Is it difficult to lose weight and as soon as you eat bread and butter, or a carb and something salty, you swell up like a balloon? Or perhaps you’re carrying that tell-tale, soft weight around your face. Wherever and however you suffer from fluid, or water retention, here are some natural ways to prevent it.
What to know about fluid retention
Fluid retention, or oedema, occurs when fluid isn’t removed from the body’s tissues properly. This can include the skin, and may happen during hot weather, after eating salty foods or when it’s your time of the month if you’re a lady.
Symptoms include swelling in the feet, hands and ankles, a feeling of stiffness or aching and weight fluctuations, puffiness, stiff joints, a bloated feeling, increased blood pressure and pulse rate.
Other things that cause fluid retention include:
- venous insufficiency (when your blood isn’t getting back to the heart through the veins well)
- exposure to high altitudes
- high blood pressure
- heart problems
- kidney issues
- chronic lung disease
- thyroid disorders
- specific medications and oral contraceptives, so check the box or ask your GP.
Drinking lots of water is useful to the kidneys and will help your body get rid of that extra water weight, but make sure that your water retention isn’t connected to any diseases, first, if the swelling is serious or you already know you have something that might be causing it.
Foods to avoid if fluid is being retained
Getting enough potassium really helps with water retention. It will help balance the sodium that many of us consume without even realising it. Potassium helps the body excrete excess fluid through your wee.
Cut down on salty foods, and add in:
- citrus fruits: lemons, grapefruit, tangerines, clementines, oranges, and limes
- cantaloupe melon, and apricots
- sweet potatoes and winter squash
- butter beans
- tomatoes, peas, broccoli and lots of greens
- milk, yogurt and nuts of all kinds.
Natural remedies for fluid retention
A lack of circulation can sometimes cause water retention, so make sure you exercise! This might include some gentle walking, but bear in mind that the stronger your muscles contract, the stronger the effect on water retention!
Dandelion is a great diuretic, and since it contains lots of potassium, it helps reduce the sodium levels in the body. It is chock full of magnesium, too, so it’s great at easing pre-menstrual bloating.
To make some dandelion tea, simply steep a teaspoon of dried dandelion (available at most health food shops) in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes or more. Strain and drink three times daily.
You can also find tinctures and supplements in the UK. Take 500 mg tablets or capsules 1-3 times per day.
Make sure that taking dandelion tea isn’t going to interfere with any medications you are on with your doctor before trying this remedy.
Parsley is an excellent tonic for the kidneys and is a diuretic. Put two teaspoons into a cup of boiling water, letting it steep for around 10 minutes. Help yourself to three cups a day, or alternatively add some freshly picked sprigs to your fresh vegetable juices.
Epsom salt baths can help get rid of water and that bloated tummy through reverse osmosis. It draws excess water and toxins out of the body, calms the nerves and soothes aching muscles, too!
Add two cups of the salts to your warm bath. Soak in these healing waters for 15 minutes. Use this technique up to three times per week when needed.
Aromatherapy oils can reduce water retention by stimulating the lymphatic system. Put 20 drops of geranium, cypress and juniper essential oils into a warm bathtub. Relax in the water for a minimum of 10 minutes. You can do this up to three times a week. Very relaxing, too.
Juice recipes for fluid retention
The best juices contain some lemon and cucumber, but feel free to experiment. You could also try:
- 3 basil leaves
- 1.5 cups of blueberries
- 2 pinches of cayenne pepper or another chili pepper
- 1/2 a lime, including the skin
- 5 cups of watermelon, cut into chunks.
Juice all these ingredients in a juicer or blend and then strain through a mesh bag or new stockings. Shake, stir, and serve!
A green juice you’ll love
- Spinach – one bunch
- 1 romaine lettuce
- A little Swiss chard
- 10 medium-sized apples, cored
- A handful of kale
- 5 sticks of celery
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 tablespoons of parsley
- 1/2 a handful of mint
Juice or blend and strain. Enjoy.