Water is essential to life. Our bodies are around 60% water. Water retention (otherwise known as oedema) is the buildup of fluid in the body. Water retention causes puffiness in the feet, legs, hands, eyes and even the stomach and breasts. Skin often feels tight and the affected body part may feel heavy. Pitting water retention is when affected areas temporarily hold the imprint of your finger when pressed.
The most common causes of water retention are high levels of salt in the body, dehydration, hormonal changes and food intolerances. Most of us have experienced water retention to some degree. On hot days you may notice your fingers feel puffy. Sore and swollen breasts before your period are usually a result of water retention.
If you’re struggling with water retention, try these five simple tips. The goal is to get water out of the tissues and into the cells. This blog post is no way a substitute for personalised medical advice. Water retention can be a sign of poorly functioning liver or kidneys. If the swelling is sudden or is only present on one side of the body, go and see a doctor. Moreover, if you’re experiencing shortness of breath or chest pains, call the emergency services.
Eat Enough Protein
Protein strengthens the walls of the blood vessels and prevents fluid from leaking into surrounding tissues. Low levels of serum protein called albumin, often result in water retention in the lower body (i.e., legs, ankles, feet). Including a quality protein such as fish, poultry, meat or eggs. Mixing a combination of vegetarian protein sources; such as beans, pulses, tofu and tempeh can serve as a substitute.
No matter who you are and what you do, it’s important to stay well hydrated. Cutting back on water intake in a bid to relieve water retention is a common mistake. As the blood vessels do not have enough fluid, it’s not getting transported to where it’s needed the most. Therefore, it’s very likely that a person who is suffering from water retention is dehydrated.
Eat Potassium Rich Foods
Potassium helps maintain the balance of fluid inside cells. Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium. Bananas are the most common food we think of when potassium is mentioned. In fact, several vegetables trump bananas. Green veggies such as broccoli, spinach and Brussel Sprouts have higher levels. Tomatoes, squashes, celery and potatoes are rich in potassium too. Basically, eat a variety of fresh fruit and veg.
Watch sodium intake
Sodium works alongside potassium to maintain cellular fluid levels. When sodium intake is too high, it can cause dehydration (which increases water retention). Cut back on high-salt foods and lessen the amount of salt that you add to foods. It’s not necessary to cut salt out altogether.
Improving circulation in the body is essential. Therefore, avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. Include some gentle movement in your daily routine. Given dehydration makes the situation worse, now is not the time to think about working up a sweat. Instead, go for a gentle walk, cycle or take part in some water aerobics. Moreover, if your job involves sitting for long periods, be sure to get up and move every hour. Massage is another way to increase circulation. A good massage therapist will know which massage is appropriate for you.