Foods That Cause Water Retention


Your body is primarily water. Eating certain foods in your diet can cause water retention. Changing what you eat and how often you eat can reduce the problem of water retention and make you more comfortable. Always seek the advice of your doctor, particularly if you are experiencing significant water retention, since serious underlying health issues could be the cause.

Function of Water in the Body

  • The function of water in the body is to cushion your joints, protect certain areas of the body and to help with cell functioning. Proper balance of water in your body keeps you healthy and strong. When the cells fill up with too much water, you become bloated and retain water. Certain foods in your diet will cause bloating and water retention.

Salt Seasoning

  • The majority of people consume far more salt than their bodies need on a daily basis. Adding salt to your foods is one of the worst things to do if you have water-retention problems. Instead, season foods with a squeeze of lemon, a small amount of red pepper flakes, or salt substitute.

Saturated Fats

  • Saturated fats tend to aggravate the hormonal changes in women prior to their menstrual cycles and increase water retention. Organ meats, dark meat poultry, veal, pork, whole milk products and beef should be limited in a diet intended to help water-retention problems. Substitute cold-water fish and skim milk products to reduce water retention.

    Fried foods cause water retention because of saturated fats in the cooking process, plus salt is often added to them. French fries, battered fried meats and battered fried vegetables should be eliminated completely from your diet to help with water-retention problems.

Canned Vegetables

  • Canned vegetables are typically very high in sodium. The sodium is used to maintain a longer shelf life. Switch to fresh vegetables or frozen vegetables. Rinse canned vegetables several times in a strainer prior to cooking them.

Too Little Sugar

  • When your body is low on glucose, it will draw sugar from your blood. It also draws in water. As a result, water retention occurs. A drop in progesterone or estrogen therapy can cause low blood-sugar levels. Many women will have lower blood sugar levels one week prior to menstruation.

    Increase the consumption of starchy foods during the week prior to menstruation. Add breads, rice, crackers, pasta, cereal and potatoes to your daily diet. Smaller meals and snacks throughout the day will help to maintain higher and more controlled sugar levels. In turn, this will reduce the amount of water retention.


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