Home Remedies for Water Retention

A tendency toward water retention indicates a weakness in the adrenals/kidneys, the circulatory system or possibly the heart.Water retention problem in modern times, is more due to our lifestyle and wrong food habits! It’s better to be alert before it’s too late and take steps to prevent water retention that may prove fatal in the course of time. And if you already suffer from water retention, you should not only take self help to flush out excess fluid out of your body but also seek medical assistance to rule out any serious pathological condition. It could be anything ranging from heart, kidney, liver, lungs, or thyroid disorders. If your medical tests are negative then you should understand that your body water retention may be due to some generalized causes including excessive salt and alcohol intake or hormonal imbalances or even some wrong lifestyle habits!

Water Retention in Women
Bloating in females is the cause of many health-related problems, including high blood pressure, PMS, and even certain maternity issues. Worse, it makes it extremely difficult to lose weight on a diet or fitness routine!

Women will see symptoms of water retention at about the time of menstrual cycle. There would also be sudden increase in weight. This happens due to imbalances in our estrogen levels which turn on production of a hormone called "aldosterone". Aldosterone then causes our kidneys to retain fluids throughout the body, and we see a sudden gain in water weight quickly. Which is why many of you would experience swollen knees and legs during this time. Pain, discomfort, and inconvenience all add up to a tough time for anyone going through this tough issue.

The simple way to get rid of excess water is cut back on the foods and ingredients that hasten and increase its retention within our bodies.

  1. Limit your intake of salt/sodium: High salt intake leads to retention of sodium and thereby water in your body. This expands extra cellular volume in the body. Said simply, when you eat salt, your body tries to dilute it by holding water around your cells and in this process supplies more water to your bloodstream. This not only increases water weight in your body but also leads to other complications. As your heart has to deal with extra fluid in the blood vessels, it may increase your blood pressure which in turn may increase the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Also, when you eat more salt, your body flushes out more calcium through urine which may lead to osteoporosis and reduced bone density. So, it is wise to lower the intake of salt not only to cure water retention but also to keep other health complications at bay.

    Tips to reduce salt intake for elimination of water retention
    • Cook food at home most of the time. Hotels and restaurants are loaded with sodium.
    • Use lesser amount of salt while cooking food at home.
    • Remove salt shaker from your dining table. Don’t add salt while eating food. Instead, you may use other herbs and spices for flavor.
    • Avoid canned foods including canned veggies, soups, sauces etc. as they use more salt as preservatives and also to make the foods flavorful.
    • Avoid having processed foods like potato chips, salted peanuts as well as junk foods.
    • Women should especially reduce taking salt prior to their menstrual cycle every month. Hormonal change during this period leads to greater water retention in the body of a woman.

    In normal situation, the recommend level of salt in diet is a maximum of 2,300 mg of sodium per day. People with heart disease and high blood pressure should have less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. However, when you need to eliminate water retention, you need to reduce your salt even less than these recommended levels.

    Suggestion: Sugar too indirectly helps in water retention. It increases general insulin level in your body, which in turn decreases your body’s ability to flush off sodium or salt. Therefore, sugar intake should also be reduced along with salt consumption.

  2. Increase intake of food rich in potassium: Potassium  is an important mineral which is needed for proper functioning of body cells, tissues and organs and helps wipe out fluid retention. Potassium is an electrolyte which along with sodium maintains normal water balance in body. Potassium also helps stimulate the kidneys so that they may flush off waste along with excessive salt out of the body.

    Potassium deficiency may lead to water retention causing edema, swelling, and weight gain. So have foods rich in potassium too. Most of the fruits are rich in potassium as also certain vegetables.

    Some good options are bananas and raisins. Bananas contain high amounts of potassium, which helps eliminate fluid retention. If you are not that banana freak try raisins as a substitute as they can also serve the same purpose.

    You can also include following potassium rich fruits and other foods for water retention:
    • Apricot
    • Blackberries
    • Peaches
    • Strawberries
    • Apples
    • Oranges
    • Raspberries
    • Spinach
    • Fresh Mushrooms
    • Bell Peppers
    • Avocados
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Melons
    • Watercress

  3. Water. When you feel waterlogged, guzzling a glass of H2O might be the last thing on your mind. But it may be the best thing for you. Water flushes out the system better than anything else and can reduce premenstrual bloating. Drink 8 to 10 glasses a day; more when you exercise. (NOTE: This advice is only for PMS bloating. If your water retention is caused by any other medical condition, be sure to ask your doctor before drinking extra water -- it may not be good for you.)

    Tips for drinking more water for elimination of water retention
    • Drink water whenever you feel thirsty. Don’t postpone this for other works. Always keep water in your reach. Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go.
    • Drink at least 6-8 glasses of filtered water every day whether you are thirsty or not. Sometimes, we do not recognize the thirst signal and mistake it for hunger.
    • Watch your urine. If it is yellow and thick or you do not urinate much during the day, your body is in need of water. Your urine should be clear.
    • If you feel weakness, dizziness, cramping, headaches and dry mouth without any explainable reason, it might be dehydration. Drink water.
  4. Natural diuretics, or foods help your body release more urine. When you urinate frequently, your body not only releases extra water but also flush off the toxins and lower your blood pressure by resuming water-sodium balance. You can always have one or the other diuretic foods on daily basis. However, if you are already on diuretic or anti-diuretic medication, consult your doctor before including diuretic food in your diet.

    List of diuretic foods to help eliminate water retention
    • Cranberries
    • Grapes
    • Watermelon
    • Leafy greens
    • Lemon
    • Pineapple
    • Juniper Berries
    • Tomatoes
    • Pumpkin
    • Asparagus
    • Artichokes
    • Beets
    • Onion
    • Brussels Sprouts
    • Cabbage
    • Leeks
    • Carrots
    • Cucumber
    • Lettuce
    • Watercress
    • Celery
    • Eggplant
      However, urinating often means your body also releases potassium along with water and toxins. So, you need to have foods rich in potassium to maintain your potassium levels.

  5. Garlic Remedy for Water Retention
    Garlic is one herb that we use extensively in our cooking and that’s good. Garlic along with all its medicinal values is also an excellent diuretic. It releases water as well as toxin out of your body. Not only this, garlic also beaks down body fat thus helping you lose weight. If you don’t use garlic in your dishes, start adding it as a cure for your water retention.

  6. Eat Yogurt to Eliminate Water Retention

  7. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein. Lack of protein in your blood can lead to water retention. Protein aids in holding salt and water inside your blood vessels so that fluid does not leak out into your tissues. When the blood protein, albumin, becomes too low, fluid retention happens and you suffer from edema, particularly in your feet, ankles and lower legs. Most of the times, protein level goes down in blood due to malnutrition, kidney and liver disease. Yogurt gives you a healthy boost of protein. It is also high in potassium. While all types of yogurts are rich in protein, Greek yogurt has most of it to keep your albumin protein levels up. Greek yogurt is nothing but yogurt which is strained using cloth or paper bag and which attains a consistency between that of yogurt and cheese. Other foods high in protein include milk, cottage cheese, egg white, fish, tofu etc.

    Warning: If you are on dialysis and take low protein diet for your kidneys, consult your doctor before adding yogurt or any other protein rich food in your meals.

  8. Dandelion Leaves Tea for Eliminating Water Retention
    Dandelion herb has been used traditionally for its medicinal values particularly for liver and kidney disorders as well as heartburn and other digestive problems. Dandelion herb also acts as a natural diuretic and facilitate the kidneys to increase the volume of urine which flushes out the extra salt out of your body. Dandelion is also high on calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese and potassium, making it further useful in treating fluid retention.

    Precaution: Dandelion herb is generally considered safe. However, some people may be allergic to the weed and sometimes the herb may lead to mild gastric trouble. As dandelion may interact with certain medications like diuretics, diabetes drugs and lithium, consult with your doctor before including dandelion tea as a remedy for water retention.

  9. Parsley Remedies for Water Retention
    Parsley is high on antioxidants, calcium, iron, and B complex vitamins. It inhibits the re-absorption of sodium and potassium which causes more water to flow through osmosis. This increases the volume of urine. Due to its excellent diuretic properties, parsley has been used to treat kidney stones, urinary tract infection and edema or the swelling due to water retention.

  10. Barley water: Ayurveda, the Indian medicine recommends barley water for edema. It is comparatively a healthy drink having mild diuretic properties. It is also safe for pregnant women who suffer from swollen legs due to hormonal and blood chemistry changes during pregnancy.

  11. Coriander seeds are diuretic in nature and can help prevent as well as eliminate water retention. It is also rich in potassium further making it beneficial for fluid retention. The other components of coriander seeds include Vitamins-A, C, and K, thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium and small quantities of niacin, vitamin-b6, phosphorous and zinc. Ayurveda recommends coriander for fast elimination of water retention.

  12. Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds have in them anethole, the compound which give it the anise flavor and is responsible for most of its medicinal values. Fennel tea had been used in traditional medicine as a cure for water retention due to its diuretic properties.So, use fennel seeds to eliminate water retention in your body.

  13. Exercise continuously: Exercise has been shown to reduce the water retention by flushing out the water and salt through sweating, higher respiration and increased urine flow. If you have been sitting for a long time, walk up and down or climb stairs every hour. You can also try the following exercise: point the toes downward, then raise them up as high as possible which pumps up the calf and foot muscles. You can also raise your hands up overhead. Exercising over time allows the reversal of water retention because of strengthening of the circulatory system and the repairing of damaged capillaries.

  14. Try Ice Packs to reduce Inflammation: a solid ten minutes of treatment with a ziplock bag full of ice (wrapped in a towel) can reduce inflammation dramatically and will ease the pressure of knees, ankles, and feet. If on the other hand you are suffering from a diabetic condition please check with your family physician before performing any ice-related treatment.

  15. Essential oils that may help fluid retention include cypress, geranium, juniper, lavender and rosemary. Essential oils may be used in a number of ways including inhalation, baths, vaporizers, mouthwashes and gargles, compresses and massage.

  16. Lie down with feet up: Recline with feet up in the raised position. This will allow the fluid collected in the legs to go to the circulatory systems and from there to the kidneys for excretion.
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