Because of hormonal fluctuations, women are often plagued with bloated bellies and puffy extremities the week before their periods, but water retention can also be the result of a poor diet. Whether it’s PMS-related or simply from too many dips into the salty chip bag, here’s a list of foods that can help you fight water retention.
You might 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 in total. Slip in a few slices of lemon, lime or orange, as citrus is high in potassium and can relieve bloating.
Melons, citrus and other potassium-rich fruits will help reduce water retention because they are high in the mineral potassium, which balances sodium levels. Start your day with a fruit salad or a fruit smoothie.
Watercress, an often overlooked leafy green, is a natural diuretic that is also high in potassium. Other bloat-fighting foods include celery, tomatoes, carrots, onions, peppers and other leafy greens. The flavonoids in vegetables and fruit can alleviate water retention. Get your fill by tossing veggies into a salad at lunch and dinner.
Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a superfood not only good for the heart, brain and joints but that 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.
5. Whole grains and nuts
Tasty sources of vitamin B6 — a nutrient associated with PMS relief — whole-grain products and nuts are good noshes 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 fibre, and nuts are packed with good-for-you fats.
Some herbs are 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 salt shaker is only one way to avoid water retention. What’s more important is to limit your intake of processed, packaged foods, which are nearly always loaded with sodium. Instead, eat a diet of fresh, wholesome foods, which, in addition to reducing your risk of bloating, are a boon to your health.