Water retention is a fairly common problem and nutrition can help a lot in managing it. Let’s see which foods to avoid and which ones to include in the diet often.
Water retention is the body’s tendency to retain fluids. This accumulation is greater in the areas of the body affected by fat deposits (thighs, buttocks, abdomen) and is characterized by swelling of the tissues (edema). People with water retention show signs such as swollen tummy (abdomen), swollen legs, and brittle capillaries.
The disorder is very common, mainly affects women and is often associated with cellulite. Regardless of the pathological conditions (eg: heart or kidney problems, severe inflammation, allergic reactions) that could be the cause, together with individual genetics and hormonal factors, water retention often correlates with a predisposing lifestyle, characterized, for example, from a sedentary lifestyle and smoking, but also from alcohol abuse and the inappropriate use of some drugs.
As a corollary of this trend, there is no lack of wrong eating habits. What to eat with water retention? In this regard, here are some tips to follow day by day on what to eat and what to avoid.
Draining diet against water retention: what to eat and what to avoid
As mentioned earlier, there is often a correlation between diet and water retention, so much so that it may be useful to intervene with some dietary changes. Before seeing some dietary guidelines, we remind you that those who are overweight should follow a diet with a reduced calorie intake to return to their ideal weight. Being overweight, in fact, promotes water retention. It would also be advisable to contact a professional who will study a personalized diet and evaluate any food intolerances or allergies; in fact, these problems can sometimes cause water retention.
Water retention: what to eat
Since they favor the disposal of excess liquids, foods rich in potassium are among those allowed and recommended. Potassium, in fact, is a micronutrient with a strong draining activity. Green light, therefore, for vegetables and fruit (including avocados), but also for legumes, oilseeds and nuts. This group also includes tubers, such as potatoes, yams, Jerusalem artichokes, which are sources, among other things, of complex carbohydrates.
Fresh fruit and vegetables also provide vitamin C, which has a protective action on the capillaries. In this regard, it is good to consume acidic fruits (eg: kiwi, citrus fruits, pineapple, strawberries), cruciferous vegetables (eg: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, rocket) and peppers.
The consumption of fiber is instead essential for the management of constipation, the onset of which, in turn, promotes water retention. The sources of potassium already mentioned are also sources of fiber, along with whole grains and pseudocereals.
This type of dietary approach does not exclude, in the right quantities, animal protein sources, represented by fresh (or frozen) fish, white meats and eggs.
Overall, foods can be seasoned with herbs, spices and extra virgin olive oil, preferably raw and in the right quantities. As for the cooking methods, it is possible to resort to preparations in foil, in a pan or steamed, as well as using the pressure cooker and boiling in a little liquid.
The diet against water retention must be rich in water, which plays an essential role in promoting diuresis. In this regard, it is important to hydrate yourself every day and in abundance, always satisfying the stimulus of thirst. In addition to drinking about two liters of water a day, you should consume foods rich in water, for example chicory, watermelon, melon, cucumber or zucchini. In the context of a diuretic diet, some draining herbal teas based on green tea, fennel, red fruits and dandelions may also be useful
Water retention: what to avoid
Excess salt is one of the main causes of water retention. Therefore, the diet for water retention should be low in sodium, the excessive intake of which correlates with the accumulation of fluids in the spaces between cells. It is therefore necessary to limit, first of all, the consumption of table salt. The daily amount of salt must remain below the notorious 5 g, to be measured with a level teaspoon. For the sake of the flavor of the dishes, it is advisable to add salt at the end of cooking.
To limit the sodium intake, it is advisable to reduce the consumption of cured meats, sausages, red meats and canned meat, but also of some cheeses, especially aged, salted (or marinated) fish and vegetable preserves. This group also includes crackers, breadsticks and potato chips in bags, as well as ready-made sauces, sauces (e.g. mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, etc.) and stock cubes. Among the foods that contain sodium, butter and margarine are no exception.
The consumption of foods containing simple sugars, and therefore of confectionery, both artisanal and packaged, should be reduced to the exception, since it is associated with fluctuations in the levels of the hormone insulin , which, among other things, can impact on the water and electrolyte balance of the organism. As for drinks, it is advisable to moderate the consumption of coffee, alcohol and spirits, but also of all drinks containing added sugars and carbon dioxide.
Food yes and no food table
For greater clarity, we report a table with the foods to be preferred and those to be reduced for a diet that is useful in combating water retention.
|Foods to prefer:||Foods to avoid or reduce:|
|Fruits (e.g. sour fruits, bananas)||Cured meats, offal, canned meat|
|Vegetables (e.g. crucifers)||Salted or marinated fish|
|Legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc.)||Aged cheeses|
|Nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.)||Ready sauces|
|Oil seeds (pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.)||Canned vegetables|
|Whole grains and pseudocereals||Artisanal and packaged sweets|
|Egg||Crackers, breadsticks, potato chips in bags|
|White meat||Stock cubes|
|Fresh or frozen fish||Butter and margarine|
|Extra virgin olive oil||Sauces (mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, etc.)|
|Herbs||Sweetened and carbonated drinks|
5 foods that counteract water retention
Once we have considered, in general, the foods to prefer and to avoid, we will describe 5 specific foods, whose overall properties help in preventing or managing water retention.
Providing excellent quantities of water, vitamin C and potassium, and being composed of 3% vegetable fiber, kiwifruit is one of the most suitable foods to counteract water retention. The consumption of this fruit, in particular, acts on the health of the capillaries, on the intestinal regularity and on the drainage of excess fluids.
Buckwheat is a food with interesting properties, undoubtedly useful in the presence of water retention. Being rich in mineral salts and, in particular, potassium, this pseudocereal boasts diuretic potential. Furthermore, by providing a substance known as rutin, buckwheat is functional to the health of the capillaries. Furthermore, its fiber content lends itself to intestinal transit, counteracting constipation, while its excellent macronutritional profile participates in the intake of essential amino acids and complex carbohydrates.
Among the most practical legumes in the kitchen, lentils are rich in potassium, low in sodium and provide good amounts of vegetable fiber. Due to these characteristics, they are indicated for the management of water retention, as well as for its prevention. Lastly, although not least, lentils participate in protein requirements, providing vegetable proteins of medium biological value. Lentils and buckwheat can be combined, resulting in a complete protein dish.
4. Chia seeds
Little used until a few years ago, chia seeds are now found in numerous recipes. It is, in fact, a food with strong beneficial potential, certainly known among lovers of healthy nutrition. Also a good source of potassium, as well as low in sodium, chia seeds are useful in counteracting water retention, also acting indirectly thanks to the contribution of fiber. Also interesting is the relative content of Omega-3, which are classified as essential fatty acids with an anti-inflammatory and vasodilating action.
By virtue of its known diuretic and draining effects, chicory is one of the most appropriate foods for people with water retention. This potential is attributed to its nutritional profile, which boasts the presence of water and potassium, but also of vitamin C and fiber.
How to make a draining diet also slimming
Although aimed at managing excess fluids, a draining and deflating diet can also take on slimming connotations, referring, with this term, to the effectiveness that the diet could have on the loss of superfluous fat.
If also oriented towards weight loss, the diet must be low- calorie, therefore characterized by a caloric intake lower than the individual energy needs. In other words, to lose weight you need to eat less than necessary, introducing fewer calories than you need. In order for it to be sustainable in the long term, resulting in loss of fat and not muscle mass, the diet must be balanced and introduce all the macronutrients in the right proportions.
In general, a good weight loss diet should also be oriented towards the sense of satiety. In this regard, the protein intake should not be neglected, as well as a sufficient intake of fiber. In addition, the calories will have to be distributed in a “strategic” way according to previous habits. The draining nature of the diet will be obtained through targeted food choices, and therefore limiting sodium, consuming plenty of water, and choosing foods rich in fiber and useful micronutrients.