Water is the elixir of life. Hence, along with oxygen and food, water is also necessary for our body. Here, I’m going to discuss water retention in women in India. Water retention in women is one of the most serious issues in India. And water retention doesn’t occur only during menstruation or pregnancy. It can occur in a girl/woman of any age at any time.
As a matter of fact, water is the basic requirement of the body. Since it helps in digestion, transportation of nutrients into cells for utilization, and elimination of waste products. Water also helps in lubricating the joints and colon and maintaining body temperature. Additionally, it maintains and controls nervous irritability and muscle contraction.
In order to make these functions work smoothly, an intake of 8 glasses of water per day is necessary. Our body loses water by sweating, breathing, urinating, passing motions, and also through tears and saliva. Usually one replaces the lost water by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. Eating fruits and drinking juices are the best ways to replace the lost water. I have penned down the water-rich foods that will keep you hydrated. Ensure you read them all.
Water Rich Foods That Will Keep You Hydrated
Here, I have penned down certain foods that will help keep water retention in women at bay. And stay hydrated.
Watermelon is a thirst-quenching drink. It is made up of 91% water, thus keeping you hydrated. This fruit is also low in calories and sugar and is a rich source of Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps your eyes, skin, and immune system to function well.
Since cucumbers are made up of 96% water. They are widely known for their highest water content in comparison to any food. Additionally, they are also low in calories and a source of Vitamins and fibre. The best way of consuming cucumber is to add it to your salads or blend the cucumber with lime and mint to make a refreshing drink.
Tomatoes are made up of 95% water. Besides keeping you hydrated, they are also a rich source of Vitamin A. This particular vitamin is crucial for keeping your skin, immune system and eyes healthy.
Spinach is not only good for hydration but is also a good source of iron. It’s made up of 93% water. Iron is essential as it helps in transporting oxygen around your body. Additionally, it keeps your immune system healthy. Spinach is perfect for adding to soups, salads, and sandwiches. You can even cook this vegetable with some edible oil and tomatoes.
Brocolli is made up of 90% water. It contains lots of important nutrients such as Vitamin K, Vitamin A, calcium and folic acid.
Orange is a citrus fruit and contains 86% water. It is a good source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which takes care of your muscles, bones, tendons, arteries, and skin. It helps your body to absorb the iron from the food you eat. Further, it ensures your immune and nervous systems work properly.
A saying known for long years “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apples are made up of 85% water. They are low in calories and are a source of vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.
High fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, excessive sweating, and urinating every now and then results in a huge loss of water. When you don’t replace this water loss with sufficient fluids and water-rich foods then it results in dehydration. Hence, if you lose more fluid than you consume, then it’s bad. And you suffer from dehydration. This indicates that your body doesn’t have sufficient water that it needs.
Oedema (Water Retention) in Women
A situation opposite to dehydration is oedema or water retention. The body sometimes starts retaining more water than it requires. This excess water starts collecting in different parts of the body. Thereby, causing those particular parts to swell up. You start experiencing that heavy feeling in your body. This condition is known as Odoema or water retention.
Symptoms of Water Retention in Women
- If you have water retention in your hands then your ring won’t fit you anymore.
- You can test for water retention in your foot, ankle or calf by gently pressing the affected area with your thumb.
- Keep in mind to use slow and steady pressure.
- If there’s water retention in these parts then, you will notice an indentation on that particular part of the skin.
- Water retention (Oedema) is of 2 types.
- General oedema in which swelling occurs all over the body.
- Localized oedema in which swelling occurs in the legs and feet mostly. Also, it affects the arms, hands and sometimes the face too.
- Lastly, the other symptoms could be bloating in the abdominal area, weight fluctuation and stiff joints.
Causes of Water Retention (Oedema)
So, what triggers water retention. After thorough research, I have listed below the factors that trigger/cause water retention.
- Excessive consumption of salt or salty foods such as pickles, processed foods, and sauces.
- Sitting or standing for prolonged hours. Gravity makes the blood remain in the lower extremities of the body.
- Hence, it’s important to get up every 30 minutes. Walk or just move around or stretch.
- This will result in the proper circulation of blood.
- All those who are stuck to their work desk working on the laptop/computer for 8 to 9 hours continuously should get up from their chair.
- Get up and move around at least every 30 to 45 minutes.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol and coffee.
- Reaction to certain medicines. Certain medications such as chemotherapy treatment, over the counter (OTC )pain relievers, blood pressure medication, and antidepressant have water retention as a side effect.
- Menstrual changes and fluctuating hormones.
- Pregnancy. If a pregnant woman does not move around from time to time then the shift in weight can cause the leg to retain water.
- Travelling by flight. Changes in cabin pressure and sitting for a long period of time may cause the body to hold on to water.
- Liver and kidney disorders.
- Weak heart. A weak heart that can’t pump blood results in water retention in the body.
- Deep vein thrombosis.
Remedies to Cure Water Retention in Women
Water retention in women can be cured by making some lifestyle changes. Here are some effective ways to cure water retention. There are certain nutrients and foods that you need to decrease or avoid in your diet. On the other hand, you need to increase certain foods and nutrients since they have a positive role in combating water retention.
Basically, salt is sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is the chemical name for salt. Sodium is 40% and chloride is 60%. The human body requires a small amount of sodium to conduct nerve impulses and contract and relax muscles. Additionally, sodium maintains the proper balance of water and minerals in the body and facilitates glucose absorption. Consumption of sodium in the unrefined form helps to regulate body fluids since it is an electrolyte. We lose sodium through sweat and urine which is a continuous process. Hence, salt plays a major role in replacing the lost sodium.
An imbalance of sodium level in the body leads to dehydration. This occurs when the sodium level is low. On the other hand, when the sodium level is high it leads to water retention. A high level of sodium in the body can be devastating. This is because, besides water retention, it can cause high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke and also loss of calcium. Further, it may result in damage to the kidney. Therefore you should regulate the intake of salt. The Health Authorities recommend between 1500 mg (1.5 grams) and 2300 mg (2.3 grams) of sodium. That’s about 1 teaspoon intake per day for heart health.
Sodium in Food
Sodium is a naturally occurring mineral that’s found in most foods, though in small amounts. Almost all unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts contain small amounts of sodium. Additionally, meats and dairy products also contain some amount of sodium. Further, all the commercially prepared foods such as bread, pizza, cold cuts, meat, soups, sauces, mayonnaise, cheese, popcorns, chips are rich in sodium.
As a matter of fact, bacteria can’t survive in the presence of a high amount of salt. Besides acting as a preservative, the salt in processed foods acts as a stabilizer, texture enhancer, and colour enhancer. Therefore, all preserved and processed foods contain salt since it’s an important ingredient.
Note that you don’t have to look for the nutrient sodium. It enters your diet through almost any food. Hence, you need to learn to tame your salt habit.
Tips for Reducing Salt Intake in Your Diet
Don’t add salt while cooking the dish. Always add salt at the end of the preparation. If you add salt in the beginning then it migrates into the pieces of the food. When salt is added in the end it forms a superficial coating on the surface of the food that immediately hits your tongue. And you enjoy your food with a salty taste.
Instead of adding salt as a flavouring agent, try using lemon, tomato, or spinach. Each of these will give a salty taste to your dish. Additionally, the use of herbs and spices may also help.
Refrain from using a salt shaker. That’s because a salt shaker has many holes. So while shaking it onto your food, you don’t realise how much you’re adding. And excessive salt is bad.
Avoid canned (packaged) and processed foods. As discussed above, processed and packaged foods contain a very high amount of salt. Although sodium is naturally present in these foods, still a lot of it is added during processing and packaging.
Compare the sodium content of similar foods and opt for products with lower sodium content. For example, black salt (Kala namak) contains less sodium compared to regular table salt. Sweet soy sauce also contains less sodium compared to light soy sauce. Also, while eating out ask them to prepare your food with very less or no salt at all.
Besides salt, there are some more foods that you need to reduce or stop.
Decrease sugar intake. Sugar leads to a rise in the insulin level in the body. Thus decreasing the body’s capability to flush out the sodium.
Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white flour, white bread, pasta, white rice, sodas, pastries, and sweets. Consuming refined carbohydrates leads to a rise in blood sugar and insulin levels. High insulin levels cause the body to retain more sodium by increasing the reabsorption of sodium in the kidney. This leads to more fluid volume inside the body.
What you Need to Increase in Your Diet
Eat Potassium Rich Foods
One of the best ways to reduce water retention is by cutting down the sodium intake in the body. Potassium does this job very well and excretes the excess water by increasing urine production. Potassium helps in reducing water retention in 2 ways. Firstly, by decreasing the sodium level and secondly by increasing urine production. Sources of potassium include bananas, raisins, oranges, dates, apricots, pomegranates and mangoes.
Consume Magnesium Rich Foods
Magnesium-rich foods are effective in reducing water retention. At least for women with pre-menstrual symptoms. Sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and kidney beans. Seafood such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna are also high in magnesium.
Foods Containing Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is diuretic and helps in increasing urine production. This in turn consequently reduces water retention in the body. Sources of Vitamin B6 include potatoes, fish, eggs, brown rice. As well as oatmeal, chicken, pork, and turkey.
Include Natural Diuretics in Your Diet
Generally, natural diuretics help to get rid of excess sodium and water. They do this by stimulating the kidneys to produce more urine. This, in turn, releases the toxins. Some sources of natural diuretics are Cranberry juice, apple cider vinegar, green tea, corn silk and fennel flower. You will also benefit from vegetables such as raw cabbage leaves, asparagus, beetroot. Also, pumpkin, garlic and spinach are best.
Add Fibre to Your Diet
Fibre absorbs an adequate amount of water as they pass through the intestine. Sources of fibre include broccoli, carrots, peas, whole wheat grains. And also berries, oatmeal, flaxseeds and beans.
Consume Herb Infused Water
Start the morning by drinking apple cider vinegar or methi infused water. Dalchini infused water and coriander seed infused water also works wonders. Further, these healing waters are best since it gives your body a dose of potassium. They flush out the toxins from the kidneys and help maintain the balance of sodium and potassium.
Include Yoghurt in Your Diet
Yoghurt contains a high amount of protein and potassium. Since one of the causes of water retention is the loss of protein. Increasing the protein content through yoghurt can relieve water retention to at least some extent.
Drink Enough Water
It may sound ironic. But if you’re dehydrated then the body stores water in different parts of the body. This is to survive the dry spell. Drinking lots of water can actually help reduce the effect and remove excess salt present in the body and excrete toxins through urine. Ensure you drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day. If you’re going to drink juice during the day, then 8 glasses of water are sufficient.
Other Measures for Water Retention in Women
- Walk and move about from time to time. Sitting or standing for long hours can cause you serious trouble. This will help in proper blood circulation.
- Keep your feet elevated from time to time. It helps the water move upward and away from your lower extremities.
- Wear compression socks or leggings. They are designed in such a way to fit you tight. You may feel uncomfortable first while wearing them. The purpose is to squeeze your legs and prevent fluid from accumulating.
- Additionally, you can use ice packs on the affected area. But, keep in mind that diabetic patients can’t use ice packs.
- Consult the doctor in chronic cases. He/she most probably will give you diuretic medicines to increase urination.
Health is wealth. Women in India tend to stand for long hours while cooking in the kitchen. They hardly rest. Similarly sitting for prolonged hours also results in water retention. Therefore, you should first and foremost cut down on salt. Reduce processed and canned foods. And the rest is given in this article. Consider following each and everything that’s given in this water retention in women article. It’s sure to help you. Also, recommend this article to the women you love.
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