Top 5 Nutrients to Reduce Swelling in Feet and Legs

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

Are your feet and ankles swollen, puffy, or deformed? Do you see a finger depression when you press down on the area and release? If so, do not ignore your swollen feet and ankles. It could be a red flag signaling problems with your circulation, joints, heart health, or other underlying health conditions.

Top 5 Nutrients To Reduce Swelling In Feet & Legs

In today’s video, we’ll look at the root causes of swollen legs, ankles and feet, and the top 5 nutrients to reduce the swelling, so let’s get into it.

To understand the swelling in your feet and legs, known as edema, we need to look at where that excess fluid is coming from.

There are two primary sources – plasma from your circulatory system, and lymph fluid from your lymphatic system.


Plasma is the liquid part of your blood, and in some cases which we’ll mention later, it can leak through your blood vessel walls, and get trapped in the lower extremities due to gravity.

rebounding lymphatic system

Lymph is a fluid containing white blood cells, and it can build up in the feet and legs when your lymph nodes are damaged or obstructed.

The lymphatic system helps your body fight off infections, and lymph nodes play a vital role by filtering lymph fluid, and trapping harmful bacteria, and abnormal cells like cancer cells.

When your lymph nodes are damaged, waste and bacteria cannot be filtered out of the lymph fluid, so they accumulate and enter the bloodstream.

This places an extra burden on the liver and kidneys to remove these unwanted materials from the blood.

Now, let’s look at what causes edema in the feet and legs. Some common lifestyle factors can be major culprits.

Standing, or sitting for too long, increases pressure on your veins, making it harder for blood to flow back up to your heart.


Your diet also plays a major role – eating a lot of highly processed foods can promote inflammation, weight gain, excess sugar, salt and vegetable oil intake, and nutrient deficiencies that contribute to swelling.

Being overweight or obese puts extra pressure on your veins, leading to built-up fluid.

During pregnancy, hormonal changes and increased blood volume can cause fluid retention, making your legs, ankles, and feet swell.

As you get older, the valves in your leg veins can weaken, allowing blood and fluid to collect in the legs, instead of flowing back up towards the heart.

Next, let’s look at 5 health conditions that can cause your legs and feet to swell.

Number 1. Lymphedema.

Lymphedema is the chronic swelling in the arms or legs caused by the buildup of protein-rich lymph fluid. Lymphedema can develop if lymph nodes are removed or damaged during cancer treatment, radiation, or infections, or when obesity blocks the flow of fluid.

Number 2. High Blood Pressure.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure over a long time, can damage the one-way valves in the veins of your legs, causing venous insufficiency, or leaky veins. The damaged valves allow blood to leak backwards and pool in the legs, instead of returning to the heart. In addition, hypertension also causes the body to retain too much sodium and fluid.


Number 3. Heart Failure.

Prolonged high blood pressure forces the heart muscle to overcompensate by thickening and enlarging, but when this eventually fails, it leads to heart failure. Blood backs up in the veins instead of being pumped properly, increasing pressure that causes fluid leakage and edema in the lower legs, ankles, and feet.

Number 4. Liver disease.

A sick liver, such as in cirrhosis, may not produce enough albumin, a protein that prevents fluid from leaking out of blood vessels. This leads to fluid pooling in your legs, ankles, and feet.

Number 5. Kidney disease.

In chronic kidney disease, damage to tiny kidney filters (nephrons) causes excessive albumin to leak into the urine. Without albumin, excess fluid from the blood vessels can seep into body tissues, resulting in swelling that manifests in the feet.

In addition, certain medications can cause swelling in the ankles and legs as a side effect, such as blood pressure drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, diabetes medications, hormonal treatments, some antidepressants, steroids, and cancer drugs.

As a result of a poor diet, health conditions, and medication, nutrient deficiencies can develop. The lack of these 5 nutrients can cause or worsen swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet, but replenishing them can help alleviate the edema.

Three of these nutrients are vitamins, 1 is a mineral and the last one is a healthy fat – can you guess what they are?


Let’s begin with Number 5, “Vitamin B1”.

If you don’t get enough vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, it can cause swelling in your legs and feet in several ways.

First, a thiamine deficiency leads to fluid buildup around your heart, making it hard for your heart to pump blood properly. This causes blood to pool in your veins, resulting in leg swelling.

Lacking thiamine long-term may cause heart failure symptoms like hand or foot swelling. Studies show that up to 1 in 3 people with congestive heart failure have a thiamine deficiency.

Small randomized studies have found that giving adequate amounts of vitamin B1 supplements to heart failure patients, improved their heart function and reduced swelling, regardless of what originally caused their heart failure.

Next, beriberi, a disorder caused by severe thiamine deficiency, has a cardiovascular form called wet beriberi. It causes leg swelling, a fast heart rate, and shortness of breath.

Vitamin B1 is water-soluble; This means your body doesn’t store it for long. It gets used up or excreted quickly, so you need to replenish it regularly.


Great sources of thiamine include pork, fish (salmon, tuna), seaweed, seeds (sunflower seeds, flaxseeds), legumes (black beans, lentils), as well as whole grains, green peas, asparagus, macadamia nuts, and nutritional yeast.

In cases of thiamine deficiency, eating foods rich in vitamin B1, or taking supplements, can help reduce swelling effectively.

Supplemental doses of 5-30 mg 3 times daily, can help treat specific conditions like beriberi.

Next, at Number 4 is “Vitamin C”.

Vitamin C deficiency can make your legs and feet swell in a few key ways:

Your body needs vitamin C to make collagen, which keeps your blood vessels strong and healthy. When your vitamin C levels are low, your blood vessels get weak and fragile. This can cause fluid to leak out, leading to swelling.

Also, low vitamin C is linked to inflammation, which can contribute to fluid buildup and swelling. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to help reduce inflammation.


Moreover, not getting enough vitamin C makes it harder for your body to heal wounds. In severe cases, old wounds may reopen, raising your risks of infection and more swelling.

Furthermore, your body needs vitamin C to form bones properly. Being deficient may increase your risk of fractures and osteoporosis, which could contribute to leg swelling.

Severe vitamin C deficiency can cause scurvy, a disease that makes your gums and legs swell and bleed.

To prevent swelling from vitamin C deficiency, eat plenty of vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, bell peppers, and greens like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and spinach.

Or take supplemental doses of 500-1000 mg of vitamin C per day. Higher doses of 2-5 g per day in multiple doses may be required to target and reduce inflammation.

At Number 3, we have “Vitamin D”.

Vitamin D deficiency is common, and can lead to swelling in your legs and feet in a few ways:


Firstly, vitamin D helps control inflammation in your body. When your levels are too low, it can lead to more inflammation, which can cause fluid buildup and swelling, often in your lower limbs.

In addition, your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, which is crucial for keeping your bones strong. Being deficient may increase your risks of getting foot and ankle fractures.

A study found that 84% of patients diagnosed with bone marrow edema syndrome (BMOS) in the foot and ankle had low vitamin D levels. This suggests BMOS may be linked to vitamin D deficiency, though more research is needed.

Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency has been tied to a higher risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy, a condition that causes swollen feet.

To keep your vitamin D levels healthy, get regular sun exposure, eat foods rich in vitamin D like fatty fish, cod liver oil, pastured egg yolks, and consider supplements if you’re deficient.

For vitamin D deficiency, take a higher supplemental dose of 2,000 to 5,000 IU per day. This is more than the standard recommended daily amount of 800 IU for adults.

Next, we have Number 2. “Potassium”.

Most people don’t get enough potassium, an essential mineral that helps maintain the balance of fluids and electrolytes in the body.

As a result, low potassium levels (hypokalemia) disrupt the body’s fluid balance, causing excess fluid to accumulate and lead to swelling in the legs and feet. Here’s how it happens:

Your kidneys can’t remove excess fluid and salt effectively. So your body starts reabsorbing and holding onto too much water and salt.

That extra fluid has to go somewhere, and it ends up in your legs, causing them to swell up and become puffy.

There’s more. Low potassium also weakens your blood vessel walls. This allows even more fluid to leak out into the surrounding tissues, adding to the swelling.

To reduce swelling, eat potassium-rich foods to keep your levels in the healthy range. These include potatoes and sweet potatoes, avocados, beets, and leafy greens like spinach and broccoli.

The recommended daily intake of potassium is 3,400 mg for men, and 2,600 mg for women, according to multiple expert sources.

However, higher amounts of 6,000-8,000 mg per day may be needed to effectively reduce significant swelling. Be sure to consult your doctor first before you supplement with potassium, as high doses can cause side effects like nausea or diarrhea.

And at Number 1, we have “Omega-3 fatty Acids”.

Omega-3 fatty acids are well-known for their anti-inflammatory powers, which can be effective for reducing swelling in your legs and feet.

Unfortunately, many people on a standard American diet do not get optimal amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, especially the long-chain EPA and DHA forms found in fatty fish.

EPA and DHA in particular, have been shown to directly reduce inflammation and swelling. In addition, Omega-3s can also lower levels of unhealthy blood fats called triglycerides, which can contribute to fluid retention and swelling.

To get more EPA and DHA, eat fatty, oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines.

And if you’re considering omega-3 supplements, krill oil may be a better choice than fish oil for two reasons.

One. Krill oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA in the form of phospholipids. Your body can absorb these more easily compared to the triglyceride form found in regular fish oil. This makes krill oil a more potent option for fighting inflammation.

Two. Krill oil also contains astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that contributes to its anti-inflammatory effects. This makes krill oil especially useful not just for reducing inflammation, but also for supporting heart health and potentially easing joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Our recommended krill oil supplement has been proven to reduce swelling in the legs, ankles and feet; click the link below to learn more.

Most experts recommend taking 1,000 to 2,000 mg of combined EPA and DHA omega-3s per day for supplements. However, you may need higher doses up to 3,000-4,000 mg per day to specifically target inflammation.

Before supplementing, talk to your doctor first if you’re on blood thinners or have seafood allergies.