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10 Ways To Reduce Water Retention and How It's Caused

The Cabinet — 05.28.24

Have you ever noticed your rings feeling tighter or your ankles looking swollen? At Hilma, we understand that water retention can make you feel puffy and uncomfortable. It’s a common issue, and knowing its causes and symptoms is essential for your overall wellness. 

From dietary choices to hormonal changes, several factors can lead to fluid buildup in body tissues. Let’s explore what water retention is, how it differs from bloating, and how you can take steps to reduce it and feel your best.

Are Bloat and Water Retention the Same?

Bloat and water retention might seem similar, but they’re different. Bloating is usually that uncomfortable feeling of fullness in your abdomen, often due to gas or digestive issues

Water retention, on the other hand, is about excess fluid accumulating in various parts of the body, causing swelling — especially in areas like your ankles and fingers. 

While both can make you feel uncomfortable, knowing the difference is important for addressing each one effectively.

What Causes Water Retention?

Water retention can sneak up on you, leading to discomfort and puffiness. Various factors contribute to this common issue, each affecting your body in unique ways. 

Let's explore the primary culprits:

Hormonal Swings

Hormones and gut health are intertwined. You know how life feels a bit more challenging during that time of the month (your menstrual cycle)? Hormones like to mix things up, especially during menstruation and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), leading to water retention. It’s your body's way of adapting to these shifts, holding onto water as a natural response.

Salty Snacks and Meals

Love your salty snacks? Here’s the scoop: too much salt leads your body to hold onto water. It’s all about balance. When there’s extra salt floating around, your body holds onto water to dilute it, which can make you feel bloated and puffy.

Kidney Check

Your kidneys play the VIP role of filtering and balancing fluids. If they’re not up to speed due to certain health conditions, they might not do the best job, leading to a backlog of fluids — that’s water retention for you.

Heart Health

Think of your heart as the central pump of your personal plumbing system. If it's not pumping at full force, due to something like congestive heart failure, fluids can start to pool in your legs or even your lungs, causing noticeable swelling (medically known as edema).

Carb Loading

Carbs aren’t just about energy — they also bring water into the equation. When you stock up on carbohydrates, your body stores them as glycogen, which binds with water. So, a big pasta dinner might make your body hold onto more water than usual. 

Hydration Paradox

Not drinking enough water might sound like a good way to not retain it, right? Wrong. Your body, ever the survivalist, holds onto water when it senses you’re not getting enough, preparing for drier times ahead.

Lack of Movement

Prolonged sitting (or even standing in one position) for too long can cause fluid to pool in the lower extremities. Regular movement helps circulate fluid and reduce water retention.

How Can You Tell If You're Retaining Water?

Recognizing water retention isn't just about feeling a bit puffy. Here are some tell-tale signs that your body might be holding onto excess fluid:

If you observe these symptoms persistently, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and appropriate management. While occasional water retention is common, significant or sudden swelling might require medical attention to ensure it’s not linked to broader health conditions like high blood pressure, heart failure, or other medical conditions affecting the kidneys or blood vessels.

How Do I Reduce Water Retention?

Now that we've explored what triggers water retention, let's shift our focus to 10 effective strategies that can help you manage and minimize it. Balancing fluid levels is not just about feeling less bloated — it's about enhancing your overall sense of well-being.

1. Watch Your Salt Intake

Including less salt in your diet isn't just good for your blood pressure — it can also help keep water retention at bay. Instead of reaching for the salt shaker, why not spice things up with herbs or lemon juice? This small change helps manage sodium levels and reduce fluid buildup.

Similarly, selecting low-sodium broths when cooking and instead adding your own salt usually significantly reduces the amount of total sodium.

2. Keep Hydrated

Grabbing a glass of water might be the last thing on your mind when you feel bloated, but it can actually help. Drinking water flushes out high sodium and keeps things flowing in your system, reducing water retention. So, drink plenty of water!

3. Potassium Power

Potassium is a mineral that helps balance fluids in your body. Eating potassium-rich foods like bananas, spinach, and avocados can help balance sodium and hydration levels, naturally easing water retention. 

Potassium and sodium are electrolytes that work together to maintain fluid balance within cells and throughout the body. While sodium tends to draw water into the bloodstream, increasing blood volume and potentially leading to water retention, potassium helps counteract these effects by promoting sodium excretion through the urine.

4. Rethink Carbs

Not all carbs are created equal. Reducing your intake of refined carbs like white bread and sugary snacks can decrease insulin spikes, which in turn helps reduce sodium retention and the associated water weight. Try integrating more whole grains and vegetables instead.

5. Magnesium Matters

This mineral is like a secret weapon for combating water retention, especially for women dealing with menstrual bloat. Foods high in magnesium, or even magnesium supplements, can really help in so many ways, from regulating hormones that control sodium reabsorption, supporting kidney function, and relaxing blood vessel walls.

6. Move More

Exercise isn't just great for your mood — it also helps keep your fluids moving. Regular physical activity stimulates circulation and helps flush out excess water by sweating.

7. Natural Helpers

Some natural diuretics like dandelion can encourage your body to expel excess fluid. Integrating these into your diet as teas or supplements can support your efforts to get rid of water retention. Always check with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, especially if you're already taking medications like water pills.

8. Sleep Soundly

Quality sleep is crucial for your body's hormonal balance, which affects fluid retention. Establishing a soothing bedtime routine and aiming for seven to nine hours of sleep per night can help maintain healthy water levels in your body.

9. Stress Less

Stress can lead to a surge in hormones that may cause your body to retain more sodium and fluid. Finding effective ways to manage stress — like yoga, reading, or meditation — can significantly improve how your body handles water.

10. Take Breaks From Sitting

If your job has you sitting for long stretches, it's time to take a stand — literally. Frequent breaks to walk around or simply standing up can improve your circulation, helping to prevent water from pooling in your legs.

How Can Hilma Help With Water Retention?

At Hilma, we are dedicated to providing natural, scientifically-backed solutions that support your body's balance. Our range of products, formulated with the expertise of MDs and clinical herbalists, includes ingredients known to aid in reducing water retention effectively.

For instance, our Dandelion Root in the Dairy + Gluten Digestive Enzymes offers a gentle, natural diuretic effect, helping your body to manage fluid levels efficiently. Likewise, Magnesium, found in our natural Sleep Support supplement, assists in regulating water balance and is essential for electrolyte management.

Incorporating these remedies into your daily wellness routine can support your body's natural ability to manage fluid retention, especially when combined with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle changes. By choosing Hilma, you're opting for clean, responsible ingredients that work in harmony with your body to foster overall health and comfort.

Quenching the Swell: A Final Word on Water Retention

Water retention can feel like a daily nuisance, but understanding its causes, spotting the signs, and making thoughtful lifestyle tweaks can really change the game. Eating right, staying active, and keeping hydrated is foundational.

If you’re looking for extra support in managing fluid balance, why not give Hilma a try? Our products are crafted with care, combining the best of nature with solid science to help you feel your best. 

Visit our website to explore options tailored just for you. Embrace a more balanced life with Hilma by your side — because everyone deserves to feel great every day! Whether it's reducing sodium intake or enhancing your diet with potassium-rich foods, every little step counts.

And remember, Hilma is here to help with natural solutions that support your journey to a healthier, more comfortable you!


Bloating: Causes and Prevention Tips | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Heart failure - fluids and diuretics | MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) - Symptoms & causes | Mayo Clinic

Fluid retention (oedema) | Better Health Channel

Potassium | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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