Water retention, a common problem faced by most of the obese people is also known as fluid retention or oedema. Water retention can be defined as the accumulation of watery clear fluid in tissues or cavities of the body. At times people don’t even realize that they have water retention and cannot understand the reason for unexplained swelling or inability to lose weight or sudden weight gain. The causes for water retention can be classified into 3 categories; lifestyle, hormonal and medical:
- Sodium rich diet: Sodium is a very important nutrient for the body; it is responsible for maintaining blood pressure, regulating the functioning of nerves and muscles also it works as a neurotransmitter and helps in maintaining the functioning of the kidneys. When there is excessive sodium in the diet, the kidney increases its water reabsorption rate leading to water retention.
- Lack of physical activity: Due to standing or sitting for too long, the veins at times leak because of the high gravitational pressure, which leads to the tissues trapping the fluid ultimately leading to swollen ankles.
- Low protein intake/malnutrition: Protein plays an important role in maintaining the water balance of the body, Low protein levels in the body can prevent the water from returning from tissue spaces back to the capillaries.
- Monosodium glutamate: Also known as MSG is a common ingredient in Chinese food, many people get water retention after consuming it.
- Premenstrual Syndrome: A lot of women face premenstrual syndrome, commonly known as PMS, the shift in hormonal levels leads to bloating and retention of water.
- Birth control pills and hormonal therapy are also known to hold back fluid in the body.
- Change in Capillary Pressure: There are fluids rich in nutrients and oxygen that flows through the capillaries which are known as interstitial fluid. This fluid nourishes the cells and flows back through the capillaries, any change in pressure of the flow through the capillaries can cause water retention. At times there is leakage in the capillary walls, if too much fluid is released it starts getting absorbed into the tissues instead of returning back, causing water retention. It happens often when there is a lack of physical activity or presence of obesity. It is responsible for swollen arms and feet.
- Heart functioning: When the heart is not functioning properly and there are circulatory problems, it leads to swelling of the lungs and abdomen.
- Reduced kidney functioning: Kidney is responsible for maintaining the water level in the body, when there is reduced kidney functioning, it leads to water retention.
- Inflammation: Inflammation of the body leads to the release of histamine. Histamine causes the gap between the tissues to widen, if the inflammation persists it may lead to water retention.
- Medicines: Certain medicines can also cause the body to hold back water.
- Pregnancy and pre-eclampsia
Water retention can be controlled and avoided by two major methods; diuretics and lifestyle modification.
Either natural or medicinal diuretic is used to increase the urine output thus reducing water retention. Following is a list of natural diuretics which can reduce water retention:
- Dandelion: Research has proven that dandelion consumption can improve kidney function which can reduce water retention. It is available in the form of tea and coffee.
- Hawthorne berry: Apart from reducing water retention it is known to be beneficial for patients with heart problems. It is available in the form of fruit and tablets.
- Green and black tea: Caffeine is known to increase the urine output. Green tea, especially jasmine tea is considered the best diuretic.
- Potassium-rich fruits: Such as peaches, pineapple, lemon and other citrus fruits will help the body to release sodium through urine.
- Leafy greens and artichokes: Spinach, kale, cilantro, and parsley are high in potassium and increases the urine output while artichokes are known to treat bile deficiency and increase urine output
- Increase physical activity
- Decrease salt intake
- Reduce the intake of sodium-rich foods such as smoked, cured, canned and salted sardines, fish, ham, sausages and other cold cuts.
- Avoid Frozen foods
- Avoid salted nuts
- Drink at least 3 litres of water in a day
So the next time when you are not able to reduce weight or feel bloated, incorporate these foods into your diet and let go of the water retention.
You can also know your body parameters like Water Percentage, Fat Percentage, Muscle Percentage, Bone Percentage and Weight with the help of our Body Fat Analyser.
For Personalised Weight Management Plans, you can always call Dr Shikha’s NutriHealth at 011-46666000. You can also chat with our experts here.