Have you ever wondered why your weight seems to fluctuate every day? This can be very frustrating to dieters, making them feel like they aren’t making any real progress despite all their hard work.
But don’t worry, it’s not that you magically became two pounds fatter overnight. These small fluctuations are usually just caused by you gaining or losing water weight. Liquid makes up a huge portion of the human body, and you regularly take it in or flush it out, making it difficult for your weight to really stay constant. This is why fitness coaches recommend measuring your weight right after you wake up, and only a few times a month.
In fact, around 60% of the human body is composed of water at any given time. But there are cases when this balance is disrupted. Water retention happens when the tissues between cells store more water than they should, leading to bloat and other symptoms.
This might be why you’ve been feeling puffy lately. Water retention can be very unflattering; we’ll help you learn its most common signs, and the best natural ways to relieve it.
Signs of Water Retention
How do you tell if you have water retention? First, as we mentioned earlier, your body will feel much more bloated and puffy. Clothes won’t fit as well, especially gloves or shoes since your hands and feet will likely be swollen.
If you press on your skin, it may hold the indent for a few seconds. Many of the affected body parts may start aching, and your joints will be unusually stiff. You could also experience an increased pulse rate, skin discoloration, and rapid weight gain.
Water retention has many possible causes. Hot weather, hormones, lack of certain vitamins like Vitamin B1, and side effects from medications and contraceptives are just a few. We advise consulting your doctor if you aren’t sure what exactly may have caused your water retention.
If you think that you might be holding onto too much water weight, here are some tips on how to flush out that excess fluid that’s weighing you down.
The Importance of Diet and Lifestyle
What you eat can affect how much water your body stores. First, try to eat less salt. Your body responds to high sodium intake by storing more water than normal, in an effort to keep blood sodium levels healthy. You should also try to avoid refined carbohydrates - such as processed sugar and grains - since these can lead to higher sodium absorption.
Working out regularly is also essential. Exercise stimulates the body to flush out excess fluid through sweating, and allows muscles to absorb more water at the same time. This is why many people with sedentary lifestyles end up developing water retention.
Lastly, even things like sleeping well and reducing stress levels have an indirect effect on your water weight. Make sure to take good care of yourself so your body can stay in top condition.
Do You Get Enough Water Every Day?
Although it may sound really counterintuitive, drinking more water may actually help reduce water weight. This is because when you’re constantly dehydrated, the body learns to retain more fluids to prevent water levels from falling dangerously low.
So even if you don’t feel thirsty, try to up your fluid intake and drink the recommended eight glasses of water every day. You’ll probably go to the bathroom a lot during the first few days as your body gets used to it, but this will work wonders for relieving water retention.
Staying well-hydrated has a wide range of other health benefits too. Water is needed to flush out waste, keep skin supple, prevent muscle cramps, and support cardiovascular health.
Herbs That Can Help
Finally, we get to diuretics. These are substances that can be consumed to promote diuresis (the production of urine), which directly reduces your body’s water levels. Many diuretics have been used for centuries in traditional medicine, so you know that they are potent and effective.
Here are a number of herbs that work to relieve water retention fast and gently. You will often find them in the ingredients list of “water pills” and other supplements for reducing water retention.
- Dandelion - One of the most well-known natural diuretics on the market, taking Dandelion root encourages your kidneys to release more urine, flushing out excess water and sodium from your body. Some athletes and bodybuilders even take it before competitions to help drop those last few pounds or make themselves look more “lean”.
- Juniper - Many supplements for reducing water weight contain Juniper Berry extract. It has been used for many years as a diuretic, and studies have shown that when consumed regularly, it has a significant effect on urine volume. It has also been shown to relieve muscle cramps and fight arthritis, making it great for maintaining good mobility.
- Green Tea - A somewhat unexpected example, Green Tea leaves are also effective at relieving water retention. This synergizes nicely with its well-known weight loss effects. Drinking a cup of this soothing tea every morning may be a good idea, especially when you consider its high amount of antioxidants and other health benefits.
- Hibiscus - This flowering plant is common in India and tropical regions. Like green tea, it has a high antioxidant content and has been shown to significantly increase urine volume. Hibiscus may also improve kidney filtration, helping your body flush out the toxins and impurities inside it. However, some people experience increased appetites after consuming this flower.
- Hawthorn - Long known for its cardiovascular benefits, Hawthorn has also been used to relieve water retention and support healthy digestion. It may also support a normal blood pressure level and reduce bad cholesterol with regular use. Other traditional uses include stress reduction, improving sleep, and relieving stomach ache.
By supplementing with these natural substances, you may find water retention much easier to deal with. If you’ve ever tried any of them, let us know in the comments how they worked out!