Water retention

Water retention means that water accumulates in the body, which causes a swelling of some body parts, such as the belly, the ankles or the feet. Water retention can be caused by or can cause high blood pressure. A lack of fluid intake in the diet can lead to water retention by the body, in an attempt to avoid dehydration.

SYMPTOMS

HEALTH RECOMMENDATIONS

Diet

To help control water retention, a low sodium (table salt) diet is recommended. For example, cooked meats, prepared meals, potato chips, cheese, canned foods, etc are often high in sodium and are significant contributors to our daily sodium intake. Read food labels before purchase and do some home cooking whenever possible. This is the unique way to ensure a reduced sodium levels in our diet.

Hydration

Drinking great amounts of water regularly is necessary for the kidneys to work properly. One would think decreasing water intake is the solution to edema or water retention, but this would have the reverse effect, forcing the body to store body fluids to avoid dehydration. Beware of long term use of diuretics such as coffee, tea or alcohol since they might contribute to dehydration.

Basic advice

  • Avoid standing for prolonged periods and elevate your legs as much as possible while sitting if water retention is occurring mainly in the lower limbs such as legs, ankles or feet.
  • Do not wear tight socks that could retain water in the lower limbs.
  • Drink sufficient amounts of water so your body does not have to store water to prevent dehydration.
  • Avoid salt, which favours water accumulation in the tissues.

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