A long period of inactivity, a situation that has forced us home for weeks and maybe a diet low in fruit and vegetables and rich, instead, in processed foods full of salt ... here are some reasons why many of us may be struggling with an increased water retention especially in the legs and ankles. In this article we will not talk about edema caused by diseases but we will focus on fluid retention caused by lifestyle. So let's see some natural remedies that can be added to a resumption of a moderate physical activity and that can help in this case.
Some precautions regarding diet can help to reduce the symptoms of edema in the lower limbs. First, as reported also in the scientific articles dedicated to the topic, it would be good to limit the consumption of sodium. Therefore, less salt and processed foods that contain salt (O'Brien et al, Am Fam Physician, 2005). But against water retention there are not only foods not recommended, some foods, on the contrary, can help. This is the case, for example, of foods rich in flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that protect the microcirculation and counteract the accumulation of liquid in the lower limbs (Christie et al, Phytother Res, 2001). Flavonoids are found in berries, grapes, tea or onions and also in dark chocolate. Not to forget an aromatic herb that has a strong diuretic action, the parsley, that can be added, always without exaggerating, to the dishes (Kreydiyyeh et al, J Ethnopharmacol., 2002). In case of water retention worsened your period, also an integration with magnesium may be helpful (Walker et al, J Womens Health., 2018).
Massages and essential oils
A massage that starts from the feet and continues along the legs is useful to reduce water retention. In fact, it has been observed that a drop in the circumference of the legs, even during pregnancy, has occurred as a consequence of a foot and leg massage (Coban et al, Int J Nurs Pract, 2010). To perform these massages, you can use a plant based oil, such as jojoba, sweet almond or sunflower oil, or even a mixture of all of these. And to make the massage even more effective, you can also add a few drops of an essential oil. Studies have shown that geranium essential oil, when applied through a massage, has helped reduce leg edema but also swelling (Lotfipur-Rafsanjani et al, Int J Prev Med, 2018). Do not forget also the essential oils of juniper and cypress, which contrast water retention and edema (Tumen et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2012).
A diuretic herbal tea can be an aid to counteract water retention in the legs and ankles. For this purpose, it can be useful to try a dandelion herbal tea, you can find it in herbalist’s and chemist’s shops or online. The dandelion has in fact demonstrated a diuretic action as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and counteracts high blood sugar (Scuetz et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 2006). But also mate is useful as a diuretic, in addition, it helps to counteract the overweight and the damage of free radicals (Chandrasekara et al, J Tradit Complement Med, 2018). Finally, green tea also shows diuretic properties in addition with its action against cholesterol, free radical, cancer and inflammation (Chako et al, Chin Med, 2010).