Scientifically proven ways to reduce fluid retention

Nov 26, 2022
How to reduce fluid retention. Source: Getty

Fluid retention is when swelling and discomfort occur under the skin and around joints. It happens when there is a problem with the body’s mechanisms for regulating and maintaining fluid levels, and suddenly the body’s mechanisms for draining fluid are not as effective.  Most people will usually experience fluid retention in their fingers, feet, ankles, and face.

The cardiovascular system, hormonal changes, liver, kidneys, and urinary system all play a role in the regulation of water levels in our body. Any disruption in these systems can all have a negative effect on the body’s ability to get rid of water.

As there are many reasons why you can develop fluid retention, it’s important to realise that not all remedies will work all the time. Some of the tried-and-true options include:

1. Reducing the sodium content of your diet. Diets high in sodium often lead to water retention, in conjunction with.

2. Increasing potassium in your diet. Electrolytes are not just about sodium, but potassium as well, and your sodium:potassium ratio. It needs to be balanced, and more often than not your sodium is too high, and potassium is too low. Potassium not only reduces sodium, but it also can increase your urinary output, which is fluid out of your body. By reducing the number of processed foods (including takeaway food), you can really reduce the amount of sodium in your diet. By adding foods like avocado, pumpkin, and spinach, you can naturally increase your potassium intake.

3. Increase your water intake. Believe it or not, not having enough water to drink will actually cause your body to hold on to water rather than release it.

4. Reducing the amount of stress in your daily life. This means all forms of stress – over-exercising, not sleeping enough, and restricting your calories too much is just as much a stress to your body as working 80-hour weeks. Chronically elevated cortisol levels can increase the sodium levels in your blood, which can then cause water retention in your tissue.

5. Paying attention to any food sensitivities. Gluten and dairy are the most common offenders, but peanuts, eggs, and soy are next on the list. Being intolerant to foods that you continue to eat creates high levels of inflammation, which drives your cortisol levels up (there’s that chronic inflammation and elevated cortisol level again!).

6. Ensure you have enough magnesium in your diet. Particularly for women as it can help with PMS and menopause symptoms. Spirulina, pea shoots, sprouted radish (in fact any of the sprouted grains), and artichokes have some of the highest magnesium content in vegetable sources. Magnesium helps with the electrical conductivity of muscle fibers (amongst many other benefits) which then further helps with the sodium and potassium levels in our blood.

These are just some of the proven ways that you can help to fight against fluid retention. If the problem persists despite trying all of the above, in conjunction with exercise, plenty of sleep, and clean eating, then it is worthwhile consulting your healthcare professional to rule out the possibility that any medication could be causing an issue or any underlying health condition.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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