Excess water in your body can be caused by poor diet or food intolerances, and for most people is not a major issue. However, you may want to lose water weight to alter your appearance, and as such a number of people try to remove any excess water from their system.
Here are some ways that you can reduce the amount of excess water held in your body.
One of the best ways to get rid of water weight quickly is to do more exercise, as this will cause you to sweat out excess water. On average, an hour of exercise will cause you to lose somewhere between 0.5 and 2 litres of fluid, depending on clothing and temperature.
Exercise will also cause water to be moved into your muscles, which will reduce water held outside of your cells.
While you’re at the gym to exercise, it might be a good idea to try to sweat out some more excess water by going to the sauna after your workout – just ensure you avoid dehydration.
Get more sleep
Sleep has been shown to have an effect on the nerves in the kidneys which regulate water balance and sodium levels. One study discovered that during sleep, your body flushes out toxins from the brain, so sleeping more could be a good way of losing water weight.
Getting the right amount of sleep will help your body to control hydration levels and reduce the amount of water retained.
It is generally recommended that you get seven to nine hours of sleep each night, and achieving this may be an effective way of reducing water weight.
Reduce stress levels
Long-term stress has been shown to increase levels of cortisol, a hormone that influences water weight and fluid retention.
It is thought that this occurs because cortisol increases the production of a hormone known as the antidiuretic hormone or ADH. ADH sends signals to the kidneys which tell them how much water they should be retaining, and how much should be sent back into the body.
Controlling stress levels will help maintain normal levels of hormone production and fluid balance, helping you to lose water weight.
Make sure electrolyte levels are balanced
When your body’s electrolyte levels become unbalanced they can alter the amount of fluid retained, which can lead to higher levels of water weight.
Your intake of electrolytes should be directly proportional to how much water you’re drinking, as it’s likely that you will need more electrolytes if you drink a large amount of water each day.
However, if you were to consume the vast majority of your electrolytes through salty foods while maintaining a low rate of water intake, it is possible that this could lead to increased water weight. For this reason, it’s advised that you drink a fair amount of water and ensure that your electrolyte levels are balanced.
Control sodium intake
Sodium is one of the most prevalent electrolytes in the body, and it plays a huge role in maintaining hydration levels. If these levels are too high or low then it will cause imbalances and increase fluid retention.
High levels of salt consumption are linked to increased water weight, particularly if you are not drinking enough water or exercising. Meanwhile, a study looking into sodium and water weight found that drastically increasing or decreasing your daily intake of sodium will cause excess water retention.
Consume more magnesium
Another key electrolyte and mineral in the body is magnesium. There has been extensive research into the role of magnesium, and it is known to perform in excess of 600 tasks within the body.
Evidence has shown that magnesium can reduce water weight when consumed, and this could be due to the way magnesium interacts with other electrolytes, such as potassium or sodium. When combined, these control your body’s water balance.
Consider dandelion herb supplements
For years now, the dandelion herb (taraxacum officinale) has been used in alternative medicine to treat water retention.
More recently, the herb has gained popularity among athletes and bodybuilders looking to lose water weight, whether this be in order to meet weight categories or add an extra-lean feel to their aesthetic.
It is believed that these supplements work by telling your kidneys that they need to expel more urine as well as excreting salt or sodium.
When tested by studies, it was found that dandelion supplements increase the frequency of urination within a five-hour period.
Although these supplements are readily available and commonly used, there is still a need for further research to ensure safety and effectiveness.
Drink more water
While it may seem counter intuitive, increasing your water intake can lead to lower levels of water retention.
Your body is constantly trying to reach the perfect balance of hydration, so constantly being dehydrated will lead your body to keep excess water in order to prevent water levels dropping to an unhealthy level.
Remember that what you’re looking for is a balance in hydration levels, so over-hydrating can cause your levels of water retention to increase.
The easiest way to ensure that your water levels are correct is for you to drink when you’re thirsty and stop when you feel hydrated. Remember to drink more when warm or exercising, as you’re going to lose water through sweat.
Another simple way to monitor your hydration is through the colour of your urine. If you are well hydrated, it will be very light yellow or clear.
Eat foods rich in electrolytes
If you’re looking to reduce water retention then there are a number of foods that can be eaten to help you in this endeavour.
Potassium-rich foods are often recommended, as potassium can help balance sodium levels and increase urine production, helping you drop excess water. Avocados, bananas and dairy products are good sources of potassium.
It is also recommended that you eat foods with a high magnesium-content, including nuts and dark chocolate.
Consider a low-carb diet
A common strategy among some people looking to remove excess water is to cut carbs from their diet, as carbs are stored as glycogen, which pulls water with it.
For every gram of glycogen stored in the body, 3-4g of water can be stored alongside it. When a low-carb diet is introduced a lot of this is lost, because glycogen levels are reduced.
Carbs also lead to an increase in insulin production, which can increase sodium retention and lead to excess water weight. There is also likely to be an aesthetic difference, as low-carb diets increase water contained in your muscles, while reducing water kept under the skin.
Consume more caffeine
Both coffee and tea are known to be diuretics, and are particularly effective due to their caffeine content. Caffeine has been shown to increase urine production and lower water weight slightly.
Although caffeine is a diuretic, it doesn’t lead to dehydration in people who consume it regularly.
Make long-lasting lifestyle changes
For both water retention and overall health reasons, it is recommended to reduce the amount of processed foods and salt you consume.
Additionally, try to keep active as much as possible, because sitting for long periods can reduce your circulation, whereas physical activity can help you sweat out excess water and improve blood flow.
Try to ensure that you do not consume too much alcohol as well, as this can cause dehydration, potentially leading to increased water retention.