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Water plays a major role in all aspects of our lives and is vital to our health and vitality. Our bodies contain around 60% water. But as wonderful as water is, water retention is not a great feeling and hinders most people from feeling their best. Getting rid of water retention and water weight is an important first step to any weight loss program especially if you want to feel light, energetic, lean and healthy. (It should be noted that excess water retention (edema) is a different issue that shouldn’t be ignored. Even though in most cases it’s harmless, it may be a side effect of a serious medical condition.)

It’s easy for a healthy adult to get rid of unwanted water weight so you can feel your best by following these seven easy steps:

1. Salt Equals Sabotage

Sodium is a crucial electrolyte in the body. Healthy adults should consume no more than 2,300mg of sodium per day or the equivalent of about one teaspoon per day. Shockingly over 90% of US adults take in almost 3 times this amount. Eating too much salt can raise blood pressure, increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, stomach cancer and cause major water retention. Most salt in the modern diet comes from processed foods and restaurant foods. My take: Yes, we do need sodium in our body, but as long as you’re eating real foods as the majority of your meals, keeping packaged foods out of your house and putting that salt shaker away, you’re doing your body a favor without missing out on the flavor.

2. Move It To Lose It

Exercise is truly the smartest, most effective way to lose water weight in the short term. The key is to sweat during your workout. During a cardio workout, your body is efficient at shifting water into your muscles. Exercise on a regular basis to help your body maintain a natural balance of fluids and sweat out any of the excess stored water. It’s important to remember that you need to still drink plenty of water. It sounds counterintuitive, but keeping well hydrated does help reduce water weight, especially after sweating.

3. Speaking Of Water

You have one smart body! It works hard to make sure that you always have a perfect balance of liquids, but it needs you to do your job as well. If you are in a constant state of dehydration, your body will hang onto any water you do have, which can lead to water retention. So ironically, keeping your water in-take up will actually help your body reduce water retention. The benefits of drinking water are worthy of an article in itself. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day is important for your overall health, fat loss, liver and kidney function, brain health and long-term reduction in water weight.   

4. Get Your ZZZZZZZ

Getting plenty of sleep every night is vital to your body’s ability to minimize water retention, regulate sodium levels and create a long-term reduction in water weight. Sleep may be just as important to your good health as what foods you eat and how much you exercise. For most healthy adults, between 7-9 hours of sleep per night is ideal.  

5. Bye-Bye Carbs

A speedy and well-proven way to decrease your body’s water weight is to reduce or completely eliminate your carb intake. Carbs are stored in your body as glycogen. Glycogen stores water along with it. Going on a low-carb diet usually reduces glycogen stores and causes you to quickly drop weight, usually water weight. Going on a low carb diet also reduces your insulin level, which can lead to a reduction of water and sodium in your kidneys. Eat your veggies and fruits, as well as make conscious efforts to eliminate packaged and processed foods - they are high in processed carbs and are no good for you on so many levels, including water retention.

6. So Long Stress

Stress is bad news for your body. Long-term stress wrecks havoc on your body’s immune system, hormone levels, and especially your cortisol levels that affect water weight retention. Stress also affects a hormone called ADH (Antidiuretic Hormone) that directly influences your body’s water balance. Reducing stress and/or helping to manage it with healthy food choices, water consumption, mindfulness and exercise, helps your body control cortisol and helps balance ADH.

7. Magnesium, Dandelion and Vitamin B6 Oh My!

Magnesium is vital to our body’s functioning. Increasing magnesium in your diet can greatly help reduce water weight and retention. You can take a daily magnesium supplement of 200mg or even better eat real foods high in magnesium such as whole grains, unsalted nuts, green leafy vegetables and even dark chocolate.

Dandelion has long been used to treat water retention as a natural medicine. More research is definitely needed on how effective dandelion supplements truly are, but in recent years, dandelion has become increasingly more popular with athletes who need to get rid of water retention to drop weight.

Vitamin B6 is another vitamin that has been shown to help with water retention, especially in women with premenstrual syndrome. It’s easy to add foods rich in vitamin B6 into your diet: walnuts, meat, bananas and potatoes.

Water Weight Be GONE

Making small but effective changes can really help support your body in ridding itself of water retention long-term. Focus on eating real whole foods and fewer processed packaged foods, put the salt shaker down, exercise whenever possible, drink lots of water and think about adding in foods that contain vitamin B6, magnesium and dandelion. You got this!

Karina HeinrichComment