You must be wondering, what is water weight?
You may have been suffering from this all along and had no idea.
People who have had abnormal swellings in parts of their body may relate to this, but if you have had no experience whatsoever, water weight as the name implies is the simple weight gain as a result of excess water retention in the body.
Water is an essential component of the body, as it makes up almost 60% of the human body. Unfortunately, many people do not relate water to weight gain. They often focus on other weight control measures such as food and diet regulation than focusing on water. Bodybuilders and athletes are usually concerned with this in order to keep their bodies in shape and to enhance their physical appearance.
Before we step into the cure, let’s take a look at the effects, shall we?
What causes water weight, really?
As it was stated earlier, the human body is generally made up of water- from our muscles (which is made up of approximately 75% water), bones (which is made up of approximately 50%), Fats (consists of about 50% water) and the like. Also, the foods we consume play a major role in water weight, especially if they are fatty, processed foods. Excessive sodium content can also lead to water weight and sadly, sodium is present in almost all processed fatty foods and even in some natural foods. The kidney and some hormones in the body are responsible for regulating the amount of sodium in the body but is easily knocked off balanced when there is an excessive intake.
At the end of the day, it is very easy for your body to retain at least five pounds of water from all your activities. Most times, water retention by the body does not usually pose any threat until it becomes excessive. Apart from the swelling of body parts, it has been linked to several harmful conditions such as liver cirrhosis, kidney failure, heart failure, preeclampsia (a deadly condition that usually occurs at late pregnancies), premenstrual syndrome, etc.
Water weight, on a lighter note, can also lead to excessive fatigue due to bloating. Therefore, it is very important that we lose water weight and keep our bodies in good shape.
Now back to business
There are simple and effective ways of losing water weight, and the beautiful part is that you do not have to be a millionaire to do them. They are:
- Go on regular exercise: Exercise is one of the most effective ways of not only losing water weight but keeping our bodies in proper shape generally. You are sure to sweat heavily when you exercise, thus reducing water content. Research has shown that the average water loss during an hour of exercise is about 0.5 – 2 liters of water, and it heavily depends on factors such as clothing used, the temperature of the environment, etc. During exercise, your body pushes lots of water to the muscles, thereby reducing the water around the cell. So create a regular exercise routine today. You may not have to register with a top-notch gym or fitness center. A jog here and there will do.
- Give yourself less stress: I know. This is one of the hardest things to do especially with the hassles of everyday life, but you have just got to try. Long-term stress not only affects your brain chemistry, but it can increase the production of cortisol in the body. Excessive production of cortisol can negatively influence the production of antidiuretic hormone (popularly known as ADH), the hormone that regulates water balance. ADH will then send signals to the kidney, informing them to pump more water back to the body.
By regulating stress, you can regulate the amount of water that flows into the body.
- Take a lot of water: Wait? What? I need to reduce water intake, not increase it!!!
I know what you’re thinking.
Although you are trying to reduce water weight, you also have to maintain a balance as it is a two-way thing. If you keep yourself constantly dehydrated all in a bid to reduce water weight, your body tends to retain more money so that the water level does not drop excessively. Achieving the right balance is extremely essential, as it greatly helps your kidney and liver, aids fat loss, improves brain function, and will help you reduce water retention in the long run. Drink water when you are thirsty, and stop when you feel hydrated enough. Drink more water when exercising or under hot weather conditions. Also, it’s very important that you observe the color of your urine daily. If it is clear, you are fine, but if it is fairly clear or yellow, it shows that your body is crying for water. Listen to it!
- Take more electrolytes: Minerals with an electric charge is known as electrolytes. This includes potassium, magnesium, etc. Electrolytes are very important, as they help regulate water balance. If the electrolyte levels are too high or low, there may be a shift in fluid balance. So there must be a proportionate amount of electrolyte intake to your water intake. The more water you take, the more electrolytes you should consume. Also, you should take more electrolytes if you live or exercise in a hot or humid environment. However, there should be a balance. If you take more electrolytes than water, the reverse effect may occur and you may gain water weight.
- Control your salt intake: Remember where we mentioned electrolytes? Sodium is one of the most common electrolytes found in the body and is a major component of salt. It has a very high impact on hydration levels. If the sodium level is too high or low, it will create an imbalance which will lead to water weight.
Therefore, high salt consumption will lead to water weight gain. This is why many medical experts encourage people to reduce the amount of salt they take in and to be mindful of the foods that contain them, like most processed foods.
- Cut your carbs intake: This is often the first thing most doctors would recommend to people that want to lose water weight, as it is a very quick and effective method. After being processed by the body, carbs are stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen, and the good thing is that it pulls water along with it. This is because about 3 to 4 grams of water is stored with every gram of glycogen the body stored. Carb intake can also lead to an increase in insulin levels, which can amplify sodium retention & aid the kidney to reabsorb water. Invariably, low carb diets can also reduce insulin levels, which can lead to water and sodium loss by the body. So try changing your carb intake today to whatever suits you.
- Change certain habits: Most times it is our daily habits that pose the greatest harm to us.
- No matter how sumptuous and appetizing processed foods look, try your best to reduce the intake as they may contain salt that can increase the water content of the body.
- Avoid sitting down for long periods of time. At intervals, engage in some form of physical activity as it will greatly help you to improve blood circulation and remove excess sweat.
- Carefully choose the foods you take to avoid bloating and other digestive issues.
- Do not excessively consume water, mineral, or caffeine.
- Also, research has shown that certain medications can facilitate water weight gain in the body, so ensure you consult a doctor, especially if you believe they are causing swelling on your body.
- Change your diet: A healthy diet will definitely keep water weight away. Try changing your diet to more healthy, wholesome and natural foods. For instance, intake of foods and fruits that are rich in potassium like beans, avocados, dark leafy green vegetables, dairy products, etc. are encouraged as they aid urine production. Also, foods that are rich in magnesium are recommended, such as whole grains, nuts and dark leafy green vegetables. Furthermore, clinical research supports the use of corn silk, garlic, parsley, hibiscus, horsetail, fennel and nettle.
- Take sufficient magnesium supplements: Magnesium is extremely beneficial to people in the fight against water weight and for those in the sports and health field. As an important mineral and electrolyte, research has linked it to perform as much as 600 roles in the body. It helps women to reduce water weight and premenstrual symptoms. The changes take place when magnesium entangles with other electrolytes such as sodium and potassium to regulate water balance. So ensure you take magnesium supplements as your doctor prescribes.
- Sleep more: Sufficient sleep plays a huge role in our physical and mental states the same way a healthy diet and exercise does. Sleep helps to regulate our water levels and reduces the way our body retains water. It also positively influences the sympathetic renal nerves in the kidney, making it possible for water and sodium to be regulated. So quit those coffee and late nights, and aim to get a healthy amount of sleep every night, possibly around seven to nine hours. Your body will thank you.
- Take appropriate herbs: What better way to beat water weight than to take natural herbs or their supplements? They include:
- Dandelion: Most health personnel, athletes, bodybuilders and sports professionals make great use of dandelion supplements to meet a particular weight category or for aesthetic reasons. Dandelion works by signalling the kidney to excrete more urine and excess sodium or salt, thereby decreasing water weight. Research has also supported this fact by showing that dandelion increases urination frequency in five hours. So it is very important to get a dandelion supplement today, or you can check for supplements that have Taraxacum officinale written as one of its contents (as that the botanical name).
- Maroon brush: This herb works as a diuretic to help reduce water retention. Although there hasn’t been much clinical evidence to back things up.
- Damiana: It is commonly used as a diuretic or laxative.
- Olive leaf: Many advertisers use this as a selling point to sell supplements that fight water weight.
- Others include Alfalfa, Butcher’s broom, Parsley, Mate (or St. Bartholomew’s tea), etc.
- Consider taking prescription water pills: Prescription water pills and diuretics have proved to be very useful when it comes to treating excess water retention. It helps by activating your kidney to increase urine frequency, so that excess salt and water can be flushed out. They are often given to people with lung and blood pressure issues.
However, it is very important to note the difference between prescription pills and online pills (popularly known as over-the-counter drugs). Prescription water pills are clinically researched, tested and are often given by doctors, while over-the-counter drugs may not have gone through the processes of clinical research and as such, may pose great threats if consumed. Therefore, it is very important to speak to a doctor before purchasing any.
- Eat lots of hydrating fruits: While you strive to reduce water weight, it is very essential that you plan your meals with water-filled foods and fruits such as watermelon, lettuce, celery, asparagus, cabbage, spinach, cantaloupe, etc. so your body does not get bloated. Also, it helps you to stay hydrated whilst keeping your water level in check. Many people refer to these foods as natural diuretics.
CONCLUSION: So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen! Water weight does not bring issues immediately but can create serious health problems in the long run. So ensure you visit the doctor regularly, create a consistent exercise routine, eat healthy foods and fruits, sleep a great amount daily, have more less-stress days, drinks sufficient amounts of water, take adequate amounts of magnesium and potassium supplements, take water pills as prescribed by your doctor, and reduce your salt and sodium intake. Hopefully, with these tips, you will be able to lose water weight and live your best life.