If you ever notice swelling in your hands, feet or ankles, or perhaps even bloating in other areas, it’s usually because you’re retaining water or other fluids. Although it can be uncomfortable, it’s usually nothing to worry about.
The symptoms of water retention often cause a lot more concern than they’re worth. The puffiness and bloated feelings you may experience are easy to take care of with some simple home remedies.
Symptoms of Water Retention
The symptoms of water retention typically involve swelling and puffiness around the body. Some of the most common places for this to occur are around your extremities like the wrists, hands, fingers, ankles, feet and toes. It can result in some joint pain, stiffness, weight gain and increased heart rate, but these symptoms are rather easy to get rid of. There are a number of quick and easy natural remedies that offer treatment for water retention—you can even do them at home.
How to Get Rid of Water Retention
1. Drink fluids
It may sound counterproductive, but one of the best ways to flush excess fluid from your body is to drink more of it. Now not all fluids are created equal; you’ll want to stick to options like water or unsweetened tea. Stay away from fluids like soda and fruit juices that are high in sugar, along with alcohol, which will contribute to dehydration. Dehydration causes your body to retain what fluids are in it, resulting in swelling. Drink eight glasses of water per day to stay hydrated and prevent swelling. Increasing your fluid intake can also get fluids moving around your body.
2. Put your feet up
If you notice swelling around your ankles, feet or toes, sit back and elevate them while you enjoy a glass of water. Elevating your feet will help draw fluid from the area, and although it’s a short-term solution it can buy some time while you hydrate.
Dandelions can help ease fluid retention by acting as natural diuretics. A diuretic is something that helps the body get rid of fluid by drawing it from the system. Dandelions also have potassium, which is an electrolyte that helps counteract the effects of sodium and helps your body remove waste. You can take dandelion in the form of an herbal tea or as a supplement. For tea, steep one teaspoon of dried dandelion in a cup of water for about 10 minutes. Drink it up to three times per day until you notice improvement. If you elect to use supplements, then take a 500 milligram dose one to three times per day. I’d recommend postponing the use of diuretics like dandelions until you’ve increased your water intake. Diuretics can cause more problems if you’re not already adequately hydrated.
Parsley is a natural diuretic that can help relieve the bloating and swelling caused by fluid retention. It can also help improve kidney function, which can boost your ability to flush out waste. It plays a big role in getting rid of fluids. Urination, after all, is a way you relieve excess fluid.
This health, leafy green vegetable can help draw water by ramping up urination. About 1/2 of a bunch to one bunch per day should produce good results.
6. Eat less processed foods
Processed foods are loaded with sodium, which has a direct impact on fluid retention. Although adding salt to fresh meals won’t play a major role on your sodium intake, eating processed foods does. Most Americans consume multiple times the daily recommended intake of sodium, which can create much bigger problems than water retention—like cardiovascular disease. If you want to limit water retention, eat less sodium by limiting the amount of processed foods and packaged goods you consume. Processed foods also contribute to inflammation.
7. Lemon juice
There are number of health benefits attributed to lemon juice. For one, it’s generally good for your metabolism. Kickstart your day by adding some fresh lemon to your water of some lemon juice in a cup of warm water. It can also help alkalize and flush toxins help from the body. Try a couple of tablespoons in a cup of warm water, once per day, until you see results.
8. Fennel seeds
Fennel is another decent natural diuretic option that can help flush your body of excess water and sodium. Try adding one teaspoon of fennel seeds to a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes, then drink it. Do this three times per day until you notice an improvement.
9. Increase your activity
Activity gets blood and water moving around your body. Any activity like walking, cycling, swimming or dancing can get your heart pumping and increase the efficiency or your metabolism, while improving overall functionality. It also gets rid of excess water by way of sweating. However, it is important to remember that the more exercise you do, the more water you’ll need to stay adequately hydrated.
10. Cranberry juice
Cranberry juice can act as a home remedy for a number of conditions, including urinary tract infections (UTIs). What makes it so beneficial for UTIs—and treating water retention—is that it encourages trips to the bathroom by possessing natural diuretic properties. Cranberry juice is a nutrient-rich option with plenty of important electrolytes like magnesium and potassium to encourage fluid balance.
11. Eat more fruits and vegetables
A diet high in fruits and vegetables can help limit inflammation, adding valuable nutrition as well as helping you battle back against swelling and bloating caused by water retention. Pick options that have high water content for the most benefit, which include things like leafy greens, berries, apples and citrus fruit.
Eating more garlic can also help you get rid of excess water. It’s one of the more powerful natural diuretics available and it tastes great. It makes a perfect addition to virtually any meal, and it can also be purchased in supplement form if you are worried about bad breath!
13. Reduce the amount of sugar you eat
Refined carbs in bread, crackers, cookies and snacks can contribute to water retention. Since these foods are bad for you anyways, limiting them is highly recommended. They increase insulin levels making it more difficult for excess fluid to leave your system.
14. Get more potassium
Getting too little potassium every day plays a big role in water retention, so make sure you get at least 4,700-5,100 micrograms of potassium per day. Potassium helps with the removal waste, as well as moving nutrients to your cells. Some high-potassium foods are bananas, sweet potatoes, yogurt and beet greens.
15. Apple cider vinegar
Seemingly the home remedy for everything, apple cider vinegar helps provide potassium while acting as a diuretic. If you can stand the flavor, try adding some to your water.
When Water Retention is Normal
There are certain circumstances where water retention is normal. Women going through menopause are more likely to experience water retention causing puffiness and swelling than at other times. Also, being at high altitudes (e.g. on an airplane), dry air and high heat can also contribute to it. If you’re in one of these situations be sure to increase your water intake to reduce the impact.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Braverman, J., “Is Lemon a Natural Diuretic?” Livestrong.com, April 18, 2015; http://www.livestrong.com/article/16266-lemon-natural-diuretic/.
Kreydiyyeh, S.I., et al., “Diuretic effect and mechanism of action of parsley,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2002; Mar; 79(3):353-7.
Pantoja, C.V., et al., “Diuretic and natriuretic effects of chromatographically purified fraction of garlic (Allium sativum),” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 1996; Jun; 52(2):101-5.
Clare, B.A. et al., “The Diuretic Effect in Human Subjects of an Extract of Taraxacum officinale Folium over a Single Day,” Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, 2009; Aug; 15(8): 929–934.