Water retention occurs in the circulatory system or within tissues and cavities. It can cause swelling in the hands, feet, ankles and legs.
There are several reasons why it happens, many of which are not serious.
Some women experience water retention during pregnancy or before their monthly period.
People who are physically inactive, such as when bedridden or sitting through long flights, may also be affected.
However, water retention can also be a symptom of a severe medical condition like kidney disease or heart failure. If you’re experiencing sudden or severe water retention, seek medical attention immediately.
Yet, in cases where the swelling is mild and there is no underlying health condition, you may be able to reduce water retention with a few simple tricks.
Here are 6 ways to reduce water retention.
Salt is made of sodium and chloride.
Sodium binds to water in the body and helps maintain the balance of fluids both inside and outside of cells.
If you often eat meals that are high in salt, such as many processed foods, your body may retain water. In fact, these foods are the biggest dietary source of sodium.
The most common advice for reducing water retention is to decrease sodium intake. However, the evidence behind this is mixed.
Several studies have found that increased sodium intake leads to increased retention of fluid inside the body (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
On the other hand, one study in healthy men did not find the same effect, so results may depend on the individual (5Trusted Source).
Magnesium is a very important mineral.
In fact, it is involved in more than 300 enzymatic reactions that keep the body functioning.
Moreover, increasing your magnesium intake may help reduce water retention.
One study found that 200 mg of magnesium per day reduced water retention in women with premenstrual symptoms (PMS) (6Trusted Source).
Other studies in women with PMS have reported similar results (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
Good sources of magnesium include nuts, whole grains, dark chocolate and leafy, green vegetables. It’s also available as a supplement. You can find magnesium supplements at your local drugstore or online.
Vitamin B6 is a group of several related vitamins.
They are important for the formation of red blood cells and serve many other functions in the body.
Vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce water retention in women with premenstrual syndrome (8Trusted Source).
Foods rich in vitamin B6 include bananas, potatoes, walnuts and meat.
You can also purchase vitamin B6 supplements at your local drugstore oronline.
Potassium is a mineral that serves several important functions.
For example, it helps send the electrical signals that keep the body running. It may also benefit heart health (9Trusted Source).
Potassium appears to help reduce water retention in two ways, by decreasing sodium levels and increasing urine production (10Trusted Source).
Bananas, avocados and tomatoes are examples of foods that are high in potassium.
For a longer list, check out 15 Foods That Pack More Potassium Than a Banana.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is an herb that has been used as a natural diuretic in folk medicine for a long time (11Trusted Source).
Natural diuretics may help reduce water retention by making you pee more often.
In one study, 17 volunteers took three doses of dandelion leaf extract over a 24-hour period.
They monitored their fluid intake and output during the following days and reported a significant increase in the amount of urine produced (12Trusted Source).
Though this was a small study with no control group, the results indicate that dandelion extract may be an effective diuretic.
What’s more, studies suggest that dandelion may have many other potential benefits.
Find dandelion extract online.