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You try to button your jeans, and you feel as if you swallowed a watermelon. But you’ve been eating well and exercising – what gives? You could be experiencing water retention.
Water retention, or edema, stems from various causes. Many pose little reason for alarm, although some indicate a more severe health problem. What can you do to beat the bloat quickly and naturally? Below are 10 healthy ways to reduce water retention!
1) Drink more water
It sounds ironic that you should drink more water when you’re retaining it. However, the fluid buildup in your tissues doesn’t stem from drinking too much H20. Instead, the retention arises from the accumulation of particular substances in your body. Drinking more water helps to flush the excess, reducing swelling.
Most experts recommend drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. However, if you exercise, or if you work in a heated area, you might need more. Listen to your body and sip water whenever you feel thirsty.
2) Take a magnesium supplement
Magnesium is an essential mineral for human health. It keeps everything from your neurological system to your heart running smoothly. This mineral participates in over 300 enzymatic reactions that keep your body in homeostasis, or balance. Without homeostasis, excessive water retention can occur.
Experts recommend you get 400 milligrams of this nutrient each day. You can find magnesium in foods like nuts and dark, leafy greens. If you opt for a supplement, start slowly and gradually increase your dose. Too much magnesium too quickly can cause diarrhea.
3) Increase potassium intake
Another critical mineral, potassium, helps to soothe and relax muscles, including your heart. This nutrient also flushes excess sodium from the body, which can cause water retention. One tip for beating the bloat is drinking coconut water or using a bit of it to fix a cup of tea. Coconut water contains high levels of this vital nutrient. You can also find potassium in bananas and potatoes – just avoid the salty french fries.
4) Cut down on salt
Sodium is an essential nutrient, but it is one that many Americans consume in excess. That’s because the substance often hides in seemingly healthy foods. If you have a can of commercially prepared soup in your cupboard, read the label. Many popular varieties contain more than half of your recommended daily allowance in one serving.
Although experts say consumption of more than 2,300 milligrams of this mineral per day is unsafe, many adults consume 3,400 milligrams. This excess is cause for alarm — too much sodium can raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels.
5) Drink herbal tea
If you’re not a fan of drinking plain water, consider sipping on herbal tea. Tea contains zero calories when it is unsweetened, and many varieties offer additional health benefits. Give these types a try:
- Dandelion: Dandelion is a gentle diuretic, which means it flushes unwanted minerals and water from your body.
- Eucommia leaf: This herb has diuretic and heart health properties and is useful if you have consumed too much salt. One study indicated the extract decreased blood pressure by 7.5 milligrams of mercury.
- Horsetail: Horsetail fern also contains diuretic properties, most likely due to its high potassium content.
6) Move your body
Many people tend to think of water retention as a menstrual issue. However, there are two types of edema — general and localized. If you get localized swelling in your hands or lower extremities, try exercising. By increasing blood flow, you help to push out the unwanted fluid.
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7) Shed excess pounds
People who carry excess weight tend to retain water more readily. This phenomenon may result from the increased sodium intake that generally correlates with a higher-calorie diet. You can retain up to 5 pounds of unwanted water, which may make it seem like the numbers on the scale never budge. Stay the course by exercising regularly and choosing healthy, low-sodium foods.
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8) Treat yourself to a lymphatic massage
Your lymphatic system helps to eliminate waste from the body. Some experts theorize that stimulating it through massage can reduce excess water retention. If you have the funds, you can go to a professional. You can also learn to perform these techniques at home.
9) Cut down on alcohol and caffeine
Both alcohol and caffeine act as diuretics, which means they should help you lose water weight. However, too much of either substance will dehydrate you. When this occurs, your body retains more water to compensate for the perceived lack.
You don’t need to give up your morning cup of joe, but do restrict your intake to no more than two cups. Limit alcohol consumption to small amounts — a glass or two — on the weekend. If you don’t drink now, don’t start — it won’t reduce your swelling.
10) Put your feet up
If your edema concentrates on your feet, perhaps from standing long hours on concrete, put those dogs up and rest them. Elevating your feet above the level of your heart allows the blood and lymph to drain from the affected area. Performing regular stretches can also keep your blood flowing and prevent fluid buildup.
In the end, you don’t have to live with the discomfort of water retention. Use these simple and natural tips to beat the bloat quickly.
What tips do you have to reduce water retention in the body? Share your thoughts in the comments below!