Water Weight 101: The Causes, Treatment, and Natural Remedies

If you’ve ever noticed the number on the scale jumping for seemingly no reason, water weight could be to blame. The human body is made up of approximately 60% water, which is needed to keep your cells healthy, regulate body temperature, transport nutrients, lubricate joints and remove waste from the body. But sometimes, the body decides to store more water than it needs, causing a spike in your weight gain. Oftentimes, this is harmless. However, it can also be a sign that your body is having difficulty getting rid of the fluid which can cause several disruptions well throughout your entire system. The good news: you can fix it! By understanding the science behind water weight and how it affects your body, you can easily identify the easy steps to reducing the water being stored in your body.

water weight fact sheet

What is Water Weight?

In the simplest terms, water weight is the accumulation of excess water being stored in the body. Typically, the body stores approximately 60% of its weight in water which is needed to support a variety of functions and ensure optimal health and wellness. However, it sometimes holds onto more than it needs.

This is a natural process that happens to ensure your body has enough fluid for survival. For example, you drink water, the body expels it through your urine and stores anything extra to maintain balance until you consume more liquid. The excess water is commonly stored throughout the body, in your tissues or between blood vessels, with a large portion of the accumulation happening in your fingers, toes, abdomen and lower legs. This is why these extremities may appear puffy or swollen when your water weight is higher than usual.

What Causes Water Weight?

There are various causes of water retention, with the most common ones being:

  • Changes in your activity levels, such as sitting more often
  • Hormone changes, such as during the menstrual cycle or pregnancy
  • Changes in your diet, such as increase in sodium
  • Medical conditions, such as kidney or liver disease

Fortunately, excess water retention generally balances itself out overtime depending on the cause. For example, once your menstrual cycle has ended and your hormones have gone back to normal or you commit to spending more time standing than you do sitting, the excess water weight will typically reside. However, depending on the cause, water weight may be a sign of a more serious issue such as problems with your kidney or liver.

In fact, health conditions like heart failure, cirrhosis, liver disease, or kidney disease can cause water retention. As such, it’s important to monitor how often you experience bloating and swelling from excess water retention so you can determine if you’re dealing with acute or chronic water weight. If you’re concerned about water retention, consulting your healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms is advisable.

How to Treat Water Weight?

Assuming you are experiencing acute water weight and there isn’t a more serious underlying cause, the swelling and pooling of excess water being stored in the body can be easily treated. On the other hand, if you are experiencing chronic water weight due to a serious health condition, you’ll want to follow a detailed treatment plan that addresses the actual problem causing your body to store excess water. However, you can still use the following tips to alleviate water retention and the symptoms that come with it.

With that said, here are some common treatments for water weight:

Get active

Even though the idea of exercising might not be appealing when you’re feeling bloated, engaging in physical activity can actually help shed water weight. Sweating during a workout not only help remove excess fluids from the body but also reduces overall inflammation, leading to decreased water retention. It’s a win-win situation for your body.

Drink More Water

While drinking more water may sound counterintuitive, increasing your water intake can help flush out the excess fluids and sodium that are causing the bloating and swelling. As a general rule of thumb, you want to aim to drink two to three litres of water daily – and more if you’re working out.

If you struggle to get enough water in throughout the day, you can also incorporate hydrating foods, such as watermelon, into your diet.

Increase Your Potassium

Potassium plays a vital role in regulating essential bodily functions, such as blood pressure and fluid balance. Try to incorporate more potassium-rich foods rich into your diet, such as bananas, pumpkins, plantains, and papaya, to help maintain a healthy balance of fluids. You may also want to consider taking a potassium supplement if these foods don’t appeal to you.

Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods

While making adjustments to your diet to include more potassium, don’t forget about your fiber. Fiber is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system, which is key to preventing water weight as a healthy digestive system means that everything is in balance. So, you want to make sure you’re getting enough fiber in your diet to not only supports your digestive health but to also help combat water weight.

Some delicious and nutritious fiber-rich foods to consider consuming are beans, broccoli, berries, avocados, popcorn, apples, whole grains and dried fruits. If you have a hard time getting this into your meals, consider taking a fiber supplement.

Reduce Your Salt Intake

Be more mindful of how much salt you consume. While salt is essential for maintaining balance of fluids in and outside of your cells, too much of it can cause a disruption. So, cut back on your sodium. Limit your processed foods and sugary snacks and opt for healthy, wholesome ingredients instead.

Boost Your Magnesium

Another key mineral for reducing water weight is magnesium, as it helps your body function properly. Try to eat more nuts, whole grains and leafy green vegetables, or take a supplement as needed. Magnesium is best absorbed through the skin, so be sure to explore both oral supplements and soothing magnesium lotions and sprays for an extra dose of self-case.

Cut The Carbs

Consuming an excessive amount of carbohydrates prompts your body to convert these carbs into glycogen, a substance stored within your muscles along with water. For each gram of glycogen that’s stored, your body retains around three to four grams of water. So, the more carbs you eat, the more water your body stores. Thus, reducing your carbs will also reduce your water weight. Simple enough!

Prioritize Your Sleep

When you aren’t getting enough high-quality sleep at night, your body produces cortisol, a hormone that signals to your body when you are dehydrated and it needs to hold onto more water. As such, having higher cortisol levels due to a lack of sleep can hinder the body’s ability to regulate its antidiuretic hormone.

Create a sleep schedule you can stick with, practice some nightly self-care and spritz your pillows with a little bit of lavender before bed to ensure you get the rest you need.

Natural Remedies and Tips for Reducing Water Weight

In addition to the advice provided above, you can incorporate these natural remedies to further help reduce water weight and prevent it moving forward.

  • Add fruit slices to your water to encourage you to drink more frequently throughout the day.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle with you wherever you go to ensure you always have water available to drink.
  • Take a dandelion supplement to signal to your kidneys to urine more.
  • Try herbal medicine, such as corn silk, horsetail, parsley, juniper berry, hibiscus, fennel and nettle, all of which are herbs known to help treat water weight.
  • Pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee, as they have a diuretic effect and can help reduce water weight. 
  • Enjoy a glass of celery juice, as it’s a natural diuretic that can balance digestion, liver health, blood pressure and water retention.
  • Bite on a lemon to help flush out your kidneys.
  • Cook with garlic as it can be both a laxative and a diuretic.
  • Cook with onion, as it’s a natural diuretic.

Incorporating these natural remedies into your routine can help you effectively combat water weight and promote a more balanced and comfortable system moving forward. Remember, changes in water weight are a normal part of life, often influenced by factors like diet, hormones, and lifestyle. So, a few simple changes in your diet and lifestyle can go a long way!

Leave a Comment