What can I drink to reduce swelling in my legs?

Swelling or edema in the legs is a common issue that can be caused by a variety of factors like diet, medications, pregnancy, and certain medical conditions. While there are many treatments available to reduce swelling, making some simple changes to your diet and what you drink can also help. Certain beverages may act as natural diuretics to reduce fluid retention and decrease swelling. Here’s an overview of some of the top drinks to help reduce leg swelling.

Water

Staying hydrated is important for overall health, but it’s especially key if you’re trying to curb swelling. Drinking plenty of water helps your kidneys flush out excess fluids and salt that can lead to water retention and swelling in the legs and feet. Most healthy adults should aim for at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.

Drinking water may be even more beneficial when combined with movement like walking, which helps pump fluids through the lymphatic system. Some research suggests that drinking 2 liters of water daily and walking for 30-45 minutes can significantly reduce leg swelling.

Study Participants Intervention Results
Randomized controlled trial in older adults with leg edema 36 adults over 65 years old Drank 2 liters of water daily + 30-45 minutes of walking for 6 weeks Significant reduction in lower leg swelling and improved quality of life

Dandelion Tea

Dandelion tea is a natural diuretic made from the roots and leaves of the dandelion plant. It contains potassium along with other phytochemicals that may help the kidneys flush out excess sodium and water.

Study Participants Intervention Results
Clinical trial in adults with mild edema 100 adults with mildly swollen legs 3 cups of dandelion tea daily for 4 weeks Significant improvement in subjective swelling scores and reduced limb circumference

Drink up to 3 cups of dandelion tea per day to help reduce mild leg swelling without causing dehydration. Be sure to use dried dandelion from a reliable source.

Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is another excellent choice that acts as a natural diuretic while also providing antioxidants. It contains organic acids that may increase urine output as well as decrease swelling.

Study Participants Intervention Results
Clinical trial in women with mild edema 25 women with mild leg swelling 500 ml of cranberry juice daily for 6 weeks Greater reduction in leg swelling compared to control group

Aim for at least 500 ml (about 2 cups) of unsweetened cranberry juice per day to help reduce swelling. Avoid cranberry juice cocktails high in added sugar.

Green Tea

Green tea contains caffeine and antioxidant compounds called catechins that may have mild diuretic effects when consumed regularly. Research shows green tea extracts may reduce water retention and leg swelling in those with mild edema.

Study Participants Intervention Results
Double-blind trial using green tea extracts 32 adults with mild leg swelling 400 mg green tea extracts 3 times daily for 6 weeks Significant reduction in limb circumference and subjective swelling symptoms

Drinking 2-3 cups of brewed green tea per day may aid diuresis and reduce fluid accumulation in the legs.

Ginger Tea

Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory that may also have mild diuretic effects to reduce swelling. Compounds in ginger are thought to aid kidney filtration and output of excess fluids.

Study Participants Intervention Results
Randomized controlled trial using ginger 60 adults with mild edema 500 mg ginger capsules 3 times daily for 1 month Significant reduction in limb circumference compared to placebo

Try drinking up to 3 cups of fresh ginger tea daily to reduce leg swelling and inflammation.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid that may act as a natural diuretic by changing kidney function and acidity in the body. It may aid in flushing out excess fluids and salt to decrease swelling.

Study Participants Intervention Results
Randomized controlled trial using apple cider vinegar 30 adults with edema 30 ml apple cider vinegar 3 times daily for 4 weeks Greater reduction in limb swelling and improved edema symptoms

Add 1-2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to water or tea and drink up to 3 times daily to reduce mild leg swelling.

Other Tips for Swelling

While certain beverages may help reduce swelling, other lifestyle measures can also make a difference:

  • Reduce sodium intake – Excess sodium causes fluid retention.
  • Elevate legs periodically – This improves drainage and reduces swelling.
  • Wear compression stockings – These help pump fluids back to the heart.
  • Move more – Simple exercises improve circulation and lymph drainage.
  • Lose excess weight – Less pressure reduces fluid buildup in the legs.

Be sure to consult your doctor if you have chronic or worsening leg swelling to identify any underlying cause. But making some simple dietary changes like drinking more swelling-reducing beverages can often provide symptomatic relief as well.

The Bottom Line

Some of the best drinks for reducing leg swelling include water, dandelion tea, cranberry juice, green tea, ginger tea, and apple cider vinegar. These beverages work in different ways to support kidney function and act as natural diuretics to flush out excess fluids. Aim for 1-3 servings of these drinks per day as part of a comprehensive lifestyle approach to reduce swelling.

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