Although on the days you’re feeling bloated it may seem more like 100 percent, your body is made up of 70 percent water. That’s a good thing since water plays several crucial roles in your body, like carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells, keeping you hydrated, and regulating your body temperature.
The problem is that some days, your body seems to hold onto too much water, leaving you with that heavy, bloated feeling that makes you want to reach for sweatpants over skinny jeans. “On any given day, you can fluctuate by 2 to 5 pounds of water,” Amy Jamieson-Petonic, R.D., the director of wellness coaching at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, told YouBeauty.
The likely culprit of water weight: too much salt in your diet, such as from processed foods, deli meats, frozen dinners, and canned soups. “Having too much salt or sodium in the body is a big factor,” Katherine Zeratsky, a specialty nutritionist and dietician with the Mayo Clinic and coauthor of “The Mayo Clinic Diet,” told CNN.com, “and so is being sedentary and not moving around enough.”
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Zeratsky adds: “The kidney is a dynamic organ. It decides whether to hold on to water. If you’ve had too much salt the night before, then your kidneys will hold on to more water to dilute or correct that salty imbalance… Then they flush it all out.”
As anyone with PMS knows, the condition can also trigger water retention the week or two before your period starts. Although it’s not fully understood why PMS brings on the bloat, hormonal changes are likely at play, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Although it sounds counterintuitive, drinking water is one of the best ways to get rid of water weight. In a nutshell, water flushes out water. But if you’re not a big fan of H2O, try squeezing in some lemon or lime for more flavor. Or you can sub in other fluids, such as iced green tea or even coffee, which, contrary to popular belief, won’t dehydrate you in moderate amounts (up to four cups). It also helps to get moving: Sweating it out at the gym can help you ditch excess water weight, while — bonus! — beating PMS-related moodiness and fatigue.
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