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13 simple ways to lose excess water retention quickly and safely

13 einfache Wege überschüssige Wassereinalgerungen schnell und sicher zu verlieren

The human body contains about 60% water, which plays a key role in all aspects of life (1). However, excess water retention - also known as edema - is a common side effect of chronic inflammation (2). However, water retention can also be the result of food intolerances, poor diet, toxins and diseases such as renal insufficiency. Women can also suffer from increased water retention during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle and during pregnancy.

For most people, excess water retention is not a serious health problem. However, this water retention can still affect both your appearance and quality of life.

Here are 13 ways to reduce water retention quickly and safely:

1. Exercise on a regular basis

Exercise may be one of the best ways to reduce water retention in the short term. Any form of exercise stimulates sweating, which means you will lose water. The average fluid loss during an hour of exercise is between 0.5 and 2 liters and depends on factors such as outside temperature, clothing and, of course, the intensity of the exercise (3, 4, 5).

During exercise, your body also moves a lot of water into your muscles. This can help to reduce water retention outside the cell and reduce that 'soft' look that people who suffer from excessive water retention report (6). However, you still need to drink plenty of water during your workout to counteract dehydration.

Another good option to increase sweating and water excretion is to visit the sauna after your gym session. Conclusion: Regular exercise can help you maintain a natural balance of body fluids and sweat out excess stored water.

2. sleep more

Scientific research concludes that sleep is just as important as exercise and diet (7, 8, 9). Sleep can also influence the sympathetic nerves in the kidneys, which regulate sodium and water balance (10).

One study found that when you sleep, your body acts like a sewage system, flushing toxins from the brain (11). Adequate sleep could also help control hydration levels and minimize water retention.

Aim to get a healthy amount of sleep each night, which for most should be around 7 to 9 hours.

Bottom line: A good night's sleep could help your body better regulate its sodium and water balance, reducing water retention in the long term.

3. less stress

Long-term stress can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which has a direct impact on water retention and water weight (12). This is because stress and cortisol increase levels of a hormone known as antidiuretic hormone (ADH for short), which controls the body's fluid balance (13). ADH works by signaling the kidneys how much water to pump back into the body (12).

If you control your stress levels, you will maintain normal ADH and cortisol levels, which is important for fluid balance, long-term health and reduced risk of disease (5, 13).

Conclusion: Stress increases levels of cortisol and ADH, which has a direct impact on your body's fluid balance.

4. consume electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals with an electrical charge, such as magnesium and potassium. Diesel minerals play many important roles in your body, including the regulation of water balance (14).

If the electrolyte levels in your body are too low or too high, this can lead to shifts in fluid balance. This can result in increased water retention (14).

You should adjust your electrolyte intake to your fluid intake. If you drink large amounts of water, you will need more electrolytes (15).

If you exercise daily or live in a humid or hot climate, you will need additional electrolytes to make up for what you lose through sweat (16). Large amounts of electrolytes in the form of supplements or salty foods combined with low fluid intake can have the opposite effect and increase water retention.

Conclusion: Electrolytes control fluid balance and cell hydration. Electrolyte supplements can be beneficial if you drink a lot of water, exercise a lot, live in a hot climate or don't eat salty foods.

5. control your salt intake

Sodium, which you consume through your daily salt intake, is one of the most abundant electrolytes in the human body. It plays an important role in the body's hydration. If your sodium levels are too low or too high, this will lead to imbalances in the body and water retention.

High salt intake - usually due to a diet rich in processed foods - can promote water retention. This is especially true when such a diet is combined with low fluid intake and little exercise (17, 18, 19, 20).

However, this appears to depend on the individual's current sodium intake and blood levels. One study that investigated this concluded that you are only likely to retain excess water if you drastically increase your sodium intake or change your habitual sodium intake (21).

Conclusion: Salt or sodium plays a key role in fluid balance. Try to avoid extreme changes such as excessive salt intake or eliminating salt from your diet.

6. use a magnesium supplement

Magnesium is another key electrolyte that has recently become a very popular supplement for health and athletic performance. There is very extensive and comprehensive research showing that magnesium plays over 600 different roles in the human body (22).

There is a lot of evidence that magnesium can reduce water retention and premenstrual symptoms (PMS) (23, 24). These changes occur because magnesium plays an integrative role with other electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Together, these minerals help to control the body's fluid balance.

Conclusion: Magnesium intake should be optimized as magnesium plays a key role in the body's hydration and water content.

7. use a nettle supplement

Stinging nettle, Latin name Taraxacum officinale, is used in the field of alternative medicine to treat water retention (25). In recent years, stinging nettle products have also become increasingly popular with bodybuilders and athletes who want to lose water for aesthetic reasons or to achieve a certain weight class.

Nettle supplements can help to eliminate water by signaling the kidneys to excrete more urine and salt or sodium. In human studies, nettle supplementation has been shown to increase the frequency of urination during a 5-hour period (26). However, even though stinging nettle products are already very popular, further research is definitely needed.

Conclusion: Nettle is a popular medicinal plant that is often used by bodybuilders and athletes who need to lose water weight.

8. drink more water

Interestingly, good hydration can reduce water retention (27). Your body is constantly trying to maintain a healthy balance, which means that if you are constantly dehydrated, your body will tend to retain more water to prevent water levels from dropping too low.

Achieving optimal water intake may also be important for liver and kidney health, which could reduce water retention in the long term (28, 29). But the benefits of drinking more water don't stop there. Other studies show that adequate water intake is also important for health, fat loss, brain function and more (30, 31, 32, 33, 34). As always, finding the right balance is key. Drinking excessive amounts of fluids can also increase water retention.

Simply drink when you are thirsty and stop drinking when you feel well hydrated. You should also drink more when the temperature is high or during exercise. You can also check the color of your urine to gauge your hydration. Your urine should be slightly yellowish or quite clear, which is a good indicator that you are well hydrated. Conclusion: Both dehydration and excessive hydration can lead to water retention. Therefore, make sure you consume balanced amounts of fluids.

9. focus on these foods

There are some foods that you can include in your diet to combat water retention. Potassium-rich foods are often recommended as potassium can help to balance sodium levels and increase urine production, both of which can help to eliminate excess water (35).

Dark green leafy vegetables, beans, bananas, avocados, tomatoes and yogurt or other dairy products are all healthy and rich in potassium. Magnesium supplements and magnesium-rich foods are also recommended. These include dark chocolate, nuts and whole grains.

The following foods and herbs are often recommended in the field of alternative medicine to reduce water retention and their effects are also supported by some clinical research:

  • Corn awn (36).
  • Horsetail (37).
  • Parsley (38).
  • Hibiscus (39).
  • Garlic (40, 41).
  • Fennel (42).
  • Nettle (43).

In addition to trying these foods, you should also limit or temporarily avoid eating foods that cause bloating or other intolerance symptoms. This includes highly processed foods, foods with a lot of fiber, and sometimes beans and dairy products. You can also try sticking to low-FOODMAP foods and see if this helps.

Conclusion: Certain foods and herbs can act as diuretics and reduce water retention. Combine these with easily digestible foods that do not cause bloating or intolerance.

10. reduce your carbohydrate intake

Reducing your carbohydrate intake is a common strategy to get rid of excess water quickly. Carbohydrates are stored in the muscles and liver in the form of glycogen, but glycogen also stores water. For every gram of glycogen you store, you store 3 to 4 grams of water. This explains why people experience an immediate loss of water weight when they switch to a low-carbohydrate diet, as this reduces glycogen stores.

Carbohydrates also lead to an increase in the levels of the hormone insulin, which can cause an increase in sodium retention and reabsorption of water in the kidneys (44, 45). Low-carbohydrate diets lead to a decrease in insulin levels, resulting in excretion of sodium and water from the kidneys.

In contrast, a high-carbohydrate meal as part of a low-carbohydrate diet can pull extra water into your muscles and increase water weight. This can also make a visual difference as water is pulled into the muscles while reducing excess water retention under the skin (46).

Try changing your carbohydrate intake and see what works best for you.

Conclusion: A low-carb diet can lead to a rapid reduction in water weight due to reduced glycogen stores and low insulin levels.

11. try caffeine supplements or drink tea and coffee

Tea and coffee are well known diuretics that are effective primarily due to their high caffeine content. Caffeine has been shown to increase short-term urine output and slightly reduce water weight (47, 48).

In one study, subjects were given a glass of water with or without caffeine at doses of 4.5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. The subjects who consumed water with caffeine experienced a significant increase in urine volume (49).

And even though caffeine has a mild diuretic effect, it does not lead to dehydration even in habitual coffee drinkers.

Conclusion: Moderate amounts of caffeine from coffee, tea or caffeine supplements could help you lose excess water.

12. change your habits

One of the best changes you can make is to reduce your consumption of processed foods and excessive amounts of salt. You should also avoid sitting all day or for long periods of time as this can reduce blood circulation. Physical activity can help improve circulation and help you sweat out excess water (50).

Certain medications can also cause water retention, so you should consult your doctor if you are taking daily medication and suffer from excessive water retention (50).

It is also advisable to pay attention to the food you eat and make sure it does not cause digestive problems or inflammation (50).

Finally, consuming too much or too little water, alcohol, minerals, caffeine and salt can also cause water retention. Therefore, try to find a healthy balance.

Conclusion: Control your diet for excessive amounts of processed foods, salt, caffeine and alcohol.

13. consider the use of prescription diuretics

Prescription diuretics and diuretic tablets are sometimes prescribed to treat excessive water retention (51). These medications work by stimulating the kidneys to excrete excessive water and salt through the urine.

These diuretics are often prescribed to people with heart or lung problems, as well as for supportive treatment of high blood pressure, to prevent edema and to reduce swelling.

It is important to distinguish the difference between prescription diuretics and over-the-counter diuretics. Prescription diuretics have been clinically tested for long-term safety, while over-the-counter diuretics may lack clinical trials and have not always been tested for safety.

Both types of products can help combat medically diagnosed edema or excessive water retention. Talk to your doctor first before trying them. Bottom line: If you are considering the use of diuretic medications, you should discuss the use of these products with your doctor and only use prescription medications under medical supervision.


If the problems persist, seem to worsen or suddenly get worse, then it is always best to consult a doctor. In some cases, water retention can be caused by serious medical conditions.

At the end of the day, the best way to combat excessive water retention is to find and treat the underlying cause. These causes could be excessive salt intake, a lack of electrolytes, inactivity, excessive stress, or regular consumption of processed or pro-inflammatory foods.

Some of these things are also among the primary factors associated with poor health and disease, which could be an even more important reason to avoid them.




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