By Dietician & Nutritionist Dr. Poonam Duneja and Founder Nutrifybypoonam Diet & Wellness Clinic.
We all face different kinds of challenges during our weight loss journey. Since most people are dehydrated when they age, the body tends to retain water and cause ‘edema’ . It’s usually harmless and it becomes quite challenging for a professional athlete or a boy builder to fall in a certain body weight category. Excess water retention can also be due to a medical issue like heart, liver or kidney disease.
Women also face water retention during the luteal phase of the cycle which can cause heaviness in breasts , swelling of face , hands or feet. We can lose excess water weight by the following natural ways
1) Regular Exercise – During exercise the body loses 0.5-1 liters of sweat depending on temperature, hydration levels and clothing. Regular physical exercise reduces water outside of the cell and decreases the soft look due to excess water retention.
2) Adequate sleep may also help your body water levels and reduce water retention. Try to get 8 hours of restful of good night sleep
3) Stress management – Chronic stress increases the hormone cortisol which directly induces water retention. Stress increases ADH (Antidiuretic hormone) that controls water balance in the body. Stress management will help normalize the levels of ADH and cortisol which is important for fluid balance and long term disease risk.
4) Supplement with Magnesium and potassium – When these electrolyte levels are too low or too high , it causes a shift in fluid balance and it leads to more water weight. Excess hydration levels , exercising in hot humid climates also needs replenishment of these electrolytes to replace those lost in sweat. Inversely , large amounts of these supplements coupled with less intake of water may again cause water retention
5) Avoid salty foods – If sodium levels are too low or high, it will lead to fluid imbalance within the body and result in water retention. Intake of lot of highly processed food , pickles , soups also lead to water retention
6) Dandelion tea– Dandelion also known as Taraxacum officinale , a herb used in treating water retention. Bodybuilders and athletes also use dandelion supplements to drop water weight to fall in a particular weight category. Dandelion helps you lose excess water by signaling kidneys to expel more water through urine and additional sodium.
7) Keep hydrated– Being well hydrated can actually reduce water retention . If you are in constant dehydration, your body tends to retain more water in an attempt to conserve more water if levels go too low. Optimal water intake of 2-3 liters daily ensure general health including good digestive health , fat loss and brain function
8) Include green leafy vegetables like bananas, avocados , tomatoes, yogurt to add more potassium rich foods. Magnesium rich foods include dark chocolate , nuts and whole grains .
9) Following herbs also help you remove excess water weight like corn silk , horse tail, hibiscus , fennel, nettle , garlic. Include low FODMAP foods
10) Cutting carbs is a common strategy to quickly drop excess water as carbs are stored in muscles and liver as glycogen. That’s why people lose eight when they cut carbs. Low carb diets lead to a drop in insulin levels which lead to loss of water and sodium from kidneys.
Including coffee and tea can have diuretic effects too.