Common Foods that combat water retention
Several factors may cause the body to retain water, including dehydration, histamine, hormones, medication and diet. It is a common misconception that drinking too much water causes water retention. This will occasionally occur when a person mistakenly overhydrates with water during intense physical instead of drinking fluids engineered to replace the minerals lost through sweat (e.g. Emergen C, Gatorade, Powerade).
What causes water retention?
To combat water retention (oedema), it is important to understand how the body works and what goes wrong to create the problem of water retention. The body passes water through the capillaries into the surrounding tissue, bringing oxygen and nutrients to them. Then, the water passes back into the capillaries, carrying with it the toxin that refuses to be flushed out of the body through urine or sweat.
Water retention occurs when some factor interferes with the body’s natural ability to flush toxins. Instead of the toxin-filled water being flushed, the tissue cells expand to make room for the water. This expansion continues to allow more and more water to build up in the body, bloating out the tissue, causing puffiness, tenderness, weight gain (all that water weights a lot!), cellulite (a combination of fat and water) and swelling in the arms, hands, feet or legs.
Diet changes to combat water retention
Fortunately, minor changes in diet can effectively combat these factors and help restore the body’s natural process.
Foods that cause side effects and problems in the human body resulting in water retention and extra fluid include:
1) Sodium, found in salty foods and processed meats, canned foods and packaged snacks
2) “Bad” saturated fats found in fried foods, processed foods and canned vegetables
5) Sugar / sugary drinks
The first step to combating water retention is ensuring the body has enough fresh water to flush out the toxin-filled high water content. Dehydration will cause the body to store enough water as it can, so drinking plenty of water. Ideally, a minimum of 8 glasses of water daily is highly recommended to prevent fluid retention and excess water weight.
Diet tips to combat water retention
Asparagus, tomatoes and garlic are excellent foods for a healthy diet and for combating water retention and fluid balance. Eating raw fruits and vegetables, unprocessed meats and fresh, healthy snacks to avoid ingesting too much sodium or “bad” saturated fats. This includes making soup with whole grains and fresh vegetables from scratch is the best way instead of eating canned soup and using frozen berries on plain cereal instead of eating cereal with dried/preserved fruit already in it also ideal for weight loss.
“Good – best foods” saturated fats can be found in healthy proteins rather than junk food such as egg yolks, dark meat poultry, organ meats, beef, veal and pork. Diets with a reduced protein intake can cause problems requiring medical attention. Protein is essential to water flushing processes once signs of water retention are apparent. Reducing protein for long periods pulls excess fluid out of the tissues and causes swelling, so it is important to keep protein food items in the diet.
Coffee and tea drinkers may want to consider switching to green tea, which has been found to assist the body in flushing excess water and toxins. Tea made from fresh parsley or dandelion leaves is a good idea and is renowned for its ability to combat water retention and body weight gain. Tender young dandelion leaves are also a delightful addition to a salad.
Although coffee and tea are diuretics, frequent urination caused by diuretics causes dehydration. Further, the body is forced to adapt to the intake of diuretics if ingested regularly. To adapt, the body begins to produce hormones that slow down urination and causes even more water retention issues and weight gain. So, use diuretic teas sparingly. Two cups a day is a great way when extra water retention and fluid buildup are an issue.
Sugar causes the body to produce insulin which interferes with the ability to eliminate salt from the system. The resulting salt build-up retains water. So, lowering sugar intake is beneficial in combating water retention.
Sometimes, water retention is a common problem due to lifestyle changes and can be caused by too little glucose in the body and a lack of physical activity. Glucose is a simple sugar that cells need for energy. The body stores glucose after meals and slowly releases it as needed throughout the day. The body will hang onto what it has if there isn’t enough. Glucose, as a sugar, retains sodium intake, i.e., salt and thus, retains water. Increasing fluid levels.
Although glucose is a type of sugar the body produces, it does not come from the sugar we ingest. Glucose is made from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The body uses starch foods such as grains, pasta, rice, potatoes and crackers, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products to make glucose. Including a helping of rice with supper or snacking on cheese and crackers in the afternoon will help keep glucose levels up, ultimately preventing the body from retaining water.
Cranberry juice and apple cider vinegar have been found to combat water retention. In contrast, an increase in Calcium, Vitamin A and Potassium (in tablet form or from foods such as dairy and bananas) has also been suggested as beneficial.
Eliminating foods that cause water retention and increasing foods that help flush water from the body will help shed the painful and unwanted water weight, making for a happier, healthier life.