Have you stepped on the scale only to see your usual weight suddenly jump up several pounds? Well, most of that additional weight may be because you’re retaining water. It happens when excess fluid builds up inside the body.
It’s also known as fluid retention or edema, and it’s when water retention occurs in the circulatory system or within tissues, and it can cause your hands, feet, ankles and legs to swell. It can happen to pregnant women or people who are physically inactive, such as when bedridden or on long flights where sitting for extended periods of time is expected. And yes, retaining water can be uncomfortable.
So what can we do to reduce water retention? Here are 7 ways:
1. Consume less salt
Sodium binds to water in the body and helps to maintain the fluid balance. Foods that are high in salt may mean that your body will retain water. Processed foods such as deli meat, canned soups, pickles, frozen dinners, packaged chips, boxed meals, soy sauce and Chinese food are high in sodium. It’s not only salt that adds to the sodium content in these foods but other ingredients such as monosodium glutamate, baking soda, sodium nitrite, sodium saccharin and sodium benzoate. For example, a 1 1/2-cup serving of frozen macaroni and cheese can have as much as 1,100 milligrams of sodium. The amount in a slice of frozen pizza ranges from 530 to 1,090 milligrams. Cutting these types of foods from your diet reduces your daily sodium intake, which may help lessen the amount of water you retain.
Instead of consuming processed food, prepare your own food, and when eating out, ask for your food to be prepared without salt.
2. Increase the amount of Magnesium you eat
Magnesium is a mineral that contains more than 300 enzymatic reactions that keep your body functioning and may help reduce water retention. Foods that contain Magnesium are whole grains, dark chocolate, nuts and leafy green vegetables. You can also take Magnesium supplements.
3. Avoid refined carbohydrates
Refined carbs such as refined sugar and white flour can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which causes the body to retain more sodium by increasing the re-absorption of sodium in the kidneys.
4. Increase your Vitamin B6 intake
Vitamin B6 is a group of chemically similar vitamins, and is part of the vitamin B group of essential nutrients. They are important for the formation of red blood cells and they serve many other functions in the body. Foods that are rich in vitamin B6 are walnuts, eggs, bananas, seafood, beef and turkey.
5. Consume foods high in Potassium
This mineral serves several important functions and appears to help water retention by decreasing sodium levels and increasing urine production. Include bananas, avocado, oranges, spinach and tomatoes in your diet to counteract fluid retention from a high-sodium meal.
Drinking more water also helps reduce fluid retention. Water helps kidneys flush out excess sodium, which in turn helps reduce the amount of water your body holds. Make sure you get enough water every day.
7. Be active
Diet isn’t the only way you can reduce water retention. Simply walking and moving around can be quite effective at reducing fluid build up, especially in the lower limbs.
A regular exercise program can help your body to perform better and overcome annoying occurrences such as water retention.