Edema or otherwise called water retention is a condition which causes swollen ankles, feet, hands, or legs. It is usually characterized by the accumulation of fluids in the tissues, circulatory system, and cavities.

Edema is mainly caused by not being physically active, pregnancy, sedentary lifestyle, premenstrual syndrome, as well as certain medications. Swelling can also occur because of sitting for a long time in a bus or on a flight.

Edema is mostly not serious, but it can sometimes show kidney disease or heart failure, so you must be careful and treat it as soon as you find out about it.

In this article, we’re going to suggest you some of the most common causes of edema. We’re also going to present you how to avoid water retention by reducing the swelling only if there is no underlying condition.


  1. Excessive Sodium Intake

If you don’t drink enough water or maybe your nutrition is based on sodium-rich foods, your body will use its water reserves which results in water retention. Water can help us expand the human cells up to 20 times. You must know which foods are rich in sodium and have high amounts of it in order to avoid them.

Sodium is also a part of some condiments, processed meat canned vegetables and other processed foods. Celtic and Himalayan sea salt are healthier alternatives because they can reverse the water retention caused by table salt.

  1. Magnesium Deficiency

Edema can also be caused by lack of magnesium. Most functions of our body need this mineral, so if you lack it, these functions may be slowed down, which will later lead to water retention.

According to a research, taking 200 milligrams of magnesium every day can help in reducing water retention in women who have premenstrual symptoms. You can relieve this condition if you increase the intake of magnesium-rich foods or take it as a supplement.

Foods which have the highest amount of magnesium are: spinach, dark green veggies, dried fruits, dark peas, chocolate, avocados, whole grains and nuts.

  1. Lack of Vitamin B6

Edema can occur because of lack of vitamin B6. It’s extremely important for a good water balance in your body.

According to a study published in the Journal of Caring Sciences, women who experienced water retention caused by premenstrual syndrome took vitamin B6 every day and managed to prove that their condition was soon improved. B6 is water-soluble, so it needs numerous cofactors to function properly. Try to obtain it from whole foods.

Vitamin B6 can be mostly obtained by potatoes with their skin, lean beef, chicken, tuna, turkey, bananas, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, as well as pistachio nuts.

  1. Lack of Potassium

Every tissue, cell and organ in our body needs potassium to function well. It is also very important for a normal balance ofwater in the body.

Potassium deficiency can occur because you don’t consume foods which are rich enough in potassium but are high in salt. Lack of this mineral can cause edema, muscle spasms, weight gain, as well as cramps. Potassium can reduce the levels of sodium so it can definitely prevent water retention.

Most fruits contain this mineral, but you can especially find it in honey melon, watermelon and rockmelon.

  1. Dehydration

As we all know, dehydration occurs because of not drinking enough water. Your body becomes forced to retain water so it can survive which causes swelling in your hands, feet, ankles, or legs. This condition can be improved easily by drinking enough water as well as potassium-rich juices. You must also avoid coffee and soda drinks.

  1. Excessive Consumption of Processed Foods

Processed foods contain very high amounts of sugar and sodium which are some of the greatest causes for the appearance of water retention. They are also full of artificial food additives which have a toxic nature and mostly harm the kidneys as well as the liver.

Foods high in sugar like for example artificial sweeteners can cause spikes in the levels of blood sugarandinsulin. Try to avoid processed foods as much as possible.


Some plants that we’re going to present you here can definitely help you reduce edema:

  • Hibiscus
  • Horsetail
  • Dandelion
  • Nettle
  • Parsley
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Corn silk