What can you do about water retention?
From a macrobiotic and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective-the five-element theory, when you are retaining water the kidney function is compromised. The Kidneys govern the transportation and transformation of body fluids in many ways. The excretion of impure body fluids is the job of the kidneys., so if you are retaining fluids, then it means you need to address kidney needs.
Here is how the kidneys control water
- The Kidneys are the ‘gate’ that controls urination.
- The Kidneys influence the lower burners excretion of fluids.
- The kidney influences the intestines capacity for transforming and separating fluids.
- The Kidneys receive fluids from the lungs and they also send vaporized fluids to the lungs.
- Kidney-Yang provides heat to the spleen for the transformation and transportation of fluids.
What hurts the kidney energy?
- Anything cold will hurt the Kidneys.
- Excess salt will hurt the Kidneys.
- Fear is the negative emotion of the Kidneys.
- A weak liver will reflect on poor Kidney health.
- The Lungs and Kidneys also work together; if Kidney energy is weak, then the Lungs will suffer.
- Stress will hurt the Kidneys (Kidneys and Adrenals work together to handle stress).
- Too much sex.
- Toxins from food and water.
- Intoxicants like coffee, marijuana, alcohol, tobacco and heavy metals like mercury and aluminium from cookware.
- Excessive fluid intake.
The Stomach and the Kidney connection
The connection between the Stomach and the Kidneys deserves a mention here, as it is here (stomach) where the fluid originates and the Kidneys transform these fluids. If the Kidneys are deficient in their energy and do not play their part to the fullest, then this will stagnate the stomach. On the other hand, a lack of stomach fluids can lead to Kidney deficiency.
What does all this have to do with water retention?
You retain fluids because the food choices you make do not help the Kidneys, the organ that will eventually flush out the fluids you do not need. Poor dietary choices build up to this condition. So, while a base diet needs to be set up which will benefit the Kidneys, some special foods will also help flush the water out.
What is a Kidney diet?
- Minimize the following: Animal protein, eggs, dairy, sugar, excessive salt, refined oils (use cold-pressed oils instead), processed and refined foods, foods with additives and artificial sweeteners. Avoid cooling foods and ice-cold drinks altogether.
- Whole grains: Brown rice, millets and barley.
- Beans: Black beans (kidney, soybeans), sprouts, mung beans and most beans shaped like kidneys help.
- Some fish like trout and salmon can be consumed.
- Vegetables: While all vegetables help the kidneys, water-based ones will help even more. As well as potatoes, asparagus root, onions, ginger, and leafy greens. Spirulina will be beneficial.
- Fruits: All local and seasonal fruits will help, but melons, blackberries, mulberries, blueberries will be beneficial.
- Nuts/Seeds: Black sesame seeds, black seed/nigella sativa (kalonji), fennel and anise seeds. In nuts: walnuts are more beneficial.
- Spices that will help: Cloves, fenugreek, black peppercorn, ginger (dried), cinnamon.