Diet To Deal with Edema
Edema or water retention is a common medical condition where the person observes swelling or puffiness at extremities of the body such as feet, ankle, arms, and fingers. The swelling can be attributed to an excess accumulation of fluids in interstitial cellular spaces (spaces in between cells) and cavities of the body such as pleural cavity in lungs or peritoneal cavities in abdomen. Besides peripheral edema (in arms and legs), other forms of edema can be observed in heart, brain, eyes, and liver due to malnutrition, impaired electrolyte balance, congestive heart diseases, hormonal fluctuations or medication side effects. An easy way to check the severity of pitting edema is by applying pressure on the skin at the site of the swelling and then observing the resulting indentation.
Reduce Table Salt Intake
One of the most common causes of water retention is excess of salt in the body that causes leaking of intracellular fluid into extracellular spaces. Thus, limiting the sodium levels in the diet to 2300mg/d is recommended. Watch out for the amount of table salt consumed (1 tsp provides 1500mg of sodium) and also hidden sources of sodium in our diets such as pickles, chutneys, processed foods, chips, cheese, canned soups, and even cakes.
Modification In Your Meal
Planning meals around whole grains, beans, fresh fruits, and vegetables; reading nutritional labels for packaged foods and using salt adjuncts like herbs, lime juices, and spices are useful tricks to reduce edema, control high blood pressure and heart diseases.
Including dietary sources of potassium such as bananas, nuts, dark greens and dried apricots aid in maintaining an optimum electrolyte balance in the body.
Increase Fluid Intake
It is time to dispel the common myth that ‘water causes water retention’. Increasing fluid intake to 3L per day will help to lower the sodium concentration and edema symptoms.
Natural Diuretics Are Helpful
Add natural diuretics such as green tea, ginger juice, cucumbers and watermelon in diet and consume antioxidant-rich foods like berries, pumpkin seeds, and fish to fight inflammation, boost circulation and reduce edema.
Additionally, other strategies such as keeping the feet elevated, wearing support stockings, reducing excess weight, limiting intake of caffeine and alcohol and getting cold massages can have positive effects.
Appropriate dietary modifications can help to reduce edema and its related swelling, discomfort, and complications.