If you're one of the millions of women plagued with bloating and water retention, then you know how bothersome it can be, not to mention how unattractive you feel. Typically, bloating is accompanied by gassiness, abdominal pain, and weight gain, and although there are many causes, the most common can be attributed to our diet.
There are many factors in our diet that contribute to severe water retention, such as too much salt, sugar, inadequate protein, not enough fiber, and a deficiency in B-vitamins. The good news is that most of these symptoms can be alleviated with a few simple tips.
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Here are some of the causes of bloating & water retention, and some simple solutions to eliminate it:
- Too much salt: Americans consume six times more sodium than they need, which accounts for the high blood pressure, heart and kidney diseases in this country. Your body needs some sodium to function properly, but most foods already contain more than enough sodium without you consuming dangerously high levels. Sodium attracts and holds water and causes the excess to be deposited under the skin causing puffiness and fluid retention.
Reduce your salt intake by replacing processed foods with fresh foods, avoiding canned foods, and eliminating any added salt to foods during and after cooking. This can help you eliminate bloating and water weight. The recommended daily limit of sodium is 1,500 - 2,400mg for a healthy adult, which means that if you are over 50, or have an existing health condition, then you need to lean towards the lower end of the range. Talk to your doctor about your sodium limitations and make sure you check food labels to determine sodium content before you eat it.
- Avoid drinking soda: You may want to think before you drink. In addition to the gassiness, bloating, and water retention caused by carbonation, research has shown that most carbonated drinks can harm bones over time. Most soft drink brands are high in sugar, contain caffeine, and phosphoric acid, mostly unique to colas. The phosphoric acid lowers blood levels of calcium, so the body has to draw calcium from bones. For the occasional cola drinker, there is probably little risk, but for the habitual drinker, there is substantial risk.
Sodas contain a lot of air, and the swallowing of air causes bloating, as well as the fizz in soda, which causes gas to be trapped in your stomach. To eliminate gassiness and bloating, skip the soda and replace it with water. You'll be happier and healthier in the long run, and you'll have a flatter belly to show for it. Peppermint tea or coffee will also help flush extra fluid from your body. Caffeine is a natural diuretic, but you'll want to go easy on the coffee, because it can have the opposite effect if you become dehydrated. Peppermint is beneficial in eliminating bloating and gassiness since it relaxes the stomach muscles and helps with digestion. Dandelion tea (from the dandelion root) is another herbal remedy that has diuretic properties, yet does not create a potassium deficiency.
- Dehydration: When you are dehydrated, your brain overcompensates by releasing a hormone that tells your body to retain water and reduce urination. Drinking lots of water helps flush out the excess fluids in your body. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking 7-8 glasses of water a day.
- Eat more protein: Stay away from high-carb meals, specifically pasta and bread. In large quantities, your body attacks these foods as intruders, triggering excess fluid buildup in the tissues. Opt for protein and vegetables as a meal instead, with no additional salt added. By eliminating the extra salt, you can lose up to 5 pounds of water weight in a few days!
- Exercise: This one should be obvious - out with the bad, in with the good. Sweating flushes out toxins and fluids, and even more importantly, consistent exercise helps the digestive system regulate itself, which is vital in reducing bloating.
- PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome): In the week prior to menstruation, there is a reduction of the hormone progesterone, which causes water retention. As the blood breaks down the progesterone, the kidneys retain water and sodium. When you're experiencing PMS or any other hormonal condition, you'll want to steer clear of diuretics, usually prescribed for those experiencing "edema," (the swelling caused by an accumulation of excess fluids), and follow a safer way of losing the water weight. By following the tips above, avoiding salt, sugar, high-carbs, and drinking a lot, as well as including foods with natural diuretic properties into your diet, (foods which have high water content) you will be able to help eliminate the excess fluids.
- Perimenopause & Menopause: The fluctuation in hormones and replacement of estrogen are two of the common causes of water weight. Follow the same guidelines as with PMS to lose water weight.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Deficiencies of certain vitamins, like thiamine (B1), B5 and B6, can cause fluid retention. Thiamine, in particular, is needed in order to release the energy from fats, proteins and carbs, to be used by the body. To treat a deficiency, there are Vitamin B supplements as well as many foods rich in these vitamins. Examples are: wholegrains, oats, brown rice, fish, poultry, red meat, nuts, eggs, yogurt, avocado, bananas, beans and yeast extract. Bananas, a staple in most peoples' homes, are rich in potassium and help eliminate water weight. If you're not keen on bananas, raisins are a good alternative, but limit yourself to a handful because they are high in calories. Alternatively, increasing your intake of Vitamin A and C, help reduce the frailness of capillaries and decrease water retention.
There is always a solution, and following these simple remedies, will help give you relief, and prevent you from feeling like a giant blimp!Quick Weight Loss Tips - How to Eliminate Bloating & Lose Water Weight
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