October 23, 2009

Natural Home Remedies For Water Retention

Posted in Category : Natural Cures

The abnormal collection of water within the tissue of the body is known as water retention or edema.  The excessive buildup of fluid in the circulatory system, cavities, and body tissues results in swelling in the feet and legs. Water retention is generally observed in pregnant women and seniors. However, edema can occur both in men and women of any age.

What is Water Retention?

Our body consists of 70% water, and the body itself has the capacity of balancing the water levels, depending on the food we eat.  When the body tissues are unable to flush out excess fluid from the body, water retention in body is observed. Excessive salt and alcohol intake and hormonal imbalances associated with the menstrual cycle are some of the causes of edema. Apart from these general causes, fluid retention may be observed due to pathological causes that result in abnormalities in the body. These include heart failure, kidney failure, liver failure, lung diseases, thyroid disorders, etc. Swollen ankles and sudden gain in weight are some of the symptoms of water retention. Inactivity for long periods is one of the causes of water retention in the legs. So, avoid standing or sitting in the same position for long time. Changing the posture or taking a few steps in between helps to prevent collection of water in the feet. Improving blood circulation by keeping pillows below the leg and using stockings also helps control edema.

Natural Remedies

Water retention that is caused by general causes (and not any serious underlying condition) can be treated easily with certain home remedies. However, it is best to consult a doctor and determine the exact cause before opting for home remedies. In certain cases, medical intervention is absolutely necessary. Some of the simple natural remedies to relieve edema include the following.

  • Minimize salt intake. Although sodium is essential to regulate fluid levels, excess sodium can cause excessive fluid retention. Hence, stay away from foods that are high in salt, such as potato chips. Avoid processed foods like canned and tinned meat, which tend to contain hidden salt. Also, adding salt to meals should be stopped and the amount of salt used in cooking should be reduced.
  • Avoid dehydrating elements like caffeine and alcohol. Intake of too much of caffeine and alcohol will dehydrate the body. When the body is dehydrated, it starts to retain water.
  • Ensure to drink minimum eight cups of water a day. This ensures that toxins are flushed out easily and the body is kept well hydrated, making it less likely that it will retain fluid and water.
  • Intake of diuretics helps to flush out excess water. However, when the medication is stopped, fluid retention may recur. Natural diuretics include corn silk, dandelion leaf, horsetail, and cranberry juice have a mild diuretic action and do not lead to recurrence.
  • Consuming plenty of fruits like bananas and vegetables like cabbage prevent water retention in the cells and tissues; this one of the effective home remedies for water retention.
  • Increase fiber content in the diet and eat low protein foods. Although, protein is the building block of the body, some of the protein-rich foods may cause fluid retention, owing to the excess grease and sodium. Low fat animal proteins such as fish, turkey, skinless chicken and vegetable protein sources like soya are good low protein sources.
  • Vitamins B6, B5, and D and calcium help to remove excess fluids. Brown rice, red meat, fresh fruits, low fat dairy foods are good sources.
  • Exercise regularly. Poor blood circulation and stress cause fluid retention. Exercise keeps the muscles and blood vessels functioning normally and improves circulation. In addition, exercises help to release endorphins that cause stress.

Treatment – Cure for Water Retention

Treatment and cure for water retention depends on the underlying cause. Lifestyle changes like a low salt diet and avoiding alcohol intake are recommended for water retention caused by general causes. Water retention due to an underlying medical condition is treated depending on the disease. For hypothyroidism, hormone replacement is recommended. If drugs are the cause, changes in the medication or dosage is prescribed. Dietary adjustments are recommended if the cause is malnutrition.


  1. http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Fluid_retention
  2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/edema.html