Water Retention and Ways to Reduce it

Is your belly stretched, bloated and puffy? And is it ruining your mood, making you feel uncomfortable and irritable? Well, these are some of the dreaded symptoms of water retention!

Your body consists mostly of water. It’s in your organs, blood, muscles, and even your bones. Then why does it happen that you feel that sense of heaviness and bloating? Let’s learn what water retention is, what causes it and most importantly, how to get rid of it!

What is water retention?

Water retention occurs when fluid isn’t removed from the body tissues. This excess fluid that is built up inside the body is also known as fluid retention or Oedema.

Water retention usually occurs in the circulatory system or within cavities and tissues, which can also cause swelling in the hands, feet, legs, and ankles.

What causes water retention?

There are many reasons why water retention happens, and many of the reasons are not really worrisome. For instance, most women experience water retention before their monthly cycles or during pregnancy.

However, water retention can also be one of the symptoms of severe medical conditions like heart failure or kidney disease. If you experience severe water retention conditions, then it’s better to get medical attention immediately.

How to get rid of water retention?

If the water retention is mild and there is no severe health condition that has caused it, you may be able to reduce the swelling with simple methods.

  1. Increase Magnesium intake

Magnesium is a very important mineral which helps in healthy body functioning and also in boosting exercise performance. Increasing magnesium intake can help reduce water retention.

Studies have found that women with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) who consumed 200 mg of magnesium, experienced reduction in water retention.

Sources of magnesium: Nuts, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables are the primary sources. It is also available as a supplement at the local chemist.

  1. Eat Potassium-rich foods

Potassium is a mineral that has many important functions and has benefits on heart health. Potassium helps reduce water retention by reducing the sodium levels and increasing urine production.

Sources of potassium: Avocados, bananas, spinach, and tomatoes.

  1. Increase Vitamin B6 intake

Vitamin B6 is important for the formation of red blood cells and also helps in many bodily functions.

Studies pertaining to Vitamin B6 and its effect on water retention have shown its potential to reduce water retention in women with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).

Sources of Vitamin B6: Walnuts, potatoes, bananas, and meat. It is also available as a supplement at pharmacies.

  1. Avoid refined carbs

Consuming too much refined carbs leads to rapid rise in insulin levels. Rise in insulin levels, i.e., high insulin levels may cause body to retain more sodium, therefore causing water retention.

Examples of refined carbs are processed sugars (table sugar, high fructose syrup) and white flour.

In fact, there is a wide array of foods that directly impacts our insulin levels and causes it to fluctuate drastically. A good fitness regime begins with mindful, clean eating. Spend time reading up on these usual diet culprits that actually do us more harm than good. You can start with the Fitmag article here to learn what foods to avoid: 5 Foods you need to Stop Buying Now


Few other ways to reduce water retention:

  1. Most people believe that drinking more water makes you store more water but that is not the case. You can try one of these which may help reduce water retention – increase water intake for a while and suddenly stop drinking more water OR increase water intake as much as 3 times as the present quantity and drop the water intake gradually.
  2. Follow a carbohydrate restricted diet or low carbohydrate diet which helps reduce water retention. Example: Ketogenic Diet, Low Carbohydrate Diet.
  3. Parsley, garlic, and fennel may also have diuretic effects.

Water Retention and Water Intake – Are they related?

Going back to point 1 above, increasing your water intake has no relation to the body’s water retention mechanism. In fact, if anyone tells you to drink less water to reduce the bloating, that is the worst advice you can follow to address this problem. Guzzling water is one the best things you can do to detox and revitalize your body. Do read this detailed article to know more about the benefits of hydration:

Five Amazing Things Water Does to your Body

Putting it all together, some simple changes in your diet may help reduce water retention and its discomforts.

People who have never tried any of the above methods can start by reducing excessive salt intake and avoiding processed foods.

Consume foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Also avoid refined carbohydrates to help reduce water retention.

If the water retention still persists or if it is too severe, it is always better to seek medical help and find out what’s really causing the problem.


Article Credits – Nikhil Kassetty


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