Swollen feet usually signal the presence of edema, a symptom that occurs when your body tissues retain too much fluid. Edema may occur for a variety of reasons, such as hormonal changes, changes in altitude, thyroid disease or sitting for too long. Prescription medications and certain herbs, such as bilberry, dandelion and grape seed extract, can reduce swelling in your feet. Dietary changes can also help reduce swelling. Contact your doctor for any unusual or prolonged swelling in your feet.
Excessive salt in the diet is one of the main causes of edema. A diet high in sodium can lead to water retention that causes swelling around your ankles and in your feet, especially after standing for long periods. Substitute low-sodium or reduced salt varieties of normally salty foods, such as soups, sauces, potato chips, crackers and pretzels. Limit your use of table salt and avoid adding salt to foods during cooking. Substituting other seasonings, such as lemon pepper or cilantro, will add flavor without increasing your intake of sodium.
Snacking on fresh fruits can help reduce the swelling in your feet. Choose fruits that naturally have high water content such as watermelon. Snacking on grapes, pineapples, pears, cantaloupe and oranges will also help you avoid filling up on processed foods and packaged snacks that often contain excessive amounts of sodium.
Some vegetables act as natural diuretics. Eat more beets, leafy greens, onions, asparagus and leeks. Create juicy salads with cucumbers, celery and tomatoes. Keep salads and vegetable dishes healthy and low in sodium by not adding salty bacon bits, dressings and salted croutons. Check the sodium content in seasoning mixes when spicing up cooked vegetable dishes or mixing up prepared fresh vegetable dips.
Sources of Vitamin B
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends eating foods with large amounts of the B-complex vitamins, such as spinach, kale and sea vegetables. Choose fresh or frozen varieties, rather than canned versions, which often contain added sodium. Whole grains in the form of breakfast cereals and breads also contain plenty of B vitamins.