Water Retention and Stress
Feeling bloated, or like you’ve gained weight?
You may feel a tightening in your pants, or notice a bit of increased girth. Or you may find that when you retain water, you feel like you’ve gained 10 pounds.
Water retention happens to a lot of women. Whether it comes on a monthly basis, irregularly, or seems like a chronic recurring problem, you may be happy to know that there are steps you can take to eliminate excess fluids in your body.
Retaining water may seem like something you’ll be forced to endure forever. But simply “learning to live with it” is not necessary... or even advisable. It’s important to consider the causes because there can be side effects and health care issues associated with it.
Let’s take a closer look.
The downward spiral: Stress can cause water retention, and water retention can cause stress.
While some people may shrug it off, others find water retention and bloating almost unbearable. It can be really stressful to wake up and find that your clothes don’t fit, your body’s uncomfortable, and you don’t look or feel the way you want.
Certain reactions to these changes -- while all feelings are valid, of course -- can actually lead to increased stress, darkening moods, or deeper forms of instability, depression, and anxiety.
Sadly, chronic stress can also influence your bodily functions. Long-term stress may increase your cortisol, a hormone that influences fluid retention and water weight.
When we are stressed, we tend to turn toward some of the very things that make us feel worse. (Hello, salty margs and chips!) So there’s a cyclical, mutually reinforcing thing that can happen with stress and water retention.
When water retention leads to more serious, systemic issues
Apart from the physical “look” of a soft or puffy body that may distress you, retaining water can actually be taxing the entire body, internally. Water retention can be caused by chronic inflammation signals.
As your circulatory system works hard to process excess fluids, your heart may not be working as effectively, and your body may not work as effectively, either. Your pH gets out of balance. This can lead to increased blood pressure and decreased oxygenation--affecting your heart, lungs, or kidneys.
The lymphatic system carries lymph, a fluid containing white blood cells, throughout your body. It contributes to the immune system’s ability to fight off infection. Your lymphatic system also helps you maintain fluid balance, since it’s the system that delivers and reabsorbs lymphatic fluid.
Chronic inflammation and high blood sugar can affect your chances of eventually developing diseases like diabetes or pre-diabetes symptoms. It’s best to begin addressing these issues well before they develop. Prevention really matters.
Some common things that affect water retention
There are things to avoid, others to seek out, and yet more ways to experiment.
Recommended to avoid:
- Added salt / sodium. Sodium binds to water in your body. So decreasing your sodium intake should help to reduce water retention. So you may choose to skip those salty chips, crackers, and pretzels… especially when you already feel puffy.
- Eating refined carbohydrates White pastas, breads, and noodles can increase insulin levels in your body, which, in turn, increases the reabsorption of sodium in the kidneys, leading to a higher fluid volume.
Be sure you’re getting enough essential nutrients:
- Magnesium affects 300+ enzymatic reactions necessary in the body
- Vitamin B6 may help reduce water retention, especially in women with premenstrual syndrome.
- Potassium may reduce water retention by increasing the production of urine and decreasing the amount of sodium in your body.
- Water. It seems paradoxical, but drinking water can help flush out sodium and toxins to restore balance in your body when you’re dealing with fluid retention. So stay hydrated out there!
See for yourself:
- Get enough sleep. If you’re not sleeping enough, your body can’t process stress the way it naturally knows how to -- infact, your body will likely produce even more cortisol sending you into a spiral.
- Traditional remedies. While there is some debate about this, some people find that specific natural foods, beverages, and herbs that are known diuretics or comprise traditional cures can make a difference. Traditional remedies include dandelion leaves, ginger, parsley, hawthorn, juniper, horsetail, hibiscus, garlic, fennel, corn silk, nettle, and cranberry juice. Dandelion greens in particular are well-known diuretics that are also rich in potassium.
- Movement. Moving more, and getting your heart rate up, matters. The last thing you want to do is move when you're feeling physically and mentally fatigued, but it’s proven that exercise helps with water retention and self-image.
- Compression. Especially if you’re traveling, stuck sitting, or doing repetitive motions, consider wearing compression socks, sleeves and leggings or elevate your feet. While these solutions may not address the root causes of your retention issue, they will help you feel better.
- Massage. Massage definitely helps to get fluids moving.
Our suggestions for dealing with water retention
As you can see, there are a lot of options to deal with water retention. We invite you to experiment and track your own results. Explore what will work best for you.
We recommended the following steps, at a minimum.
- Follow that lower-salt/lower-sodium diet. Please note that it's not table salt that's usually the issue, but rather all the sodium hidden in processed, pre-packaged foods that drives up sodium intake.
- Be sure to get all the right nutrients, including vitamins and minerals that often go missing in our food supply today. You need amino acids to build protein, B vitamins (especially vitamin B-6 supplements), and potassium and magnesium. Supplements may make that easier for you, and hey, ….we can help with that!
- Avoid refined carbs and highly processed foods, since these industrialized convenience foods generally make you retain water rather than release it. We all have different relationships with food, but if you can move toward more natural and whole foods, you’ll be taking great strides toward overall well-being.
Enjoy massage. Especially if you find swelling at your legs and arms, enjoying regular massage can get the fluid moving again. You want to get those fluids pumping better so that all of your bodily systems can work together, in concert.
A lot of people, once they start taking Almeda products, report a decrease in fluid retention.
Once they adjust their food intake and/or take the right vitamins and minerals, they’re surprised to see that -- Whoa! -- these steps pull off all that non-essential fluid right away. All that bloating and discomfort disappears much faster than they thought possible.
It’s because our products are made from whole foods with dense nutrients, providing you with exactly what your body needs to restore balance so you can feel not just good, but GREAT, in body, mind, and spirit.
In summary, if you struggle with water retention, you have options. You don’t have to just “wait and see.” In fact, you owe it to yourself to seek out what will work best for you.
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Please consult your medical professional if you experience any unexplained fluid retention or swelling that is persistent or causes you concern. Swelling of your feet or arms could be signs of serious edema.