Your body is made up of 50-60% water. When you’re healthy, your body naturally balances your water levels. When your hydration level is not balanced, your body stores excess fluid in the tissues & water retention occurs. More often, it is temporary and goes away on its own or with some simple lifestyle changes.
Symptoms of water retention can include:
There are a lot of reasons why a person might be retaining water. Key causes of water retention include:
Food choices. High sodium and high carb diets can lead to water retention. Potassium and magnesium deficiencies can also cause extra water weight.
Hormonal fluctuations. In women, natural hormone variations can cause increases in water retention in the week before menstruation & during pregnancy. Cravings for salty foods and carbohydrates can also lead to further water retention at this time.
Hypothyroidism also causes changes in hormone levels that provoke increased salt and water retention by the kidneys.
Physical inactivity. Sitting or standing for a long time can stop fluids from circulating around the body properly. This causes water to build up around the body tissue, leading to swelling in the extremities.
Frequent fliers may experience water retention due to changes in cabin pressure and sitting for an extended period of time.
Heart, kidney, or liver disease. These can disrupt the normal flow of blood around the body. This disruption can cause a build-up of fluids, resulting in swelling and extra water weight.
Medications. Water retention is a side effect of many medications. These include anti-inflammatories, anti-depressants, and some oral contraceptives. A person should consult their doctor if any medication causes worrying side effects.
A change in diet will resolve some of the most common causes of water retention. Here are some effective ways to reduce water retention.
Drink More Water
It may seem counterintuitive, but an effective way to reduce water retention is to drink more water, especially if your diet is high in sodium. When you are well hydrated, your body is less likely to hold onto excess water in an attempt to maintain sodium balance.
Avoid dehydrating beverages such as tea, coffee, and alcohol, which can make fluid retention worse.
Balance out your electrolytes
Refuel your body with electrolytes after working out, especially potassium, magnesium, and sodium. All three of these electrolytes help to balance out the water in your body; a depletion can lead to dehydration, which in turn can result in your body holding onto water.
Tender coconut water is a great natural sports drink and is known for its concentration of electrolytes & antioxidants. Include more fruits & leafy vegetables in your daily diet to get sufficient electrolytes as they work as natural diuretics.
Cut Back on Salt
Salt is sodium & chloride. When our sodium levels are high, our kidneys hold onto excess water in an attempt to dilute the sodium. If you regularly eat too much salt, this can lead to water retention.
Eliminate processed foods, canned foods, and packaged foods. Use fresh herbs and sodium-free spices for cooking instead of salt. Stay away from cured and processed meats, which are often high in sodium. Your sodium intake should be less than 1,500 milligrams per day.
Add in potassium-rich foods
Potassium appears to help reduce water retention in two ways, by decreasing sodium levels and increasing urine production. These foods include bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, tomatoes & spinach.
Increase your Magnesium Intake
One study found that 200 mg of magnesium per day reduced water retention in women with premenstrual symptoms (PMS)
Good sources of magnesium include nuts, whole grains, dark chocolate, and leafy, green vegetables.
Avoid refined carbs
Eliminate refined foods like white bread, pasta, sugary cereals, and baked goods.
Eating refined carbs can increase insulin levels in your body, which, in turn, increases the reabsorption of sodium in the kidneys, leading to a higher fluid volume.
Opt for natural diuretics
Instead of rushing to the medical shop to purchase diuretics, look in your kitchen. Some herbs may help you excrete water (diuretic) and help with sodium and water retention. Herb infused water is the best way to cure water retention. Kick start your morning with fenugreek or coriander seeds infused water. Foods like cranberry, raw cabbage leaves, parsley, and fennel are also some of the natural diuretics that can come to your rescue.
Apart from these simple dietary changes, do regular exercise, avoid sitting or standing for a long time without changing positions. Get up and move around at regular intervals during a long journey to prevent or reduce fluid retention.
However, if the above tips are not helpful for reducing water retention, it is advisable to see a doctor.
Although if you find it difficult to follow a healthful diet, contact us to know the best suitable plan to resolve the issue.