6 causes of water retention and how to reverse it

Water retention is the subject of our discussion today. Otherwise called edema, it is actually the accumulation of fluids in the cavities and tissues as well as the circulatory system. It can lead to swollen legs, ankles, feet and hands. It mostly occurs to women before their period or during pregnancy, but it can also occur on people who are not physically active, somebody who is bedridden, people on long-term medication or during a long flight.

water retention

Nevertheless, most of the causes of water retention are not life-threatening, but still, it can be a symptom of some very serious medical conditions like heart failure or kidney disease. If there are not any underlying conditions, you can avoid water retention and decrease the swelling it brings.

Here, we’re discussing about 6 causes of water retention, so you can stop or avoid doing the things which causes the swelling.

Excessive Intake of Sodium

Your body can go into “water retention” mode because of consuming foods which are rich in salt and not drinking enough water. Water can make the cells expand to 20 times.

But, you should know that salt is not the only product rich in sodium. It is also present in processed foods like processed meat, some condiments and canned vegetables.

There are still “good” kinds of salt like Himalayan or Celtic sea salt, which reverse the damage done by the table salt.

Deficiency in Magnesium

Water retention is also a symptom of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is essential for nearly all body functions and if deficient, various functions might not perform as they need to, thereby causing water retention.

A study managed to discover that 200 mg of magnesium on a daily basis can reduce edema in woman with premenstrual symptoms. Relieve this condition by consuming foods high in magnesium or by taking a magnesium supplement. Foods that rich in magnesium include: dried fruits, dark chocolate, yogurt, peas, spinach, whole grains, nuts, dark green vegetables and avocados.

Vitamin B6 Deficiency

If vitamin B6 is deficient, it can definitely lead to water retention.

In a study published in the Journal of Caring Sciences, the researchers managed to prove that women who had edema caused by premenstrual syndrome, had improvements thanks to the vitamin B6.

B6 is a water-soluble vitamin and it requires a number of cofactors to function. The best thing for you to get it would be from consuming whole foods.

Foods high in this vitamin are lean beef, turkey, chicken, tuna, and potatoes with skin, bananas, dried fruit, pistachio nuts, and sunflower seeds.

Magnesium Deficiency

One of the minerals responsible for proper function of the organs, tissues and cells in the body is potassium. It’s an electrolyte critical for maintaining normal water balance in the body.

Potassium levels can drop by eating too much salt, and not eating foods which are rich in potassium. This can definitely cause water retention.

Potassium deficiency can also lead to grave health issues like weight gain, cramps and muscle spasms.

This mineral reduces the sodium levels, at the same time reducing water retention.

Potassium is present in most fruits, but honeymelon, rockmelon and watermelon are especially rich in this mineral.


Insufficient amounts of water can lead to dehydration. When this happens, the body enters its survival mode and it retains water.

Consuming plenty of water and juices abundant in potassium on a regular basis is going to improve this condition.

It is very important to know the amount of water you need to drink. Soda drinks and coffee dehydrate the cells even more.

Excessive Consumption of Processed Foods

Processed foods also contain many artificial food additives which act as toxins and put burden on the kidneys and the liver apart from being high in sugar and sodium.

Foods rich in sugar, artificial sweeteners in particular, lead to rapid increase in insulin levels and blood sugar.

Everyone who consumes processed foods needs to reduce the consumption immediately. An excellent way of detoxifying the body is by eliminating chronic ailments and making sure your body is in excellent shape.

Beneficial Herbs for Reducing Edema

Here are some of the most beneficial herbs with diuretic properties, so they can decrease water retention:

  • Horsetail
  • Dandelion
  • Hibiscus
  • Parsley
  • Nettle
  • Corn silk
  • Fennel
  • Garlic