Premenstruation, pregnancy, too much salt in your diet and certain drugs are common causes of water retention. In cases where edema is mild and water retention is not due to a serious health condition, self-care remedies may be all that is needed. Cranberries offer some health benefits, including use as a natural diuretic. Discuss with your doctor home treatments that may be appropriate for you.
Edema is the medical term for swelling that occurs as the result of excess fluid being trapped in the body's tissues. Tiny capillaries leak fluid, signaling the kidneys to retain more water and sodium to make up for the lost fluid. The condition can affect any part of the body, but occurs most frequently in the hands, arms and lower extremities. If left untreated, symptoms may include decreased blood circulation, stiffness, difficulty walking and increased risk of ulceration, warns the Mayo Clinic.
Nutritional Value of Cranberries
Cranberry juice has traditionally been used as a natural diuretic to help reduce fluid retention and aid in weight loss. The fruit contains no cholesterol and is low in fat and sodium. Cranberries are a source of iron, potassium, calcium, vitamins A, B and C and folic acid. Calcium, potassium and magnesium are minerals that play a crucial part in your body's ability to maintain the proper fluid balance. In fact, getting too little calcium and potassium in your diet can make fluid retention worse. Most fruits with a high vitamin C content have mild diuretic properties. Although diuretics help the body get rid of excess fluids, natural diuretic foods like cranberries also supply the body with essential vitamins and minerals. Just as with other fruits, cranberries offer the most health benefits when you eat them raw. However. drinking an equivalent amount of the fruit juiced will give you the same nutritional benefit, according to Joanne Larsen, author and licensed, registered dietitian.
Be sure to drink plenty of water when using cranberry juice as a natural diuretic. Hydrating your body helps to draw the excess fluid out of your tissues. Although drinking eight glasses of water each day is a general rule of thumb, each person's needs differ. You may need to drink fewer than eight glasses of water or you may need to drink more. Make sure your body gets the water it needs by drinking a glass of water before you feel thirsty -- a sure sign that your body is already dehydrated. One way to tell if you are drinking enough water is by the color of your urine. If your urine looks light or clear, you should be okay. Dark urine means you need to drink more water.
Cranberries are highly acidic and therefore will increase the acid level of urine. If you are prone to urinary tract infections, talk to your doctor before using cranberry juice as a diuretic. Although bitter-tasting cranberries and sour citrus fruits are better for the body than sweeter fruits, they are still high in natural fruit sugars. The fructose is the reason why diabetics have to watch how much fruit they eat. Even though fruit sugars are healthier than refined sugars, you still have to be careful how much you put into your body. High blood sugar levels can cause diabetes, hypoglycemia, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer, so be sure to ask your doctor's advice before self-treating with cranberry juice.