We all hang on to excess water weight from time to time. And while a little water retention isn’t something to be worried about, it can cause some uncomfortable symptoms, including bloating, weight gain, and swelling in your limbs.
Chronic water retention may be a sign that there is a larger issue that needs to be addressed, so you should see a doctor if the symptoms never stop, but thankfully, occasional excess water weight can be addressed with a few easy shifts.
Here are five ways to kick excess water weight:
1. Drink more water
This is the easiest method, even though it sounds counter-intuitive. “When people are bloated they tend to reduce water intake to theoretically prevent more water retention, but fluid balance is monitored and regulated by many systems in the body,” says strength and conditioning coach, functional medicine practitioner, and sport nutritionist Brandon Mentore. “If water is in short supply the impulse to store and retain more [of it] increases, so drink adequate amounts of fluid to get things moving.”
2. Balance your electrolytes
Eating foods high in potassium, like sweet potatoes, spinach, and bananas, can help your body shed excess water weight, according to Mentore. Since people tend to eat foods that are high in sodium, it isn’t uncommon to experience an imbalance of sodium and potassium. “Often, the imbalance between the two salts can increase water retention and alter fluid dynamics,” says Mentore. “So eating foods rich in potassium will help intracellular fluid balance and reduce excess water and bloat.”
3. Manage stress levels
Stress is a problem for plenty of reasons—one being that it contributes to how your body hangs onto water weight. According to a study by Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research, chronic stress causes an increase in the hormone cortisol, causing an increase in the anti-diuretic hormone (or ADH), which is responsible for assisting your kidneys in determining how much water to conserve.
While we’re not always in charge of the stressors we experience, it’s important to find new or creative ways to cope with your stress in effective ways.
4. Reduce inflammation with healthy habits
“The process of inflammation in itself retains water and the more inflammation you have the more bloated you will be,” says Mentore. When it comes to keeping inflammation under control, making healthy habits is really the key. Mentore suggests avoiding processed foods, and making sure you are getting plenty of uninterrupted sleep each night.
5. Adding natural diuretics to your diet
Good news! There are many natural diuretics you can add to your diet. Caffeine, for instance, is a natural diuretic, which means your morning cup of Joe could be helpful for more than just a pick-me-up. Additionally, foods that are high in fiber have a diuretic effect, making them a great addition to a nutritious diet.