The human body mostly consists of water, and water is essential for it to be able to function properly. However, in some cases, it starts accumulating excess water in the body tissues, circulatory system, and cavities in the body, leading to a condition known as water retention.

If short-term, this condition is not a serious issue, but over the long-term, it can lead to additional health problems. Fluid retention can be caused by kidney failure, cirrhosis of the liver, heart failure, preeclampsia (a dangerous, pregnancy-related condition), and premenstrual syndrome.

These are the five most common causes of it:

1. Diet

A diet rich in sodium (i.e. salt or table salt) can lead to fluid retention and weight gain so you should stick to the recommended amount of sodium intake by the FDA, which is 2,300 milligrams or less daily, and replace salt with alternatives like spices and herbs.

2. Hormones


Water retention and severe bloating are common women during perimenopause (early menopause) and menopause, and the hormones estrogen and progesterone play a significant role in it. The body builds up fluids when estrogen levels are too high or when progesterone levels are too low.

3. Lifestyle

A sedentary, inactive lifestyle often causes water retention and swellings in the legs and ankles. Therefore, you need to become more physically active in order to boost blood circulation in the body, by walking, running, or regularly exercising, at least three times a week.

4. Heart problems

Fluid retention that causes swellings in the legs and abdominal area can be a result of a heart condition. In most cases, it is accompanied by symptoms like fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and rapid heart rate.

5. Medications

Water retention can be experienced as a side-effect of the use of certain medications like antidepressants, beta-blockers, blood pressure medication, chemotherapy medication, and over-the-counter NSAIDs.

Additionally, the following tips will be of great help when trying to manage water retention issues:

  • Avoid refined carbs, as they increase insulin levels in the body, which can cause the body to retain more sodium
  • Eat potassium-rich foods, like bananas, avocados, and tomatoes, to lower sodium levels, boost urine production, and improve heart health
  • Boost the intake of foods rich in magnesium, as this mineral reduces fluid retention symptoms, especially when caused by PMS. Make sure you consume more nuts, whole grains, dark chocolate, and leafy, green vegetables, and you can also take magnesium supplements.
  • Increase your vitamin B6 intake, as this vitamin will also help you reduce water retention, Good sources of this vitamin include bananas, potatoes, walnuts, and meat.
  • Dandelion is a highly beneficial herb with powerful diuretic properties that will be of great help as well
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