I’m sure you are familiar with this picture… You’ve just woken up; look in the mirror thinking: “My entire wellness regime is surely NOT paying off.” Your face looks puffier than normal, you feel bloated with your clothes not that loose fitting anymore and you can’t get your rings on or off your fingers. Chances are that your body is retaining water. It is a common condition called edema. It is something every woman on this planet battles with from time to time BUT it can be managed!
Most of the cells in your body have a lot of water both inside and outside of them. This balance of water is can fluctuate with changes in salt content, hormones and kidney activity. Eating a big salty meal, drinking too much alcohol, a woman’s menstruation cycle or pregnancy can trigger the kidneys to retain more water than usual. Certain medications can also upset the balance of water in cells. Menopausal women on estrogen replacement therapy commonly experience water retention. Everyone retains water in different ways…
Cures for Water Retention
There are several ways you can control water retention on your own. They are all straight forward but require some discipline and determination. If you are willing to put in the effort, these steps should reduce most cases of mild water retention within a few days. As you go through the list you will identify the culprits. Don’t just leave it there- Make Small changes to get Great results!
Cut Out the Salt
The only way to reduce water retention is to also reduce the amount of salt in your diet. Read labels carefully for the sodium content. This is the primary ingredient in salt. A single can of soup can have half your recommended daily allowance of sodium. Make low sodium food choices and do not add salt to your food.
I hardly ever had protein (other than milk and yoghurt) with my breakfast. Since I’ve incorporated that my tendency to hold water back became much less.
Hydrate Your Body
The body attempts to remove the salt through the kidneys. It is washed away in the urine. To do this, the body needs water. The more water you drink, the faster salt is removed from your body. Be sure to drink water and not soft drinks. Soft drinks contain salt.
Avoid Things That Dehydrate
Certain chemicals dehydrate the body and interfere with the kidneys ability to rid the body of salt. The two most commonly ingested dehydrating substances are alcohol and caffeine. When they are consumed in significant amounts, they slow down the kidneys and contribute to water retention. When you are trying to reduce swelling due to water retention avoid beer, wine, mixed drinks and coffee.
Keep your body guessing
Make sure you don’t reach a plateau by altering your diet and workout slightly on a regular basis. Our bodies are so clever- it adapt extremely quick to any situations. Make sure that your lifestyle is dynamic – your body will function optimally- I have firsthand experience of that.
Consume Things That Naturally Reduce Water Retention
Some liquids have been shown to reduce mild water retention symptoms. These include green tea, cranberry juice and lemon juice. They can help control some swelling but probably won’t eliminate water retention on their own.
Increase Fiber In Your Diet
Fiber helps flush out toxins in your body. This includes salt. Eat more high fiber cereal, oatmeal and multi grain bread. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber. Remember not to salt these high fiber foods when you eat them.
Take Your Vitamins
Low levels of calcium have been associated with water retention. The lack of several other vitamins and minerals can also contribute to edema. Eat a well rounded diet and take a multi vitamin if you are not getting enough nutrients from your food.
Exercise gets all the water in the body moving around so the kidneys can process it faster. The sooner your kidneys eliminate salt from your system, the sooner the water retention will subside. Exercise also secretes salt from the body in the form of perspiration and encourages you to drink more water. Remember to drink water and not a liquid that will encourage edema.
Studies have shown that swimming helps regulate the salt content of your cells. Taking a bath is not enough. You must get in some reasonably deep water and perform some sort of physical activity. If reducing water retention is your goal and you need to exercise anyway, you might as well take care of both with some vigorous swimming.
Get More Sleep
The moment I am sleep deprived, my body holds back water. This is the MAIN reason why I suffer water retention often. The hormone melatonin has been associated with the body’s ability to regulate fluids. Melatonin is secreted by the body when it is dark. It is therefore closely connected to sleep patterns. In general, the more you sleep the more melatonin your body produces. The more melatonin you have in your body, the better it deals with water retention.
Manage your stress levels
Next to a lack of enough sleep, stress is the biggest contributor to my edema struggles. Learn to prioritize and consciously take time off to relax with your family or spending time outdoors. Best advice: Be active and put on your trainers! Make the sweat break- your stresses will vanish into thin air!
The Diuretics Controversy
Diuretics are drugs designed purge the body of unwanted water. They can be effective for providing relief from mild and occasional water retention. However, if diuretic drugs are taken on a regular basis there is the risk of rebound edema. This occurs when the body builds a tolerance to diuretic drugs and compensates when they are taken. Water retention can return worse than before and an increase in the dosage diuretic drugs might not do anything to stop it. It can also be dangerous. Always consult a doctor before taking any diuretic drugs.
When You Should Not Try To Cure Water Retention Yourself
Water retention can be a symptom of a very serious medical condition. If these home cures for water retention do not reduce the swelling within one week, see a doctor. You should consult a medical professional immediately if the swelling is so bad that your skin dents when you jab it with your finger or if you are pregnant. The symptoms could be an indication of a problem with the heart, liver, kidneys or thyroid gland.
Always remember: Whatever you do- Keep the BALANCE