Water retention is caused by a build-up of excess fluids in the body. It causes swelling in your hands, feet, and ankles, and can be triggered by a number of factors. If you’re pregnant, you may experience symptoms of water retention. You can also get water retention before you come on your period, or if you’re physically inactive.On a more serious note, water retention can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, like kidney disease or heart failure. It’s always best to get checked out at a doctor if you experience sudden or frequent water retention with no known cause.
Getting rid of water retention
If your water retention is no cause for concern, you’ll be able to get rid of it naturally at home using a few simple tricks. Stay tuned for 6 of our favourite ways to reduce water retention:
1. Reduce your salt intake
We’re all partial to adding a sprinkling of salt to our meals, and while a little bit is fine, too much salt can lead to water retention. This is because sodium binds to water in the body.
In smaller amounts, this helps to maintain the balance of fluids inside and outside of cells. When there’s too much sodium, the balance of fluids is more likely to be off whack, leading to water retention.
If you often eat meals that are high in salt, like processed foods, your body will more quickly retain water. Reducing your sodium intake is said to be a sure-fire way of ensuring your body doesn’t hold onto excess water.
2. Take more magnesium
Magnesium is effective at fighting inflammation in the body, which can cause the body to retain water weight. One study found that when women with PMS were given 200 milligrams of magnesium per day, they experienced reduced water retention overall.
Magnesium is commonly taken as a health supplement, but you can get more than enough magnesium from your diet alone. Foods like dark chocolate, whole grains, almonds, and leafy green veg are all fantastic sources of magnesium.
3. Eat foods rich in potassium
Potassium is one of the most important dietary minerals that we need for regulating fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals. It’s said to help reduce water retention in two ways: by decreasing sodium levels, which, as we know, affects how much water our bodies hold onto, and increasing urine production.
Bananas are one of the best dietary sources of potassium we can get. Avocados and tomatoes are also fairly high in potassium. You can buy potassium supplements at health stores and online, but you’re not recommended to do so unless your doctor advises it.
4. Increase your vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is less commonly talked about, but it’s essential for the formation of red blood cells in the body. Experts think that B6 helps with fluid retention, especially in women with PMS, as proven in several studies. As an extra benefit, it also supports better digestion and increases the feeling of stomach fullness.
Like magnesium, you can find plenty of vitamin B6 in your food sources. Bananas, potatoes, walnuts, and some lean meats are all rich in vitamin B6. You can also supplement with vitamin B6 in powder or capsule form.
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5. Drink dandelion tea
Dandelion has been used as a natural diuretic in medicine for hundreds of years, favoured for its ability to make you pee more frequently. Diuretics work on your kidneys by increasing the amount of salt and water that comes out through your urine. Too much salt can cause extra fluid to build up in your blood vessels, and as a popular diuretic, dandelion can prevent this from happening.
You can supplement with dandelion extract, or drink a mug of fresh dandelion tea every day. Simply add a handful of dandelion plants to hot water, bring to a boil, then allow the tea to diffuse for a minimum of three hours or overnight. Remove the plants, then dilute the tea with water or milk if the flavour is too strong.
6. Stay away from refined carbs
Many refined carbs, like sugars and grains that have been stripped of all bran, fibre, and nutrients, cause rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. When insulin levels are high, they cause your body to retain more sodium by increasing the reabsorption of sodium in the kidneys, which increases fluid volume in turn. Cutting down on refined carbs is a simple way to reduce fluid retention.
Many refined carbs can easily be replaced with non-refined alternatives. Try adding more whole grains to your diet in place of white bread, pasta, flour, rice, and breakfast cereals.
Getting rid of water retention isn’t often something you can do overnight, but if you make the appropriate changes to your diet and lifestyle, you’ll gradually notice a positive change in your symptoms. Remember to visit a doctor if your water retention is severe or frequent, or if the tips in this video don’t make a difference over several weeks.