Water retention, commonly known as the fluid retention or edema, occurs in the body when excess fluids build up in your body. Water retention occurs in the circulatory system of the human body or within tissues and cavities. It may also cause swelling in the hands, feet, ankles, and legs.
Causes Of Water Retention
There are many potential causes, including:
Water retention may occur during pregnancy or before a menstrual period in a girl/woman as a result of changes in levels of certain hormones, such as progesterone.
Lack of physical activity
People who are physically inactive or exert negligibly in physical activities in any form for medical reasons may be affected by fluid retention, particularly in the lower legs or between them.
Our kidneys are responsible for maintaining fluid levels in the body. People suffering from chronic kidney disease often experience fluid retention.
If your heart can’t pump enough blood through your body as a result of congestive heart failure, one may experience fluid buildup in the lungs and your arms and legs.
A severe protein deficiency can cause the kwashiorkor disease, a condition which is characterized by fluid retention and an enlarged stomach.
Some infections in the body may trigger inflammation and swelling, which are normal in the body’s immune response.
Obesity is a complex disease that builds an excessive amount of body fat. It may be associated with increased water retention in the core, arms, and legs or wherever there is excessive fat.
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Certain medications like oral contraceptives, corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), calcium-channel blockers, and some diabetes medications, may increase water retention in the body.
4 Ways To Reduce Water Retention
1. Eating less salt
Sodium in the salt binds to water in your body and helps in maintaining the balance of fluids both on the inside and outside the body's cells. If you often eat food items that are high in salt, such as processed foods, the body may retain water. These food items are the biggest dietary source of sodium in most western diets.
The most basic advice for reducing water retention is to decrease the sodium intake. It has been found that increased sodium intake leads to increased fluid retention in the body. However, many other factors are involved in regulating fluid balance, and the effects of salt on water retention may vary from one person to another.
2. Increase your magnesium intake
Magnesium is a very important mineral with innumerable benefits. It’s involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions that keep the functioning of the body proper. Additionally, increasing your magnesium intake also helps in reducing water retention.
In fact, it is suggested that magnesium supplements happen to help in decreasing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women, including bloating and water retention. A few good sources of magnesium include nuts, whole grains, dark chocolate, and leafy green vegetables. Magnesium is also available in a supplement form.
3. Get more of vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin which plays a key role in the formation of red blood cells, protein metabolism, brain function, and immune health in our bodies. It regulates the fluid balance and helps in reducing water retention as well.
This vitamin B6 may also help in reducing PMS symptoms such as bloating when used alone or combined with other supplements such as calcium. One can easily increase their intake of this vitamin by eating foods such as bananas, potatoes, chickpeas, walnuts, and tuna.
4. Limit your refined carb intake
Refined carb sources like white bread, pasta, and crackers are typically high in carbs or added sugar and also low in fiber, which leads to rapid spikes in the blood sugar and insulin levels.
High insulin levels may cause more sodium retention by increasing the re-absorption of this mineral in the kidneys. In turn, this may lead to more fluid volume in your body that causes an increased water retention.
Our liver and muscles store carbs as glycogen, a form of sugar that’s bound to water. Because each gram of glycogen is stored with at least 3 grams of water, following a high carb diet may cause increased water retention. It’s best to go for food items that are fiber-rich and whole grains instead, quinoa, oats, brown rice, or whole wheat bread.