Up to 60% of a human body’s weight is composed of water. At times, it seems that we retain more water than the “usual”. When this is sporadic, this is termed “bloating” but when more long-lasting, we call this “chronic water retention”. Chronic water retention is often due to kidney disease, congestive heart failure and/or hormonal imbalances.
When bloating occurs, this may be caused by too much salt/sodium ingestion. The body attempts to maintain a certain concentration of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride, etc.) in the blood stream. When a heavily salted or sodium containing food is eaten, the body will retain more water to try to ensure that the relative concentration (osmolarity) is maintained.
Inactivity is another cause of periodic water retention. Additionally, during certain times in a woman’s cycle, hormonal fluctuations will lead to episodic water retention.
How can we avoid “water weight” gain? From a dietary standpoint, limiting salt/sodium-containing foods will help lots. Also, being active, incorporating a good amount of exercise will be beneficial. Lastly, as paradoxical as this sounds, drinking lots of water helps flush water out of your system.
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