Swollen legs are extremely common, in fact there is even a slang term “cankles” for that. “Cankles” are calves joining ankles without change in leg size. Swollen legs neither look pretty nor are a sign of good health. Yet despite cosmetic and health implication swollen legs are rarely properly taken care of. The causes of swollen legs usually lie in lymphatic and venous stasis, which, in turn, are due to chronic imbalance between body water and minerals. Balancing water and minerals is an enormous topic, so I will need to dedicate several posts to explain what causes such changes and how to permanently bring the balance back. Today however, I want to focus on foods that can temporarily remove excess water from the body and thus slim down your “cankles”.
Let’s say you have a party to go to and you have already picked your favourite outfit. All nice, but it happens that the dress is not long enough to hide your swollen legs. What’s worse is that as the party goes on and you arer dancing into the night, your feet may swell out of your shoes. What do you do to prevent such disaster?
Your party preparation needs to start at least 48 hours before. This is how long it would take you to remove your swollen legs. As an added bonus the tips below will also flatten your stomach and slim your thighs. It will take some focus and determination, but 48 hours is worth the trouble. I want you to know that following tips are not only healthy, but will also teach you how your body should feel after a nice clean up. First, let’s get rid of the foods that bring excess water into the body and cause ankle swelling.
Sugar loves water and will make your body hold much more than it’s healthy share. So, where is sugar coming from? The obvious source is sugar in your daily tea and coffee. Although you may be already planning to give it up, you need to know that those may be the least important sugar sources for you. A much bigger load of sugar comes from the following: pop, syrups, jams, cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, muffins, waffles, and chocolate. These can really contribute to swollen feet. I am sure you know that, but if you think you know the sugar sources well I have some possible surprises for you.
- Snack bars, energy bars, and fruit bars. They often contain added sugar, glucose-fructose, honey, or corn syrup; check the labels carefully to identify any sweeteners promoting swollen legs. A typical cereal bar contains 4 added cubes of sugar and additionally the body will convert the cereals into another 4 cubes, giving your body a jolt of 8 sugar cubes consumed as a snack.
- Fruit juice, ice tea, lemonade, flavoured waters, sports drinks. They are notorious for their sugar content. Frequently a bottle of ice tea will have as much as 8 cubes of sugar in a medium cup. To compare a regular coke will contain 10 cubes of sugar in the same amount. What about fruit juices? Unsweetened apple juice will have exactly the same amount of naturally occurring sugars as coke from added sugar. I am not sure if those extra vitamins from the juice are worth all that sugar and your swollen legs.
- Dried fruit. Although dried fruit is healthier than candy dried fruit carries a surprisingly large amount of sugar. Sunsweet sweetened cranberries equal 9 cubes of sugar in 1/3 of a cup. A mini box of raisins equals 3 cubes of sugar.
- Yogurt. Yogurt is naturally sour, so to help with taste manufacturers add sugar. For example the average yogurt contains approximately 10 cubes of sugar in a 8oz cup. Some is naturally occurring some is added. Although choosing yogurt without sugar will sure help your swollen legs, do not fall for artificially sweetened variety which isn’t any healthier.
You can easily identify starchy foods yourself: bread, pizza, pasta, muffins, bagels, rolls, buns. But there are some starches you may have forgotten about: pitas, wraps, flatbreads, tortillas breakfast cereals, muesli, oatmeal, kasha, couscous, and barley. Unfortunately starch is nothing but sugar molecules stuck together, so all starch products will convert to sugar once processed in your body. A medium bagel will convert into 14 cubes of sugar, a single pack (50g) of unflavoured dry oats will convert into 9 cubes of sugar, and a burrito-size tortilla into 11 cubes of sugar. Yikes!
Every time you eat salty foods you will get thirsty and your body will ask for water. The more water inside you, the bigger the potential for swollen legs. As I mentioned at the beginning it will take a few days to get rid of that water, so if you do not want to have swollen legs you will need to also remove salty foods at least two days before your party.
Extra salt in your diet does not really come from the salt shaker, but from processed foods. Here is a short list of the most salted foods: bacon, ready-made soups, cold cuts, kielbasa, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, canned meals, take out foods, and condiments.
Daily recommended intake for sodium is 1,500mg/day. If you get more than that the body will hold extra water. Half a cup of cottage cheese has 500mg of sodium, Pizza Hut Personal Pan pepperoni pizza 1,500mg, 2 slices of bacon 750mg, and 1 tbsp of Creole mustard has 500mg. Be on the lookout as sodium easily adds up, and with it the water in your legs.
If you remove sugar, starch, and salt you are already half way to a slim body and ankles instead of cankles. The other part of the success lies in the addition of foods that will help you with mineral balance and speeding up water removal. There are seven special foods that do just that . I’ve put them in a separate chart that you can print and post on your fridge. The chart also contains two special juice recipes that help in the fight against swollen legs. Click here to get the chart.
Now you are ready to put on that dress, party without swollen legs and feel light on your feet. And if you like this state of lightness enough you may tell your friends that you have a party every day, so you can have an excuse to eat better and look gorgeous every day.