Shoes feel a bit tight from time to time? Or are you peering down at a dreaded pair of cankles (swollen ankles)?
While this kind of swelling can be a symptom of something more serious such as kidney or heart disease, if your doctor has given you the all clear it could be a simple case of water retention.
Carrying around that extra water weight can be dreadfully uncomfortable. But the trouble is diuretic drugs are far too harsh for an occasional bout of bloat. That’s when home remedies can help from simple soaks to natural diuretics.
Fight swollen ankles and feet without drugs
Following are five effective home remedies that can help you get rid of the puffiness and say goodbye to swollen ankles or feet fast.
1. Drink MORE fluids:
Surprisingly one of easiest and most effective ways to get rid of water retention is to drink more fluids. Many folks try to steer clear of drinking liquids when they’re already carrying around extra water weight. But experts say that mild dehydration is often behind the swelling in the first place.
When you start to become dehydrated your body can react by attempting to hold onto whatever liquids it can. That’s when you end up with those puffy ankles and swollen feet.
To prevent the swelling in the first place you should be drinking plenty of water every day. But if you’re already bloated drinking even more fluids can help get that backed up water moving again.
Just be sure you’re drinking the right kinds of liquids. Stick with water (with or without lemon) or unsweetened tea for the best results. Sugary sodas and fruit juices, on the other hand, can make the problem worse.
You might just think of dandelions as those annoying weeds you do battle with every year to keep your lawn and garden looking beautiful. But it turns out that same little weed is a potent natural diuretic. And parts of the plant have been used by traditional healers for centuries.
In a study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine volunteers taking a dandelion leaf extract, three doses in 24-hours, saw a significant increase in their urination.1
Dandelion is rich in potassium, which can help with water retention in two different ways. Potassium can help decrease water-retention-linked sodium levels, while increasing how often you urinate.2
You can try dandelion tea. Steep a teaspoon of dried dandelion in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Drink up to three cups a day. Or try a dandelion leaf extract supplement, and take as directed by the manufacturer.
Other potassium rich foods you can add to your anti-bloating diet are avocados, bananas and tomatoes.
Those same chestnuts that Nat King Cole famously sang about roasting over an open fire don’t just make a tasty snack, they’re also a natural remedy for tackling swelling. In fact, horse chestnut seed extracts are commonly used in Europe to tackle water retention, and the swelling that can contribute varicose veins.
The nuts contain a compound called aescin, which experts say helps promote healthy circulation, reducing swelling. And studies confirm horse chestnut extracts effectively relieve edema.3,4
You’ll find horse chestnut supplements online or in natural food stores. The extract can also reportedly lower blood sugar and slow blood clotting, so be sure to check with your doctor about taking it if you’re already on a medication designed to do either of these.
4. Epsom salt soak:
An old fashioned Epsom salt soak is a terrific way to reduce foot and ankle puffiness, while soothing away the uncomfortable ache that can go with it.
Epsom salts are rich in magnesium an essential mineral that can get depleted whenever you have swelling or inflammation. Soaking in Epsom salts, however, can top off your lagging magnesium levels. And research has shown that magnesium can effectively help reduce water retention.5,6,7
To get rid of water retention and flush away toxins dissolve one half of a cup of the salts in a basin of warm water and soak your feet for 20 minutes.
Other good sources of magnesium include nuts, leafy greens, dark chocolate and whole grains.
If you’re like a lot of folks the most interaction you have with parsley is when you toss the leafy green that’s been used as a garnish in the trash after finishing your meal. But it turns out this often overlooked plant could help you fight water retention.
Parsley is natural diuretic that gently increases urination so you can get rid of those built up fluids. In an animal study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology a parsley extract significantly increased urination.8
Parsley helps flush sodium from your system, helping to reduce swelling. But being high in potassium parsley, unlike a number of other diuretics, can also help boost your potassium level instead of depleting it.
If you don’t have kidney or heart troubles, but still end up with swollen ankles or feet from time to time, you don’t have to just grin and bear it. Combining some common sense changes such as reducing sodium (for salt sensitive folks), putting your feet up as soon as you notice swelling and eliminating bloat-linked refined carbs from your diet with one or more of these home remedies can flush the fluids out fast.
1. “The diuretic effect in human subjects of an extract of Taraxacum officinale folium over a single day,” J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):929-34
2. “On the mechanism of the effects of potassium restriction on blood pressure and renal sodium retention,” Am J Kidney Dis. 1998 Jan;31(1):19-27
3. “Horse chestnut seed extract for long‐term or chronic venous insufficiency,” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Published: 2012; Review content assessed as up-to-date: June 19, 2012
4. “Efficacy, routine effectiveness, and safety of horsechestnut seed extract in the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and large observational studies,” Int Angiol. 2002 Dec;21(4):305-15
5. “Magnesium supplementation alleviates premenstrual symptoms of fluid retention,” J Womens Health. 1998 Nov;7(9):1157-65
6. “Oral magnesium successfully relieves premenstrual mood changes,” Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Aug;78(2):177-81
7. “Effects of magnesium and vitamin b6 on the severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms,” J Caring Sci. 2012 Nov 22;1(4):183-9
8. “Diuretic effect and mechanism of action of parsley,” J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Mar;79(3):353-7
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