If you find you wake up with puffy eyes most mornings or frequently experience swelling around the feet or ankles, it may be a sign that your body is retaining water.
‘Edema’, or water retention, is most commonly experienced in the legs, ankles, and feet but can be seen in other areas of the body including the face.
Whilst it can occasionally be a symptom of a larger health concern, the cause of water retention can sometimes be as simple as your diet.
Here are three ways your diet may be leading your body to retain excess fluid.
Too much salt:
The chances are, your diet is packed with sodium and you may not even realise it. Salt causes our body to hold on to water. In excessive amounts, this can lead to a build-up of fluid that has nowhere to go. In fact, if we are consuming too much salt, we could be holding up to 1.5 litres in excess cellular fluid!
Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet begins with reading food labels. Avoiding foods that are pre-packaged, as well as takeaway/fast food, will help you see a dramatic drop in your sodium levels.
You’re missing out on the right nutrients:
Some nutrients can specifically aid in reducing water retention. According to the Better Health Channel of Victoria, vitamin B-5, vitamin B-6, vitamin D and calcium, all play a useful role in reducing fluid retention.
Focus on vegetables such as kale and broccoli, legumes and eggs yolks for your vitamin B-5 intake. Vitamin B-6 can be found in brown rice and red meat such as beef. Your best source of calcium comes from dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese and you should receive most of the vitamin D you need simply by spending some moderate time outdoors.
You’re drinking the wrong fluids:
Just because you are retaining water doesn’t mean you should cut back on drinking it. It’s important to understand that not all drinks are made equal. We want to remain hydrated – cutting back on your hydration levels leads the body to believe it needs to kick into survival mode and reserve water. That’s not the effect that we are looking for!
Drinking plenty of water will help the body flush out any toxins in the system and remain as hydrated as possible.
Other beverages, such as coffee, tea, and alcohol can worsen the situation by further dehydrating the body. If you are suffering from any form of water retention, it would be best to avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks altogether and focus on water.
If you find drinking the recommended 8 – 10 glasses of water per day – check out our tips to boost your daily intake here!
If you suffer from severe fluid retention, we recommend seeking advice from a medical practitioner as it can be symptomatic of further health issues and concerns the likes of your kidneys and/or heart.