You have probably heard someone who is feeling a little bloated to say “I’m just holding some water.” As much funny as it sounds, it can truly be a source of swelling and a couple of excess pounds on the body.
What is Water Retention?
Water retention is a term for the excessive accumulation of fluid in the circulatory system, body tissues, or cavities in the system. Swelling which occurs due to water retention is known as edema. Edema can affect the hands, arms, ankles, legs, and feet. The body is composed of 70 percent water, and excess water is excreted through the urine. This system can be disturbed in various ways, causing the body to hold onto too much water.
Several surprising ways water retention might be occurring in your body:
- Excessive Sodium Intake
Salt is composed of two electrolytes-sodium and chloride. Electrolyte balance can be impacted when either intake or loss is excessive, so high quantities of sodium in the body can cause edema. Statistics show that up to 90 percent of Americans are eating too much sodium.
- Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency
A deficiency in vitamin B1 is one of the most common causes of fluid retention. Lack of this vitamin often leads to stiff joints, swelling, and aching. Potassium is yet another nutrient critical for proper function of cells, tissues, and organs, and low levels of it can cause edema.
- Certain Medications
Drugs which open the blood vessels, known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) estrogen medications, several chemotherapy drugs, some diabetes medication, vasodilators, and calcium blockers can cause edema.
Natural Remedies for Reducing Water Retention
Edema is not a disease, it is a symptom. If you are dealing with edema, the body is trying to tell you that something isn’t right. Poor circulation, stress, hypertension, lack of physical activity, allergies, and menstruation are all potential causes of water retention.
Thanks to its diuretic effect, dandelion is a great solution for removing excess fluid from the body. It is high in potassium, which reduces sodium levels naturally. Steep a teaspoon of dried dandelion in a cup of hot water for about ten minutes, then strain. Drink up to three times daily.
Just like dandelion, parsley also has strong diuretic properties. To make parsley tea, put two teaspoons of dried parsley leaves in a cup of hot water and steep for ten minutes. Drink up to three times daily.
Nettle has long been used to treat joint pain and remove excess water from the body. Pour hot water with three teaspoons of dried leaves and sip up to four cups daily.
Fennel also acts as a diuretic and helps increase the output of water and sodium through the kidneys. Put a teaspoon of fennel seeds in a cup of hot water, steep for ten minutes, strain, and drink up.
An Epsom salt bath can go a long way in eliminating excess water through reverse osmosis. In other words, it works by drawing out excess water and toxins from the body. All you have to do is to mix two cups of this salt in warm bath water and soak for fifteen minutes. For optimal results, repeat up to three times a week.