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.

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– 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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Limit the consumption of these 4 unhealthy snacks!

Junk food is defined as “any food, which is low in essential nutrients and high in everything else – calories and sodium”. Junk foods contain little or no proteins, vitamins or minerals but are rich in salt, sugar, fats and are high in energy (calories). Junk food is popular because it is tasty; but it is unhealthy. It is low in fiber, high in fat, and sugar in liquid form. Studies have shown that despite being unhealthy, junk food induces gorging that leads to obesity. Below, we focus on 4 unhealthy though popular snacks.

 1)   Papad

Both North and South Indian lunches and dinners are incomplete without the all-time favourite Papads. Rice, dal, sabji, aachar along with papad is a must in our homes. And, if papad not there, it can be a cause for much displeasure.

The recipe for making papad is handed down over generations. Rice, flour, lentils, potatoes, chickpeas or black gram and various spices, salt and peanut oil are ground together to prepare a smooth dough. This dough is then spread in round flat thin breads and sun dried. Some of us have seen our grandmoms and moms spending afternoons making papads. In some places, it is a family event with all the aunts coming over to make them.

Papads are served either fried or roasted. They are okay for occasional consumption, but not for excessive or even regular indulgence. Papad has a large amount of salt which acts as a preservative and also makes the papad tasty. However, too much salt (sodium) in our body leads to high blood pressure, water retention, abdominal bloating, increased thirst, diabetes, etc. Some of our papad varieties have liberal servings of spices. Excess of spices is also not good.

We typically consume at least 2-3 pieces of papad in one sitting and immediately feel acidic with unpleasant burps and sensation of indigestion. When consumed in excess, papads may stick to the intestinal lining and can lead to constipation and gastric issues.

Fried Papad v/s Roasted Papad?

Fried papads cooked in the same oil repeatedly which is rich in trans fat. Trans fat is extremely dangerous and will lead to increase in levels of bad cholesterol in the body causing heart problem, diabetes etc. While roasted papads are better than fried papads, daily roasted papad intake is not recommended, as it’s very acidic and has high sodium content.

I am not trying to scare you all but if you care about your body then be considerate and controlled in your consumption of papads.

 2)    Samosa

A medium to large size samosa gives us 250 – 310 calories and is loaded with carbs and fats. The cooking oil in which it’s cooked is the main culprit. Road side stalls use the same oil to fry multiple times making the oil stale. Most of the time, hydrogenated oils (contain trans fats) are used to fry samosas. Trans fats are generated when liquid oils are turned into solid or semi-solid fats through hydrogenation, a process by which hydrogen is added to vegetable oil. This happens when oil is recycled during cooking, or when food is heated over and over again in the same oil it was cooked in. Hydrogenation increases shelf life and improves taste making samosas tastier and crispier. Samosas are very fattening. Cholesterol, digestion issues, trans fats, refined flour are good reasons to think before you snack on samosas.

Home made samosas or Frozen samosas?

Homemade samosas are relatively better than street samosas if we don’t re-use oil and if we use healthier fillings as compared to street fillings.

Frozen samosas are pre-fried and again needed to be fried at home, so not much better.

Snack on something healthier, other than samosas. Burning 300 calories will require you to walk an average of approx. 6 km.  Samosa or Health – the choice is yours.

 3)    Bhujia

Bhujia is one of the most popular junk food that we consume. Almost every Indian household has 1-2 packets of bhujia (can be any variant) in their monthly grocery list and bhujias occupy a permanent space on the dining table. For every holiday travel, a variety of bhujias is a must pack. But how many times do we really look at the nutritional content of each servings of the bhujia. One serving is typical 10 grams and the minimum intake in one sitting is 3-8 spoons (30 gms to 80 grams). Nutritional content of 100 gms of Aloo Bhujia is Energy – 630 kcal, Protein – 5 g, Total Carbohydrate – 40 g, Total Fat – 50 g, 6Trans Fats – 0 g. Cholesterol – 0 mg, Sodium – 670 mg. Calorie break down 71 % fat, 25 % Carbohydrate and 3 % Protein. Most of the bhujias are deep fried and also use preservatives to increase the shelf life.

Taking bhujias for a prolonged period can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

4)    Mysore Pak

Flying out of Chennai on some occasions, I have seen lots of fresh packs of Mysore Pak being bought from Krishna Sweets. Growing up in old Calcutta (now Kolkata), the sweet is new for me. We grew up only on the traditional chhanar rosogollas and sandesh. Having tasted the Mysore Pak, it is a delicious sweet which melts into the mouth. Aha…! Mysore Pak is one of the most popular sweets in South India, and is prepared using large amounts of ghee, vegetable oil, sugar, water and besan (gram flour). On an average the serving size of 50g gives around 200 calories with about 100 calories coming from fat. The sweet provides generous amounts of saturated fat and sugar. From a health point of view, regular consumption is not recommended with occasional treat advisable for the sweet cravings.

Before, you pop 2-3 pieces, imagine the amount of work you would need to do to burn those extra calories.

What are some healthy snack options that you can have

  • Murmura or puffed rice (jhaal muri from Bengal),
  • Nuts like almonds and peanuts
  • Talmakhana (lotus seeds) – roasted and unsweetened
  • Sprouts salads
  • Fresh cut vegetables with hummus or guacamole
  • Fresh cut fruits
  • Poha

 So next time THINK before you polish the papad, samosas, bhujias and mysore pak in the evenings, when you are hungry or with your liquor. LIMIT the frequency and the quantity. Your health is in your hands.

 

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image sourse: health.com

Healthy vs Fad Diets

image sourse: health.com

image source: health.com

Good Health comes with a healthy weight, neither too more nor too less. The Key to healthy weight is what we eat and how much we eat along with moderate to high exercise.In recent years, there has been a proliferation of fad diets which are sold as low fat diets and the best way to lose weight. Enough research evidence exists that low fat diets don’t work as these replace fat with easily digested carbs.They try to restrict select nutrients from our daily intake, which results in short term weight loss which ultimately leads to nutrient deficiency .

Hundreds of diets have been created, many promising fast and permanent weight loss. Remember the Atkins diet? The grapefruit diet? 3 day water diet? Low carb.. Blood type diet.. and various celebrity diets?
Fact is that any diet will work which gives us fewer calories than what we intake.
The best diet for losing weight is one that is good for all parts of your body, from your brain to your toes, and not just for our waistline. It should also be one which we can manage for a longer period of time without too much issues. Ideally a good diet plan is one that offers plenty of good to taste and healthy choices, excludes only few foods, and is easy on wallet and availability.
The Most common diet that fits the above bill is a Mediterranean-type diet.
Mediterranean diet and its variations which typically consists of
· Several servings of fruits and vegetables a day
· Whole-grain breads and cereals
· Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and olive oil
· Lean protein from poultry, fish, and beans
· Limited amounts of red meat
· Moderate wine consumption with meals .

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