You know those days when you can barely get your rings on your fingers or your shoes feel really tight as you’re trying to put them on? Or perhaps you’re struggling just a little too hard with the top button on your pants? So we may have indulged a little the day before, but is it possible to have put on that much weight overnight? While that may be possible, more likely than not it’s water weight you’re actually dealing with. Otherwise known as water retention, it’s happened to the best of us, and more frequently than we’d like to admit!
What Is Water Retention?
So what is water retention, exactly? Also known as fluid retention or edema, it’s basically the accumulation of excess fluid in your body and is what causes the inexplicable puffiness, tiredness and uncomfortable feeling of bloat that you get on certain days. It’s important to note that if you are experiencing perpetual or severe bloating and puffiness, it may be a good idea to consult a physician. In most cases, however, water retention isn’t something that you need to worry about. In fact, there are some very effective ways to help reduce or get rid of that uncomfortable bloated sensation entirely.
It might seem counterintuitive to fight fire with fire (or in this case, more like add water to an overflowing pot), but drinking water is probably one of the most effective ways to counter the fluid retention. Why? Simply because the body is more likely to hold on to any excess fluids when it is dehydrated. So the more water you consume, the less likely your body will need to hold on to water.
Avoid Dehydrating Food and Drinks
For the same reason, it’s important to keep away from drinks that will dehydrate you. That means sayonara to coffee (sorry!), alcohol and any beverage containing a high sugar content (soda, lemonade, etc). Instead, opt for warm water and a slice of lemon. Not only will it help to hydrate you and reduce the bloated feeling, it’ll also provide you with the energy boost you need. In fact, some have purported that drinking water with a slice of lemon may not only help with losing water weight, it could also help with weight loss, in general. The same applies to foods that are loaded with sugars, and this includes simple carbohydrates such as cakes and doughnuts or even the more healthful foods like store-bought yogurt and granola.
Say No to Salty Foods
When you take in a lot of sodium and don’t drink enough water to balance out its effects, the body is likely to hold on to fluids, which then leads to fluid retention and the resulting bloating sensation. Along the same vein, you’ll need to cut down on high-sodium foods so that your body can essentially relax and release the excess water. So yes, hold the ham sandwich and put away that pack of salted potato chips, please.
Say Yes to a Banana
Which brings us to bananas. Bananas contain significant levels of the mineral potassium, which is known for counteracting the effects of sodium as well as plays an important role in the regulation of fluid in our body. So if you’re feeling bloated, feel free to treat yourself to a healthy banana.
Crunch on a Brazil Nut
Along with cashews and almonds, brazil nuts are high in magnesium, a mineral that can potentially help reduce fluid retention. Just make sure they’re unsalted. There are plenty of other delicious and healthy foods that you can consume to up your intake of magnesium, including dark chocolate, lentils, and avocados.
Consume Foods Rich in Vitamin B6
When you’re feeling bloated, eating may not be on the top of your list of things to do. But increasing your intake of Vitamin B6 may go a long way towards reducing that discomfort caused by bloat. Vitamin B6 can easily be found in your nearest health food store and you could certainly pick up a bottle of supplements and pop a pill. Alternatively Vitamin B6 can also be found in many foods such as sweet potato, tofu, fish, chicken and beef. The choice is yours.
Go for a Walk
After you’ve had your fill of delicious and nutritious food, you’ll be glad to know that getting in some light physical activity can also help with fluid retention and raise your energy levels at the same time. A light walk is highly recommended (make sure you’re hydrated!) and cycling too. So go for it and you’ll hopefully feel the puffiness disappear!
Raise It up
Finally, another common remedy that’s known to work for easing fluid retention (particularly if you’re experiencing it in your lower limbs) is to elevate your feet for a short period of time. This may help to push out the excess fluid that has built up in the limbs.