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Livliga | Health-minded February

Friday, August 12, 2016

How to Deal with Foot and Leg Swelling During the Summer Months


 
Nothing Fun About Swollen Feet
 It is so interesting to me that more often than not when it gets hot outside, my legs begin to swell. I have always wondered—is it the heat that confounds my body or do I end up eating saltier foods in the heat of the summer? Or maybe it is that I need to be drinking more water because of the heat. In researching this conundrum here is what I found: Heat edema occurs when heat causes the blood vesicles to dilate while the person remains in a prolonged upright sitting or standing position. This condition is inconvenient and uncomfortable. It is also very common for a lot of people, particularly those that are older, pregnant, are menstruating or overweight.

There are things that can exacerbate the swelling like being in the heat, eating too many salty foods and sitting too long or standing too long. Being aware of these contributing factors may help to moderate them. We can cool down by getting in the shade or jumping in a pool. We can get up and move if we have been sitting too long or standing in one place too long. Elevating and massaging our feet and legs helps too.

When it comes to limiting the salty drinks and foods in the summertime, it seems a little more challenging. We eat more barbecue, potato chips and, of course, indulge in summer drinks like salty dogs or margaritas. I have found by making my own versions of our favorite summer foods I can cut down and even eliminate a lot of the added salt.

Even with knowing all the things I can do to help my swollen feet, I still struggle to keep the swelling down during the course of a day. That is when I decided to research what foods can act as a natural diuretic. It turns out there are many of them and a lot of them suit our summertime eating sensibilities. One of my favorites I discovered is watermelon! Who doesn’t love an ice-cold slice of watermelon in the heat? Other foods that act as a natural diuretic are lemons (think fresh lemonade with stevia), celery (think dip with crudité), tomatoes (think fresh cold gazpacho soup) and asparagus (think cold with a mustard vinaigrette drizzled on top). The best natural diuretic, believe it or not, is water. Lemon water, hot or cold, is a great way to add health and keep the fluids flowing as part of a daily routine.

Once I started designing menus that incorporated foods that are natural diuretics, along with being conscious of moving around more and using a lot less salt, my swelling has been virtually eliminated.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!