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Foods that fight water retention and combat the dreaded belly bloat

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

The 6 best anti-bloating foods to eat before your period

There’s a long list of reasons it’s wonderful to be a woman, but even we have to admit there are a few drawbacks. One of the most annoying parts of womanhood just might be the monthly hormonal fluctuations that can lead to a bloated belly and puffy hands and fingers, especially in the week leading up to your period. Fortunately the water retention that is weighing you down may have a simple solution — with several delicious remedies found right on your plate.

You can beat the monthly bloat by making a few strategic changes to your eating habits.

1. Water

You may think restricting your water intake will reduce your bloat, but dehydration will actually make your body hold on to water. When it comes to water, drink, drink, and drink some more. Drink a glass as soon as you wake up, and keep sipping all day, aiming for eight (8-ounce) glasses total. Slip in a few slices of lemon, lime or orange, as citrus is high in potassium and can relieve bloating.

More: 10 inexpensive recipes for homemade fruit and veggie water infusions

2. Melons

Melons, citrus and other potassium-rich fruits will help reduce water retention because they are high in the mineral potassium that balances sodium levels. Start your day with a fruit salad or a fruit smoothie.

3. Watercress

Watercress, an often overlooked leafy green, is a natural diuretic that is also high in potassium. Other bloat-fighting foods include other leafy greens, celery, tomatoes, carrots, onions and peppers. The flavonoids in vegetables (and fruit) can alleviate water retention. Get your fill by tossing veggies into a salad at lunch and dinner.

4. Salmon

Loaded with omega-3s, salmon is a superfood that is not only food for the heart, brain and joints, nut it can also fend off PMS. Other rich sources of omega-3s include tuna, mackerel, herring and flax. Include salmon and other fatty fish in your diet at least twice per week.

More: The salmon you're buying could be mislabeled — here's what you need to know

5. Whole grains and nuts

Tasty sources of vitamin B6, a nutrient associated with PMS relief, whole-grain products and nuts are a good nosh when you're feeling bloated. Make sure the whole grains you choose are low in sodium, and avoid salted nuts. Bonus: Whole grains are a great source of fiber, and nuts are packed with good-for-you fats.

6. Herbs

Some herbs are also believed to help reduce water retention. Celery seed (do not take if you are pregnant), evening primrose oil and dandelion root are just a few bloat-fighting options. Talk to a naturopath or herbalist about these herbs and others that are natural diuretics.

Foods to avoid

Eschewing the saltshaker is only one way to avoid water retention. More important is to limit your intake of processed, packaged foods, which are nearly always loaded with sodium. Instead, comprise your diet of fresh, wholesome foods, which in addition to reducing your risk of bloating are a boon to your health.

More: 22 healthy, high-protein snacks you'll actually want to eat

The opinions expressed in this article are of the author and the author alone. They do not reflect the opinions of SheKnows, LLC or any of its affiliates, and they have not been reviewed by an expert in a related field or any member of the SheKnows editorial staff for accuracy, balance or objectivity. Content and other information presented on the site are not a substitute for professional advice, counseling, diagnosis or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on SheKnows. SheKnows does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Updated by Bethany Ramos on 3/23/16

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