Fluid retention What is it and how to fix it? - healthcapitalconsultants.org

Fluid retention What is it and how to fix it?

Humans are composed primarily of water, ranging from 75% at birth to approximately 60% when we are adults. This flow is regulated by our body to maintain homeostasis in the different compartments of the body. In this article I will explain what it is and why fluid retention occurs as well as what the diet should be adapted to this situation .

retención de liquidos y dieta

We can break down the body fluid distribution into two categories:

  • Intracellular fluid: It accounts for approximately 40% of total body weight. It is the liquid that makes up the cells of our body. The majority of chemical reactions take place in this space, therefore, it is best to maintain adequate osmolality.
  • Extracellular fluid: Extracellular fluid comprises approximately 20% of total body weight, made up of plasma and interstitial space.

What is fluid retention?

Fluid retention consists of an increase in the volume of interstitial fluid, that is, an excess of fluid in the tissues.

This increase in fluid can lead to different situations such as sudden weight gain , increased abdominal girth, swelling in different areas of the body (ankles and legs being the most common but it can also occur to other areas such as the face or fingers), presence of fovea (depression that appears on the skin when pressing the firmament with the finger, remaining for a few seconds after removing it).

This excess fluid can be caused by different factors , below we will see the most common ones:

  1. Excessive salt intake

    A high consumption of salt produces an imbalance in the levels of sodium in the blood, which produces an increase in interstitial fluid producing that feeling of swelling. Therefore, it is advisable to prioritize buying in the market and cooking our dishes enhancing the flavors with aromatic herbs and spices, avoiding or reducing the consumption of processed foods, since they are very rich in salt.

  2. Insufficient water intake

    Although it seems contradictory, a state of dehydration can lead to an increase in this fluid retention. Therefore, it is important to maintain good hydration levels. We must remember that there are drinks such as coffee, tea and alcohol, which dehydrate us, therefore the drink par excellence should be water but we could also opt for other alternatives such as herbal teas and low-salt vegetable broths.

  3. A different diet

    A poorly varied diet can present a deficit in important nutrients such as potassium or magnesium. Also a low protein intake.

  4. Being overweight or obese

    By presenting an increase in body mass, we have more space to “accumulate this fluid”.

    It is also worth mentioning that very low-calorie diets can lead to aggravation of the situation , since we may have insufficient protein nutrition and a deficit of this nutrient can hinder the excretion of water from the tissues.

  5. Hormonal changes

    Especially in the female group, different situations occur where there are very important hormonal changes such as menstruation, pregnancy or menopause.

  6. Staying many hours standing or sitting in the same position

    If you’ve ever been on a long-term plane trip, you’ve likely experienced leg swelling and heaviness if you haven’t followed a protocol of getting up and moving often. You have to get up and walk constantly to promote proper circulation.

  7. Medication

    Some medications can promote this accumulation of fluids such as some medications against blood pressure, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), estrogens, steroids, some antidepressants and some medications against type 2 diabetes.

  8. Circulation problems

    Veins lose elasticity and consequently the force to push blood back from the extremities. The most common symptoms of poor circulation are spider veins , varicose veins, thrombosis …

  9. Presence of some pathology

    The presence of different pathologies such as heart failure, kidney failure, liver failure, the presence of a tumor, or thyroid disorder ( hyper or hypothyroidism), can lead to this imbalance in body fluids .

An excessive intake of salt and insufficient water, can promote fluid retention #centrojuliafarre Click To Tweet

As we have just pointed out, Many of the causes of fluid retention are preventable if we adopt changes in some of our daily habits. In some cases, medical supervision will be necessary for a correct clinical approach. Next we will see what practices we can adopt to reduce this symptomatology.

Dietary guidelines to follow to reduce fluid retention

We can take different measures:

  • Make sure that we are not making an excessive intake of salt, enhance the flavor with aromatic herbs and spices.
  • Include vegetables in all meals.
  • Promote whole grains and legumes.
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Ensure a healthy weight.

That is, base our diet on fresh food and avoid a highly processed diet, since by reducing this type of products we will also be reducing the amount of salt that we include in our diet. Increasing the consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains will increase our consumption of potassium (K) and magnesium (Mg), which will favor the reduction of this possible retention.

There is a belief that certain foods, such as lettuce, enhance this fluid retention , but as we can see below it is a very widespread myth:

Remember that if you are in very hot environments or it is the summer season, we must ensure good hydration, since one of the main factors that make us retain more fluid is a low water intake.

Weekly menu with ideas against fluid retention

Tomato, cucumber and basil salad.
Baked chicken with lemon.
Brown rice with mushrooms and green asparagus, sautéed with cubes of tofu. Lentil and rice salad. Vegetable wok with quinoa and shrimp tails. Spinach with potato and onion.
Grilled sole with garlic and parsley.
Green salad.
Anchovies in the oven.
Baked sweet potato and asparagus with thyme.
Couscous tabboule.
Steamed mussels.
Grilled artichokes.
Baked dorada with potato.
Pumpkin cream.
French omelette.
Tomato bread.
Green beans with potato.
Hamburger turkey with roasted pepper.
Bean and hard-boiled egg salad. Cream of zucchini.
Hummus with biscuits and crudités.
Homemade pizza with roasted vegetables, mozzarella and tuna. Vegetable broth without salt with pasta.
Artichoke omelette.

Other measures we can take to reduce symptoms:

• Moving and using the muscles in the affected body part can help pump excess fluid towards the heart.
• Keeping the affected body part elevated can help relieve symptoms.
• Wearing compression stockings can be a good approach if you have a tendency to accumulate this excess fluid in the extremities.
• Massaging the affected area can help move the excess fluid

Remember to adopt healthy habits to ensure that these are not the culprits of this fluid retention. If you still have symptoms (swollen ankles, legs, eyelids …) go to the doctor for a complete examination and assess the possible treatment.

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