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Diet Plan for Patients of Edema

Edema is a medical condition in which puffiness and swelling occurs in many areas of the body, as in legs, arms, feet, hands, lungs, heart, or stomach area. The dietary plan can be very important in the cure and prevention of edema, therefore it is important to make dietary changes to reduce edema-related swelling.

Causes of Edema

Some of the many common causes of Edema include:

  • gravity – standing up for long periods of time allows fluid to ‘pool’ in the tissues of the lower leg
  • hot weather – the body tends to be less efficient at removing fluid from tissues during the summer months
  • burns – including sunburn. The skin retains fluid and swells in response to burn injuries
  • menstrual cycle – some women experience oedema in the two weeks prior to menstruation
  • the pill – oral contraceptives that include oestrogen can trigger fluid retention
  • chronic venous insufficiency – weakened valves in the veins of the legs fail to efficiently return blood to the heart. The pooling of blood can result in varicose veins.

Symptoms of Edema or Fluid retention

Symptoms of edema can include:

  • swelling of affected body parts (feet, ankles and hands are commonly affected)
  • aching of affected body parts
  • stiff joints
  • rapid weight gain over a few days or weeks
  • unexplained weight fluctuations
  • when pressed, the skin may hold the indent for a few seconds (pitting oedema)

To Avoid To Consume
Spinach Bitter Gourd
Tomato juice Cucumber
Frozen Vegetables Onion
- Celery
- Dark Leafy Greens Vegetables
- Parsley
- Beet
- Squash
- Bell Peppers
- Potato
- Pineapple
- Watermelon
- Grapes
- Blueberries
- Tomatoes
- Avocados
- Almonds
Soy Crushed Flax Seeds
Corn -
Pulses (In Excess) -
Processed Grains -
- Pepper
- Garlic
- Turmeric
- Cinnamon
- Ginger
- Olive Oil
- Coriander Seeds
- Fenugreek
High salt foods Water intake

Processed Meats Porridge

Processed dairy foods Green Tea

Carbonated Beverages Lemon juice

Beer Boil water with little sugar and fennel seeds

Alcohol -
Tobacco -

Physical Remedies for Edema

In addition to herbs, supplements, and diet changes, research indicates that a few physical remedies can have a positive effect on reducing edema symptoms. Physical remedies are especially beneficial for edema caused by temporary changes, such as pregnancy or medications. You may find the following physical remedies beneficial for edema:

  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Dry skin brushing
  • Elevation
  • Hydrotherapy (three minutes of something hot applied to the swollen area followed by one minute of something cold)
  • Support stockings

Home remedies

Some causes of fluid retention need medical treatment, but home remedies may help relieve the symptoms. The sections below discuss some of these in more detail.

Herbal remedies

Some herbs are natural diuretics. The extract of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), for example, may help reduce the amount of water the body retains in a day. A person should speak to a doctor before using this or any other herbal remedy. Diuretics may not be safe for people with kidney disease, for example.


If a person has edema in their lower limbs, it may help to:

  • sit with the legs raised above the heart several times each day
  • sleep with the affected limb on a pillow, to raise it above the level of the heart
  • have a massage, in which someone strokes the affected area firmly but gently toward the heart

People with edema may wish to wear loose clothing, as it will be more comfortable and allow fluid to circulate. Use support stockings to increase circulation in the lower limbs.

Things To Remember

  • Decrease sodium intake
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Drink 8-12 glasses of fluids (water, fruit juices, milk)
  • Consume more citrus fruits and green, leafy vegetables
  • Avoid read meat and alternate it with sardines or tuna.
  • Include wholegrain carbs in daily diet such as pasta and potatoes.
  • Eat small meals in regular intervals.