Water retention in the body. List of foods

Water retention, or edema, is defined as an excessive accumulation of fluid in the circulatory system, tissues or cavities of the body. 

We consist of about 60-70% water. Water is contained in organs, muscles and even bones. But sometimes the body holds too much water, and then there is swelling of the feet, ankles, hands, face.

Water retention is often temporary and can be easily eliminated. However, this may be a sign of a serious illness. In particular, weight may increase, and no diets and exercises will help you lose extra pounds.

Why water retention happens in the body

Edema occurs when small blood vessels leak fluid into nearby tissues. Excess fluid accumulates and causes swelling of the surrounding tissues. There can be many reasons for edema: a dislocation, a bee sting or a skin infection. By the way, in the case of an infection, edema helps the body to heal, since more white blood cells fighting the infection get into the swollen area.

Other reasons that the fluid is retained in the body can be caused by a number of conditions and diseases. The most common reason is too much salt in the diet. The cause may be: diseases of the heart, kidneys, liver, side effects from certain medications, a malfunction of the lymphatic system. 

Other common causes:

A long stay standing on your feet.
Hot weather.
Burns, including sunburn.
Lack of protein or vitamin B1 (thiamine) in the diet.
Taking medications (hypotensive) for high blood pressure, corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Chronic venous insufficiency: weakened vein valves on the legs cannot effectively return blood to the heart.

Water retention: symptoms

Fluid retention can be accompanied by symptoms that depend on the underlying disease or disorder. For example, clinical symptoms of water retention in the body associated with diseases of the cardiovascular system:

Chest pain or pressure
Inability to move for a long time
Shortness of breath

Other symptoms that may occur together with fluid retention:

Reduction of body hair, especially in areas of edema.
Discomfort or pain in the part of the body where the swelling occurs.
Reduced ability to move the part of the body affected by edema.
Changes in the condition of the skin in areas affected by edema: thickening, loss of elasticity, etc.
Rapid weight gain or weight fluctuations.
When pressed, the skin can hold the dent for several seconds.

There are more serious symptoms that may indicate a life-threatening condition:

Shortness of breath
Inability to urinate
Loss of consciousness

What foods retain water in the body: list

Edema is a serious health problem, so you need to understand which products retain water in the human body. The mechanism of water retention depends on the peculiarities of digestion of these products. For example, gas formation, bloating and increased acidity lead to water retention.

Pay attention to the list of products that lead to edema. They can be excluded from the diet or reduced in number:

Foods rich in sodium. Table salt is one of the main causes of water retention. How salt retains water in the body has been known for a long time, but it is not so easy to exclude the product from the diet. Salt is present in almost everything that we eat: in processed and ready-made products, bread, etc. Table salt contains about 40 % sodium, which the body dilutes with water, then the excess liquid is retained. Given this fact, you can remove excess fluid from the body by replacing salt with spices.

Carbonated drinks and drinks with a high acid content. In addition to soda, this list includes coffee, caffeinated drinks, fermented tea and some fruit juices.

Vegetables of the cruciferous family. White cabbage, broccoli, radish, horseradish also retain water in the body of men and women. This is due to the fact that they contain raffinose — a sugar that remains undigested until it is fermented by bacteria in the intestine.

Apples. This product is an integral part of a healthy diet. However, the fruit contains fructose and sorbitol, which are difficult for some people to digest, which leads to puffiness.

Starch. Most products rich in starch (potatoes, corn, pasta, wheat, etc.), products made of refined wheat flour, as they are difficult to digest, emit gas, are rich in fats and can cause water retention.

Dairy products. In people with lactose intolerance, the body cannot digest dairy products, so they move to the colon, where bacteria try to break them down.

Legumes. These products are rich in proteins, but at the same time they contain such an amount of sugar and dietary fiber that it is not easy for the body to digest.

Spicy and fried dishes. The stomach takes much longer to break down fats and digest them properly. Spicy food stimulates the secretion of gastric juice and can cause an increase in acidity.

How alcohol causes water retention in the body

Alcohol is a toxin, and the body needs water to remove the poison. Therefore, on the one hand, the body itself retains water to help the liver cope with toxins, and on the other — alcohol disrupts the excretory function of the kidneys — and fluid accumulates in the tissues.

The situation can be worsened by the use of fried, salty and spicy food together with alcohol. How long alcohol retains water in the body depends on many factors: the strength of drinks, their quantity, the accompanying food and, of course, the state of health of the person who uses alcohol poison.