The human body contains around 60% water, which plays a key role in all aspects of life. However, excess water retention (edema) is a common side effect of chronic inflammation.
Also known as fluid retention, edema can be caused by food intolerances, poor diet, toxin exposure and diseases like kidney failure. Women may also experience water retention during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle and during pregnancy.
For most people, excess water weight is not a serious health issue. However, it can still negatively impact your appearance and quality of life.
The right ways to lose Water Weight
Move Your Body to Lose Water Weight
Water retention makes you disinclined to exercise, but physical activity helps you sweat away excess water weight. It might be hard to get motivated for a brisk walk, light jog or dance fitness class, but the movement will make you feel better.
If you feel the water weight might be due to regularly working out, don’t stop. The extra hydration is healthy, and so is your fitness routine. If you stop drinking fluids to support workouts, you’ll also be risking poor performance. Put more emphasis on how you feel and your strength and endurance, rather than on a number on the scale.
Physical inactivity is one of the main culprits of water retention, so getting up and moving is one simple way to help shed water weight quickly and prevent tissues from holding on to excess water in your feet and ankles. Of course, increasing your physical activity is a win-win, because it can also help you lose fat and build muscle too.
Exercising can also cause you to lose water weight by burning up glycogen to provide energy.
Eat More Potassium
The mineral potassium counteracts some of the effects of consuming an excess of sodium, including moderating your water balance. Eating more potassium-rich foods may help you flush that water weight more quickly than you would on your own, and it offers other benefits, including support for nerve and muscle health. Sweet potatoes, tomatoes, yogurt, fish and white beans are quality sources of the mineral.
Don’t take a potassium supplement unless directed to do so by your medical provider.
Eat Adequate Protein
Protein plays a big part in maintaining fluid balance and keeping water and salt from leaking out into the tissues, so getting enough protein into your diet is crucial for avoiding water accumulation.
This is especially important for those on any kind of restrictive diet. Vegetarians and vegans, for example, should be especially mindful about monitoring protein intake.
Manage Salt Intake
Sodium, which you obtain daily from salt, is one of the most common electrolytes in the human body.
It plays a major role in hydration levels. If levels are too low or too high, it will lead to imbalances within the body and therefore fluid retention. A high salt intake, usually due to a diet with lots of processed foods, may increase water retention. This is particularly true if coupled with low water intake and no exercise.
However, this does seem to depend on the individual’s current daily sodium intake and blood levels. One study tested this and found that you may only store excess water if you drastically increase or change your habitual daily intake
Research on sleep highlights that it’s just as important as diet and exercise .Sleep may also affect the sympathetic renal nerves in the kidneys, which regulate sodium and water balance. One study found that when you sleep, your body acts like a plumbing system and flushes “toxins” out of the brain.
Adequate sleep may also help your body control hydration levels and minimize water retention. Aim to get a healthy amount of sleep per night, which for most individuals will be around 7–9 hours.