Do you ever find that you are feeling great one day, then you wake up the next day 2 kilos heavier with swollen ankles and fingers, along with everything else? Water retention is common in women, especially when hormones come into play. There are several reasons why we can have water retention issues, and many of them are not so serious so don’t fret just yet.

I know how frustrating it can be to be seeing some great results and then feeling very disheartened when the weight on the scale goes up out of nowhere. It's OK. It can just be fluid fluctuations, and if you are doing everything correctly, in most cases it is just that. Women generally experience water retention during their time of the month and obviously during pregnancy.

However, it can also be common in people who are inactive such as if you sit at a desk all day, or go on a long flight. But don’t worry! There are a few things you can do to keep your water retention at bay.

7 ways to reduce water retention

1. Watch your salt intake

Salt is something that I always recommend keeping in your diet. However, too much salt can cause some issues in a few individuals. Salt is made up of sodium and chloride and the sodium itself binds to water molecules in the body in order to keep fluid balance in and out of the cells.

Everyone’s sodium level tolerance before fluid retention sets in will vary depending on the individual. So if you suffer from frequent water retention make sure that you remain aware of your salt/sodium intake. If you are overdoing, or especially if you are eating more processed foods, you may need to bring your sodium intake down a notch.

2. Get moving

Exercising and getting your body moving can be very helping with reducing the effects of water retention. When your body is moving your core body temperature increases which will help you sweat out excess fluid. When you exercise there is also more circulation and blood flow around the body, which can help combat your fluid retention now and prevent it in the future.

3. Increase your Vitamin B and B6

Vitamin B is responsible for the distribution of fluid in your body. A diet that is low in B vitamins and adequate protein and lead to excess water being retained in the body.

4. Dandelion tea

Dandelion is a natural diuretic and is a herb that has been used by our ancestors for years. Natural diuretics make you pee more often and hence reduce water being retained in the body. You can quite easily find dandelion tea. Just make sure you are drinking plenty of water to ensure you stay hydrated.

5. Drink more water

It is a common misconception that you should restrict your water intake when you have water retention, but dehydration will actually cause further water retention to occur. Dehydration will cause a higher concentration of sodium in the blood and will signal the body to hold onto water instead of releasing it.

If your fluid retention is the result of excess sodium, dehydration or PMS, then drinking plenty of water is a MUST. Even though you may feel like you have guzzled down gallons of water in your day, make sure you have a minimum of 3 L (or 30 ml per pound). Staying hydrated will help your body release any excess water that it has been holding onto. 

6. Eat water loss foods

If you feel like you are still holding onto excess water, a slight tweak to your veggie intake may help with the issue. Adding in a daily serving of vegetables that have mild diuretic properties may just be what you need. Vegetables that main help with water retention issues include:

  • Celery
  • Grapefruit
  • Strawberries
  • Eggs
  • Asparagus
  • Cucumber

In my program Body By Nina, you can swap out foods for others. Just refer to the instructions on how to do it. 

7. Beware of food intolerance

If you are having any issues with your gut and digestion this can be causing inflammation and as a result fluid retention. Common food intolerances to be aware of are dairy and gluten. Most people do not have sufficient enzymes to break them down which can lead to gas, bloating and fluid retention. 

Other foods to be wary of are nightshade vegetables which are most commonly potatoes, peppers (capsicum), tomatoes and eggplant. When someone it intolerant to a certain food it can cause the body to hold more water in the cells by making the cell walls more permeable, meaning the digestive system is not dealing very well with a particular food. 

Try keeping a food diary and note down any symptoms that you notice after consuming certain foods. Try eliminating them one at a time to see if you have any positive effects.