Foods that Help with Edema

By | July 28, 2014

Wholesome Foods that Help with Edema

Edema is a term for swelling in different parts of the body due to water retention. Water builds up in various body cavities and subsequently causes swelling. Swelling can be pitting or non-pitting. With the pitting type, pressing on the swollen skin will leave a noticeable depression because the skin does not bounce back immediately. If you suffer from this condition, one of the first steps you can take to deal with it is to make changes in your diet. Foods that help with this condition have two common characteristics: low in sodium and diuretic.

Foods to Avoid with Edema

The first foods to avoid when adjusting what you eat in order to help with edema are those containing excess sodium. Packaged and fast foods are among those that are high in sodium content because the latter is added to enhance flavor and shelf life.

Sodium occurs naturally in some foods while others have low levels making them beneficial for reducing swelling in feet and other parts of the body due to edema. So, it is wise to check foods that you eat for naturally occurring levels of sodium as well. For example, it is a well-known fact that seafood is healthy for you however certain types of it such as crab have higher levels of sodium than others. Three ounces of raw crab contains 619 milligrams of sodium whereas Yellowfin tuna only contains 31 milligrams.

Other foods to avoid when following an edema diet are those that cause you to retain water. Foods that contain high amounts of processed sugar such as white bread and desserts contribute to fluid retention. Alcohol, though not a food, has a profound effect on fluid retention and many can gain weight the next morning by consuming too much of it at night.

Foods Low in Sodium

As mentioned before, it is good to do your homework as to the sodium content in foods before you consume them. What you might think to be healthy can actually be bad for you when trying to avoid this condition of swelling. For example, eggs are a good source of protein and one large egg contains a maximum of 63 milligrams of sodium. Egg substitute products, on the other hand, are advertised as healthy but can contain up to 115 milligrams of sodium per quarter of a cup which is almost two times that of a large egg.

In the fish and other seafood category, cold water fish species are the best when trying to keep sodium intake low. Salmon, trout, halibut, swordfish, and catfish are among the lowest in milligrams of sodium per 3 ounces of meat. The lowest, salmon, has only 38 milligrams of sodium per 3 ounces while catfish is at 51 milligrams.

Of course fresh vegetables are always a great choice when controlling sodium in a diet. They are also packed with essential vitamins that promote health throughout your body. You have a wide selection range to choose from. Those with the lowest sodium content, at only 1 milligram per half a cup, include alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, cucumbers, garlic, mushrooms, pumpkin, summer squash, and zucchini.

Foods with Diuretic Effect

The term “diuretic” refers to a property when a food, beverage, or medicine facilitates the purging of water from the system through urine. Asparagus is one of the commonly known vegetables in this class. Artichokes are another good choice plus they are packed full of essential vitamins. In fact, fruits and vegetables that are high in water content are beneficial as diuretics. These include watermelon, cranberries, cucumber, watercress, celery, and tomatoes.

As far as meat and poultry are concerned, you should replace salted red meats such as bacon with cuts of lean turkey or chicken breast without the skin.

In Addition to Foods

Drinking plenty of water is important in treating or preventing this condition. This is because when the body detects that there is plenty of water coming in it is less likely to retain it. Experts recommend 6 to 8 glasses of water each day and more during exercise.

These dietary changes to prevent or treat this condition are measures you can do yourself. However, keep in mind that edema could be an indication of a more serioushealth condition thus making it wise to consult a physician as soon as possible.

Bio: Brad Chase is the founder of, a website that provides information and herbal remedies to help with your health concerns