percentage of water, which constitutes more than 95% of the fruit.
- Apple cider vinegar: This can help to balance the level of potassium in the body, as this is often affected by fluid retention. Take advantage of it to dress your salads and stop adding salt to them.
- Green tea: Different studies indicate that green tea has diuretic and antioxidant properties. So, instead of consuming cola and other industrial soft drinks, you can enjoy a cup of green tea to help your body eliminate retained fluids!
- Oranges: Thanks to their water content and vitamin C, oranges promote the functioning of the kidneys and accelerate the process of elimination of toxins in the body.
- Artichokes: Alternative medicine uses these mainly in infusions (although they can be consumed in many ways) to help lose weight and eliminate retained fluids. This is thanks to their high fiber and water content, and their respective diuretic properties.
- Other herbs like dandelion, parsley, and horsetail: Finally, these herbs are attributed to diuretic properties and therefore are used in infusions against fluid retention.
Overall, this list can help you to introduce some foods into your diet in order to obtain an extra supply of water and fiber and facilitate the elimination of retained fluids. The best option is to combine them with other healthy foods, as part of a balanced diet.
In fact, many fruits, vegetables, and herbs can be useful both to obtain various nutrients and to vary your weekly diet and try different recipes, that are full of healthy ingredients and flavors. It’s worth taking advantage of them regularly, especially those that are in season.
When it comes to combating a symptom as annoying as fluid retention, the best bet is never to base your diet only on a certain food group. (This is, of course, unless your doctor so indicates your should for some specific reason).
On the other hand, when you want to take advantage of any natural remedy (such as a dandelion infusion), it’s important to discuss it first with your doctor and follow their instructions. At the same time, avoid combining the simultaneous consumption of several natural remedies, because instead of promoting relief, they could make it difficult for the discomfort to subside.
We think you’d like to read: The Benefits of Elevating Your Legs for 20 Minutes Per Day
Avoid foods with sodium
Also, as mentioned above, salt may contribute to fluid retention. That’s why it should be avoided as much as possible, or at the very least minimized.
In fact, it should be noted that many of the foods eaten daily such as sausages, canned foods, and alcohol contain a high level of sodium.
Also, another reason why low levels of salt should be consumed is that it may increase the chances of suffering from kidney stones. It may also decrease the sensitivity of your taste buds, among other alterations.
Take advantage of foods rich in potassium
This element is essential to keep our bodies in balance.
According to data from the National Institutes of Health, potassium is an electrolyte. Together with other nutrients, it controls blood pressure and favors the elimination of liquids, among other functions.
This component is found in some fruits, especially in kiwis, melons, oranges, and bananas.
Consume foods with magnesium to reduce fluid retention
A 2012 article published in the Journal of Caring Sciences states that magnesium can help improve premenstrual symptoms, including excess fluids. In fact, it can even help prevent heart problems and regulate insulin in the body.
Also, magnesium is good for bone care, to relieve migraines, and to reduce the risk of the onset of certain diseases, such as type II diabetes.
Foods that are high in potassium include wheat or oat bran, dried herbs such as coriander, flax, and sunflower seeds, as well as milk, among others.
Some finals tips to prevent fluid retention
Finally, just as it’s important that you follow the above tips as part of an active lifestyle, you should bear in mind that rest – to a certain extent – is also good for preventing fluid retention.
In this sense, at the end of the day, it’s good that you take some time to elevate your legs when you have swollen feet or just want to rest and relieve the heaviness.
If despite following these tips, the problems still don’t disappear, it’s best to consult a doctor. They can help tell you the most appropriate guidelines and – of course – help you prevent complications.