Lots of people complain of feeling puffy, bloated, sluggish and sometimes too they can experience swelling throughout the body on the hands, legs, ankles, feet around the eyes. Sometimes people think this is due to drinking too much water…when the opposite in fact is true.
This is usually called water retention or Oedema. The body is holding onto any fluid it has so the cells can work but the body can actually be dehydrated. As we age water finds it more difficult to penetrate the cells. To make it simple…think of it like this…sodium attracts water…leave a little salt out on a dry table and a couple of hours later it will have absorbed moisture from the air and feel damp…just like damp salt mills, the salt gets stuck.
The same happens within you, with high amount of Sodium/salt in your diet through adding salt or hidden salts in snacks, crisps, takeaways, processed foods, cereals, MSG ( Mono sodium glutamate)…the body cannot get rid of this excess salt so it sits in the cells holding onto the fluid. Reduce your salt intake today, monitor your swollen ankles, puffy eyes over the next 2-3 weeks. A certain level of sea salt or Himalayan rock salt is very important for your system to work properly, too much or too little can cause problems.
When there is fluid build-up only around the joints like the knee or elbow regions it may be due to injuries and localised inflammation in that area or it may be due to chronic inflammation in the body from toxicity or some other imbalance in the body.
Your body simply cannot function without sufficient fluids especially water. Fluids like alcohol, fizzy drinks, tea, coffee, are much more dehydrating in the body. Fluid retention is also linked to a sluggish lymphatic system and toxins and food intolerances may all be involved too.
If you are suspicious of a food item, cut it out for a few weeks and see what improvements you note.
Most common culprits are grains such as gluten/wheat and dairy foods, these can act like sponges in your body holding on to the fluid. It may also arise during pregnancy but usually disappears following birth. Standing for long periods may be another cause especially in the heat.
Eat lots of fruit & vegetables rich in potassium, seaweeds are great such as kelp, nori, add them to soups or salads. ..Include good Quality protein into your diet like Quinoa, spirulina, wheatgrass, chicken, turkey, eggs etc. Turmeric powder is great at strengthening and cleansing your kidneys and liver which are very important for clearing out toxins and maintaining correct fluid balance in the body. Nettle tea, Dandelion tea, fennel tea,Vitamin C, B- complex, can all help to clear out the system and reduce water retention.
Juicing is fabulous and here is an easy one to get the waste and toxicity out of your body.
- 2 golden delicious apples
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/2 cup string beans
- 1 cup lettuce leaves
- 1 cucumber
- 1/2 lemon peeled
- 4 sticks celery.
Juice the lot and drink daily. Keep processed foods and sugars to a minimum.
Exercise is very important, rebounding and skin brushing are both particularly great for boosting the lymphatic system but any form of exercise which you enjoy is good to get the body moving.
Other factors such as thyroid unbalances, high histamine levels and high homocysteine levels in the body too can cause fluid retention and swelling of various limbs at various times. See if you can identify specific patterns if this is problem for you.
When I work with my clients we look at all of the above areas plus their medical history of course to re-correct the imbalance and get the body working like it is meant too.
Whatever the cause fluid retention/swelling and inflammation are not normal and therefore needs addressing. Sudden or prolonged unexplained water retention should always be checked out by your doctor.