04 Sep How to Stop Water Retention
If you’ve struggled to get into your favourite jeans recently or failed – again! – to do up the buttons on your smartest blouse, it’s time to discover how to stop water retention.
Water retention is far more common than you might think and can be particularly troublesome during hot weather, periods of inactivity such as sitting and working at home, or around the time of your period.
In most cases, it is just uncomfortable and annoying, but if symptoms persist, do tell your GP as occasionally water retention is a sign of an underlying health condition.
It’s good to know that even glamorous influencers on Instagram suffer from water retention. This series of photos of fit, slim women with bloated tummies on Insider.com shows just how dramatic it can be
However, for most people, it’s not something you just have to put up with!
Research into water retention
In a study of women, scientists at the University of Manchester found that girth (tummy) measurements could vary by up to six inches throughout the month for some patients. However, it showed that people were most likely to see swelling in breasts, fingers or hands and ankles.
How to stop water retention
Whatever your experience of bloating, it’s important to know how to get rid of fluid retention whenever it occurs.
Here are our top tips on what you can do to get rid of that annoying bloat.
Flush out the fluids
The most common mistake people make when they’ve identified that they have fluid retention is to stop drinking. The key to flushing away that unwanted water is actually to drink more water or clear fluids. Try and cut back on coffee, alcohol and caffeinated teas: if you’re craving a nice cuppa, try swapping your usual brew for Ginseng or raspberry leaf tea instead (but don’t take raspberry leaf if you’re pregnant).
Cut back on salt
The sodium in salt is one of the chief culprits when it comes to water retention. Your body is constantly working to keep the right balance between sodium and water, so if you have a lot of sodium in your diet, guess what? your body will hold on to water to keep the balance right.
The recommended daily amount of sodium for adults is 2.5g, which would be about a teaspoon of salt. This may sound like a lot, but when you consider that almost all processed foods from bread to fish fingers contain salt, it’s easy to see how it can mount up. Try choosing lower-sodium versions of your favourite foods and use a low-sodium salt for cooking (the chances are you won’t be able to tell the difference).
Move and stretch
Some fitness gurus refer to your calf muscles as your ‘second heart’ as they play a key role in pumping fluid around the lymph system, so your heart doesn’t have to do all the work on its own. They are particularly important for pumping fluid up from the feet and ankles
If you sit still for long periods of time, your calf muscles can’t perform this important task, which means that fluid can ‘pool’ in the soft tissues around your feet and ankles. So get up and get moving to help get that blood pumping again!
Increase your intake of magnesium
We only have a tiny amount of Magnesium in our bodies, yet this brilliant mineral is critical to hundreds of enzyme reactions that keep our bodies working efficiently, including regulating water retention. Magnesium is found naturally in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, nuts, whole grains and dark chocolate.
If you feel you don’t have enough magnesium-rich fools in your diet naturally and suffer from water retention, it could be worth trying a supplement alongside our other bloat-busting tips.
Make sure you have enough potassium in your diet
Potassium helps with keeping muscles – including the heart – in tip-top condition. It is also associated with managing sodium levels and helping to increase the production of urine, flushing out that unwanted water retention.
It is naturally found in red food such as tomatoes, as well as bananas, grapes and avocados. Or if your diet isn’t all it could be, you could consider taking a supplement.
Try cranberry juice
Cranberry juice has long been used to help shift unwanted water retention and is great if you don’t enjoy drinking water. It’s also very handy if you’re out for the evening and want to keep your intake of wines and spirits down.
Cranberry juice gives you a good shot of vitamin C, which helps keep illness at bay, but do bear in mind that it’s quite sweet so your teeth won’t thank you if you drink too much!
Take a herbal medicine for water retention containing dandelion
Dandelion has long been used as a natural diuretic, helping your kidneys to work effectively to flush out unwanted water and toxins from your body. It is also high in potassium, so gives you a double whammy of bloat-busting ingredients. HRI Water Balance contains 100mg of dandelion root and leaf, as well as extracts of anti-inflammatory herbs Uva Ursi and Buchu leaf. It is also a government-approved THR (Traditional Herbal Registration) for the highest quality and safety in Europe.
The Healthline blog reports that in one study, 17 volunteers took three doses of dandelion leaf extract over a 24-hour period. They monitored their fluid intake and output during the following days and reported a significant increase in the amount of urine produced.
Try these tips next time you feel a little bloated and you could be slipping back into those favourite jeans in no time!
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