Seven Healthy Ways to Reduce Water Retention

By Kate Harveston – November 1, 2019

Whether it’s a case of the monthlies or the after-effects of scarfing down a bag of chips instead of cooking dinner, water retention can make us feel uncomfortable. Plus, getting on the scale to find you’ve gained five pounds seemingly overnight can distress even the most body confident among us. Are there any proven methods to beat bloating quickly?

While developing better eating and exercise habits can prevent bloating from occurring, when it does strike, you can also alleviate it quickly and naturally. It takes a combination of the right diet, the right movements and ancient herbal wisdom, but with a little know-how, you can win the battle of the bloat bulge. Here are seven tips for doing so!

1. Work Out Regularly
Getting 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise most days of the week can alleviate a host of health woes and beating the bloat is no exception. Strive to work out every day, even when you don’t feel like it — such as when PMS strikes.

If you feel exercise resistant on a given day, commit to hitting the gym or the walking trail for at least five minutes. Most often, you’ll find you want to keep going once you start moving. If pain makes it difficult to run laps or perform squats, switch to swimming or aquatic aerobics instead of your usual HIIT class.

2. Drink More Water (Wait, What?)
Yes, it does sound contradictory, but staying hydrated is the best way to minimize water retention. Keep a reusable water bottle with you and sip regularly throughout the day. Although we often hear the myth that feeling thirsty equals dehydration, pass on waiting until you’re parched to chug down H20.

Not a fan of plain water? Add some lemon slices, which help reduce retention, or sip on green tea, another useful diuretic.

3. Cut Back on Salt
If you salt your food before tasting it, this habit could cause uncomfortable bloating. Too much sodium intake prompts the body to retain water in cells. Put down the shaker, and if you must opt for a crunchy snack, stick to carrots or celery sticks. Additionally, celery acts as a diuretic, making it an even better choice.

4. Kick Processed Foods to the Curb
Not only are processed foods high in sodium, but they also contain a host of chemicals implicated in the development of various diseases. And, sadly, over the past 70 years, the majority of the foods consumed by U.S. citizens fall into the ultra-processed category.

When grocery shopping, stick to the outer edges of the store but exercise caution at the deli counter. If opting for lunch meat, choose uncured meats like roasted chicken cut off the rotisserie.

5. Calm Your System with Magnesium
Stress can increase bloating, and magnesium can help reduce anxiety levels and combat excess sodium as a bonus. Increase your intake of certain magnesium rich foods like dark chocolate, avocados and nuts. Plus, some studies show increasing magnesium in your diet can limit water retention during PMS.

6. Try a Natural Diuretic
Certain herbs can help you beat the bloat. Here are some of the best to try:

  • Dandelion — Dandelion tea acts as a diuretic, but can taste bitter. Sweeten it with honey, which contains antioxidants. Alternately, toss a few dandelion leaves with your salad greens.
  • Parsley — This humble herb acts as a natural diuretic, too, so don’t toss that bit of garnish — eat it! You can also buy non-GMO certified parsley supplements.
  • Horsetail — Herbalists have long used Horsetail to help reduce water retention. The herb contains a ton of different compounds, and the raw plant is high in fiber, too. Horsetail also helps with silky hair and fingernail strength due to high silica content.
  • Caraway — The seeds have a mild, licorice-like flavor and they have long enjoyed use as a digestive tonic. Subjective evidence indicates they can help alleviate water weight gain, too.
  • Ginger — Love Asian fusion? Ginger can help bust belly bloat. Try something like a grilled gingered salmon recipe to get your heart-healthy omega-3’s along with the diuretic effect of this root herb.

7. Eat the Right Foods
Just as eating salty, processed foods can increase bloating, eating the right ones can reverse the effects. In general, foods high in water content beat retention best, such as:

  • Dark, leafy greens — Leafy greens like spinach and kale contain copious amounts of water. They also pack a powerful protein punch and contain filling fiber to keep you fuller longer.
  • Avocados — Avocados contain healthy fats, as well as a ton of vitamins and minerals necessary for keeping skin and hair healthy. Try topping a leafy salad with green goddess dressing containing avocado to double the bloat-busting effects!
  • Yogurt — Yogurt and other dairy products help boost bloat as long as you’re not lactose intolerant.
  • Bananas — Bananas contain potassium, which helps counteract the effects of too much sodium.

Beating Bloat the Natural Way
Few of us enjoy waking up only to find our favorite jeans don’t button easily. However, regardless of whether your water retention stems from excess sodium intake or hormonal changes, you can beat bloat naturally. Follow the tips above, and you’ll feel like your wonderful slim self in no time!

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