Water retention : All you need to know about it!

We’ve all heard the term “Water weight” being thrown around, but if you don’t understand what exactly it is, then those especially in the midst of a weight loss program can get quite discouraged by its contingency. Contrary to popular belief, Water retention is actually a helpful signal since it indicates the imbalance in the body. Simply put, it is a symptom and not a disease and in serious cases, it can be an indication of a problem with the kidneys, heart or the circulatory system. 

Normally, if you are consuming a healthy and nutritious diet, along with adequate consumption of water, fluid retention will not occur. But, there can be certain instances wherein your body will begin retaining fluid, therefore it becomes crucial to understand what is happening, so that the fluid levels within the body can be brought back to optimal levels. 

Let’s therefore learn how to spot it and treat it early.

What is water retention?

Water retention is defined as the excess buildup of fluid within the body tissues that can take up a variety of forms ranging from bloated belly, swollen ankles and puffiness and swelling of eyelids to nausea, fatigue and persistent coughing. 

What causes water retention?

Before the causes are explained, let’s emphasise on the fact that there can be several reasons as to why your body is retaining excess fluid. Although some of these causes can be easily treated, there are however certain tenets that may be indicative of a more serious underlying issue. It is therefore important to consult with a healthcare professional to come to a sound diagnosis. 

We will now discuss some lifestyle factors that are contributive to water retention, and ways of preventing it. 

– Consuming a diet that is high in Sodium : 

The body requires an adequate amount of Sodium and Potassium to maintain optimum levels of fluid in the body. Eating more than required salt can cause the body to retain water. It is therefore recommended to consume a maximum intake of 2300 mg (1 tsp) of salt per day for healthy individuals and not more than 1500 mg of salt per day for people with Heart disease and Hypertension.

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– Hormonal fluctuations  : 

Women seem to hold more water weight in the days leading up to their menstrual cycles. It is very common and happens due to hormonal changes which prepares the body for monthly menses . These hormonal fluctuations lead to greater water retention in the body of a woman.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash

– Standing or sitting for long periods of time  : 

A lot of water retention can be caused by prolonged periods of sedentary activity like sitting, sleeping, or standing still in one place. This is because sitting or standing still can cause your body tissues to retain fluid due to increase in blood pressure inside the vessels of legs and feet.

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 Other possible causes of water retention can be :

Kidney, Heart or Circulatory system disorders

– Certain medications like Hypertension medications, pain relievers, antidepressants etc

– Pre-eclampsia, cirrhosis of the liver, protein loss due to malnutrition

Now, If you’re nodding your head in agreement to all the signs and causes of water retention, and verbally agreeing to reading the above and saying “ Yes, I seem to have all those symptoms”, then continue reading below to find out some general remedies that can help you with Fluid retention!

General Lifestyle and Dietary suggestions :

  1. Consuming the recommended intake of upto 2300 mg of salt (1 tsp) for healthy individuals and less than 1500 mg of salt intake for individuals with Heart disease and Hypertension.
  2. Avoid canned foods including canned vegetables, soups, sauces etc.
  3. Avoid processed foods like potato chips, salted peanuts and other junk foods.
  4. Check food labels and opt for lower salt choices.
  5. In general opt for home cooked foods rather than restaurant foods.
  6. Increase the intake of Potassium rich foods like Bananas, Raisins, Tender Coconut water, Apricot, Berries, Apples, Spinach, Mushrooms etc as Potassium deficiency can lead to water retention.
  7. Consuming adequate quantity of water (between 8-10 glasses per day or more in accordance with level of physical activity) and other fluids such as Herbal teas, Barley water etc.
  8. Regular exercise of upto 30-40 minutes can prove to be a game changer as it helps stimulate blood circulation. Lifting your legs up against the wall can also help drain excess water.

Taking care of yourself emotionally and physically is the most important divisive factor in any treatment method and subsequent result. Allow yourself to reap in the natural benefits of adopting a healthy, nutritious diet and lifestyle. Reach out to the team of Foodnwellness for customised and tailored made wellness programs!

For any serious underlying health condition resulting in persistent water retention leading up to 1-2 kg of weight gain within a week, make sure to first consult with a physician before making any changes to your current health routine or taking medical action.

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Health or Success: What should be the priority?

How many times have you dashed out in the morning missing your breakfast because you were late for a meeting? Or how many times have you let your adolescent kid get away with store-bought junk food instead of a healthy meal because you just didn’t have the time to spend in the kitchen? Can you count the number of cups of coffee you’ve gulped in the office because you were stressed from work?

A small introspection into the pattern of life we lead today will reveal a simple but shocking truth: this generation prioritizes work, career, money and materialistic success over health.

The great poet Virgil once said, “The greatest wealth is health.” But it’s all in the textbooks now. Because the biggest reason we give ourselves to justify our obsession with materialism is that it is only temporary. “I will cut down on the coffee once this project is over.” “I will start having breakfast everyday once I get that promotion I’m working so hard for.” Or, “I will cook and serve my kids a balanced meal when I don’t have to do two shifts at work and when I have saved enough money.” But is it ever enough? Is there really an end to all the material validation that we seek? Is this condition really temporary?

The answer is a simple no. This rat race for wealth and success is an obsession that plagues the whole generation and one which never stops until the first major cardiac arrest or when the blood test yields a positive result of diabetes. That is when you realize how many opportunities of leading a well balanced life you have missed.

Here are a few ways our materialistic obsession has impacted our health:

  1. Working longer hours means being in stressed conditions for a longer period
  2. Excessive workload harms the work-life balance of the individual, thus preventing a wholesome life
  3. Working indoors for too long also amounts to longer hours of a sedentary lifestyle on a daily basis
  4. Prioritizing work often leads to sacrificing of important daily activities like:
  5. Timely meals
  6. Regular exercise
  • Pursuing of leisure activities and hobbies
  1. Spending quality time with friends and family
  2. A deficiency in time also leads to choice of unhealthy packaged and junk food on a regular basis
  3. A constant want for and pursuit of more is also linked with mental illnesses like depression

According to World Health Organization, “Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.”

It also asserts that “worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980”, that is, shortly after we stepped into the digital age, which has been responsible in bringing a significant change in the modern work system. (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/)

It is no news that obesity is largely fostered by unhealthy, irresponsible lifestyle choices. Which in turn is encouraged by our modern day madness over materialistic gains. Sure, it is important to keep up with the fast-moving world of today, but it is equally important to partake in the rich experiences that you work hard for in the first place. Know for a fact that the means of earning your wellbeing cannot be of a greater priority that your wellbeing itself.

Interestingly, small changes integrated into the daily lifestyle have a major impact on the greater wellbeing. Here are a few pointers on achieving a healthy work-life balance:

Make a schedule and follow it to the best of your abilities: This is perhaps the most important. When you go about your day without a schedule, you tend to overwork because work has a tendency to appear urgent and important. Careful scheduling however helps you secure enough time for other healthy activities and you know exactly when to stop working.

Do the 7-minute exercise everyday: Whoever came up with that idea did a favour to all the overworked souls who complain they don’t have enough time for exercise. But when it’s only a matter of 7 minutes, it’s easier to comply and commit. Nevertheless, starting off the day with those few minutes of exercise has a profoundly positive effect on your health.

Eat clean and on time: If your main source of diet is a lot of packaged, fried or fast food, back off immediately. Unhealthy food has the worst irreversible impact on your body. Practice healthy habits like carrying your lunch to work and stocking your kitchen with healthy snack options like fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, yogurt, milk, etc. Also important is to include meal times in the afore-mentioned schedule and stick to it religiously.

Never miss breakfast: The most important meal of the day. If you are typically always rushing to work and don’t have the time for a cereal-milk-fruits routine, try whizzing up a breakfast smoothie. What’s more, you can also carry some extra smoothie to work as a snacking option. Check out our Blueberry Peach smoothie recipe here (https://foodnwellness.com/blueberry-peach-smoothie/)

Spend some time on hobbies that do not entail work or responsibilities: Listening to music, reading, or even playing with your pets help wind down the work stress. Spending time with your favorite people is also a huge stress buster. Connect with your family and for a change, take genuine interest in their life happenings to build strong bonds as well as to leave your work tangles behind.

Consult an expert on a regular basis: The whirlwind lifestyle of today does take a toll on health at some point. Which is why it is important to regularly visit someone who can help with expert knowledge on the same. A professional doctor or a certified nutritionist is your best confidant in this case.

Start and end the day with gratitude: No matter how much we achieve, it will never seem to be enough unless we treasure what we already have. Be aware of all your possessions and be grateful for them. Practice your gratitude before you begin and end each day by either making a mental note or jotting them down on paper. Successful people around the world like Oprah Winfrey, Sir Richard Branson, and Tim Ferriss attribute their success to this simple habit.


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