It's one of the worst feelings in the world. You've worked out, eaten right, and seen the pounds melt away. You're finally back at the weight where you were when you bought the holy grail of weight loss, your skinny jeans. But when you slip them on, you can't quite get that last button to close.
Not fitting into your favorite jeans is mildly annoying, but seriousness of water retention runs the gamut from mild annoyance to a condition requiring medical attention. Some of the side effects of water retention are:
- Swollen tissues, especially in the ankles and feet
- Irregular menstruation
- Pressure on artery walls
In fact, water retention - sometimes known as edema - can even cause serious cardiovascular problems.
Water retention is exactly what it sounds like, a buildup of fluids in your body. Water retention can be caused by any number of things, including sitting or standing too long in a single position. Capillaries, tiny arteries that ferry vitamins, nutrients and oxygen throughout your body, generally release the appropriate amount of fluids into your tissues. Pressure in your capillaries causes them to tear and release excess fluid into your tissues, causing them to swell.
There are diuretics that doctors can prescribe if you have a long-term or serious problem with water retention. But if water retention is a temporary or, as in the case with most women, a once monthly annoyance, there are foods that act as diuretics that will help your body naturally eliminate excess water.
- Water: Somewhat ironically, drinking more water is an excellent way to resolve problems with water retention. It goes straight to the kidneys and causes you to urinate more frequently. Frequent urination reduces both excess water and sodium in your body.
- Fruits and veggies!: Americans have been searching for a "weight loss miracle" for decades, and it may actually have been hiding in plain sight in the produce section of our grocery stores for years! Fruits and vegetables, in addition to being vitamin and nutrient rich, are among the top foods that act as diuretics, again because of their high water content.
- Caffeine: Coffee and tea also have diuretic properties, but this one comes with a pretty big caveat. Studies have found that caffeine is only an effective diuretic for people who don't usually drink it, and that you'd have to drink 5 to 7 cups to benefit. Plus, when caffeine does work, it really works, and you run the risk of becoming dehydrated, which will cause your body to retain even more water as a survival mechanism. If you want to use caffeine as a diuretic, go for green tea, which is a source of caffeine along with a helpful immune boost.