Did the end of year festivities leave you feeling a bit sluggish and puffy? You’re not alone… the season of indulgence and partying tends to cause many a healthy habit to fall by the wayside. As a consequence, we may experience irregularity, bloating and fluid retention.
But fear not, a few lifestyle tweaks can do a lot to help you feel better – just be sure to chat to your health care professional first, if your symptoms are severe or if you’re pregnant.
1. Up the (right kind of) fluids
Drinking more fluids seems counterintuitive when we’re trying to ease water retention. You’ve probably heard drinking up in fact flushes out waste as well as excess salt, which are often the reason why fluid accumulates in the body.
So up your intake of water, or try your hand at juicing. Besides having a high water content, certain fruit and veg – such as lemon, watermelon, pineapple, celery and cucumber – have beneficial effects on the intestinal system too, with natural diuretic properties, and can help keep us regular too. And if excess gas is the problem, herbal teas like ginger or peppermint are great to sip on to help banish the bloat. Limit carbonated drinks though, for obvious reasons.
2. Eat for hormonal balance
That time of the month? Many women experience water retention and bloating a few days before they get their period: there may be an increase in fluids in the abdomen as well as hands and feet. The scales can climb up by as much as 10 lbs just because of the excess water.
To help balance hormones (and counter PMS-related bloating), make sure you’re eating plenty of fresh fruit and veg. Potassium-rich bananas are a good choice, and so are fibre-rich nuts, legumes and whole-grains. After an even bigger impact? Significantly reduce animal fat and protein; ditch the table salt and processed foods and cut right down on alcohol (might sound like a chore but check out your ankles after a week and you’ll be skipping all the way to the celery aisle!)
3. Get moving
Tied to the desk? A lot of time sitting down can slow things down (read: cause constipation) and lead to swollen legs. Movement counters this by stimulating the bowels, circulation and the lymphatic system, so get up for a stretch on a regular basis. Sweating is even better when it comes to getting rid of excess fluid, so schedule some fun cardio into your week.
4. Soak up some magnesium
Few things are as relaxing as soaking in a warm bath, but adding two cups of epsom or magnesium salts into the water can also boost your body’s ability to eliminate toxins and excess fluid. Relax for 20 minutes (don’t let the water get too hot) and repeat once a week if needed.3