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Water Retention: Its Impact On The Human Body And How To Get Rid Of It

As I stood on the weighing scale the other day, I noticed that I weighed 300 grams more than the previous day and I was wondering why. And that too after hitting the gym so often!

If you are facing a similar situation, do not worry! This is nothing but your water weight fluctuating.

Water retention is a common problem everyone faces. After all, a human body is made up of 60% of water.

If your scale shows an increase in your weight, you have likely gained weight because of water retention. Even though you haven’t actually gained fat, you may feel as if you did.

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A high-sodium meal, a heavy workout, dehydration or hormonal changes can be the cause of water retention.  Though it will flush naturally after a day or two, dietary strategies and exercise may help you lose it faster.

If bloating and water retention are chronic and not sporadic, check with your doctor since they may stem from a medical problem.[1]

What Causes Water Weight?

Water weight accumulates for a variety of reasons, some of them beyond your control.

For women, hormonal changes cause water retention in the five days before your period. Levels of progesterone, a hormone that helps support the fetus early during your pregnancy, rise substantially. This causes water retention.

When the month passes with no pregnancy, the water flushes away with the excess hormone. 

In some cases, too much sodium either from a restaurant meal or a binge during which you polished off a family-size bag of chips can cause you to feel puffy.

High-fat foods and excess alcohol can also contribute to water retention. Ironically, not drinking enough water can cause your body to hold up water. Your body senses its fluid levels are out of balance and will hold up water until you correct it.

A heavy workout can temporarily leave you modestly dehydrated right afterwards, which shows up as a lighter size on the scale.

But the next day, when your muscles are still inflamed, fluids rush in to help with repair and can make it seem like you’ve gained a pound or two.

If you exercise regularly, you may always retain a little water in your blood plasma because your body becomes “super hydrated” and wants to ensure you don’t run low on fluids during a workout.

This is a natural, positive state that supports your athletic efforts.

5 Simple Ways to Reduce Water Retention

1. Eat Less Salt

Salt is made of sodium and chloride. Sodium binds to water in the body and helps maintain the balance of fluids both inside and outside of cells.

If you often eat meals that are high in salt, such as many processed foods, your body may retain water.

In fact, these foods are the biggest dietary source of sodium. The most common advice for reducing water retention is to decrease sodium intake.

2. Increase Your Magnesium Intake

Magnesium is a very important mineral. It is involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions that keep the body functioning.

Dark chocolate and nuts
Dark chocolate and nuts

Moreover, increasing your magnesium intake may help reduce water retention.

Good sources of magnesium include nuts, whole grains, dark chocolate and leafy, green vegetables. It is also available as a supplement.

3. Increase Vitamin B6 Intake

Vitamin B6 is a group of several related vitamins. They are important for the formation of red blood cells and serve many other functions in the body.

Foods rich in vitamin B6 include bananas, potatoes, walnuts and meat.

4. Eat More Potassium-Rich Foods

Potassium is a mineral that serves several important functions. For example, it helps send the electrical signals that keep the body running.

Potassium appears to help reduce water retention in two ways – by decreasing sodium levels and increasing urine production.

Bananas, avocados and tomatoes are examples of foods that are high in potassium.

5. Avoid Refined Carbs

Eating refined carbs leads to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. High insulin levels cause your body to retain more sodium by increasing the reabsorption of sodium in the kidneys.

This leads to more fluid volume inside your body. Examples of refined carbs include processed sugars and grains, such as table sugar and white flour.

Why Do You Need Diuretic Foods?

Now that we have established our weight fluctuates due to water weight in our body, this needs to be flushed out with the help of certain foods. These foods are called diuretics. Eating these foods will reduce the weight and make us feel less bloated.

Diuretics also reduce hypertension by flushing out sodium from the body and getting rid of harmful toxins through urine.

These foods help clean your system by flushing out the water retained in the body and reduces bloating but they should be taken in moderation as an excess of anything is bad.

Excessive intake of diuretics foods can flush out vital electrolytes, which are needed by your body. When there is an electrolyte imbalance, your body will feel weak and fatigued.

5 Diuretic Foods You Can Incorporate In Your Everyday Meals

1.  Cucumbers

They have high water content and contain caffeic acid that helps to get rid of water retention in our body.

It also contains certain nutrients that help in flushing out uric acid from the kidney, plus it is low in calories, which makes it a good pick for those looking to lose weight.

2. Cranberry

cranberry
cranberry

It is full of antioxidants and vitamin C. These help in flushing out all the excess water.

According to the book Healing Foods by DK Publishers, cranberries have a nondialyzable material (NDM) which prevents kidney, bladder and urinary tract infections (UTIs).

3. Watermelon

They contain 92% water and are loaded with vitamins and minerals, which have a diuretic effect on our body.

Watermelons are super healthy and help in flushing out all the toxic substances from the body.

4. Celery

Celery has coumarin, which helps to prevent high blood pressure as well as in cleansing the system by excreting all unwanted water in the form of urine that is retained in the body.

It eases digestion and relieves bloating. The high water and electrolytes content in celery prevents dehydration and compounds present in celery cause it to act as a diuretic and reduce instances of bloating.

5. Lemons

It helps flush out bacteria, prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), lessen bloating and cleanse the system completely.

Lemon has potassium, which builds our immunity. If you cannot eat a lemon as it is then you can always drink fresh lemon juice which works just fine.

Hope you got a fair idea about what water retention is and how it is linked to weight gain/loss.

Drinking plenty of water, eat healthily and do exercises. This will indeed help you get rid of water retention. [3]