Many people around the world are constantly dealing with the bloating, or retention of water in their bodies. It causes clothes to not fit correctly and is a great annoyance that affects both comfort and self-esteem. So is there anything natural a person can do to help offset a bout of this unpredictable hormonal nuisance? YES!
First, it helps to understand what factors can cause water retention. Surprisingly, not drinking enough water is a main culprit. Water helps your liver convert fat into usable energy. If you don’t drink enough, your kidneys are overwhelmed with concentrated fluids, and they will make your liver do extra work. Your liver works hard to turn your body fat into the energy that you use but if it has to do the kidney’s work, then it simply hold onto the extra fat that would have been burned off if you simply had enough water. And what’s worse is that instead of excreting water and waste products, you body retains existing water to reuse. This is what causes water retention and bloating. When you don’t get enough water, your body panics and holds on to it selfishly, as though you’re in a famine. Dehydration thus can make you look bloated and fat instead of thin and taut. The best way to get rid of this water retention is to drink enough of it to return your body and its processes back to a normal equilibrium.
You’ll also feel thirsty more often, and this will start a healthy cycle of thirst leading to hydration. But you have to keep it up because if you stop drinking enough water, all the good things you’ve gained from drinking water (balanced body fluids, weight loss, decreased hunger and thirst) will reverse back to the way they were. In the human body, water affects every aspect of our health. Water lubricates joints and organs. It maintains muscle tone and keeps skin elastic and soft. Water regulates body temperature, filters out impurities, and keeps the brain working properly while transporting nutrients to and from cells. While the human body can store energy as glycogen, fat, and tissue, it cannot “store” water – the body uses its own water but expects us to provide a continuous supply of fresh new water regularly to function. Water is critical in moving nutrients into and out of a cell, an action known as the “ion pump”. When you take in the improper balance of sodium and potassium or do not drink adequate water, your body will increase a hormone and try to “retain” water by keeping your kidneys from filtering it. Ironically, one of the best ways to stop retaining water is to drink more water!
How Much Water Should You Drink?
While humans can survive without food for several weeks (documented cases have shown lengths of up to two months), we can only survive a few days without water. Thirst is a signal that your body needs to be re-hydrated, but by the time you are thirsty it’s already too late. Just a fraction of a percentage drop of your body’s water supply can result into huge performance decreases. Even slight dehydration can be critical. In the recent sports season, a few deaths resulted from dehydration.
Contrary to popular belief, “chugging” a gallon of water is not going to provide your body with the water it needs. When too much water floods your system at once, your body will pass most of it on to your bladder, and only absorb a slight amount. Weight in the stomach is a signal for digestive processes to begin, and a number of biological chemicals enter your stomach and change the pH balance. This can result in indigestion and stomach pain.
The best way to take water is to steadily sip it throughout the day. You should also eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – most of the produce you eat is filled with water, and the body can process this water very efficiently. So – how much water? We’ve been told to drink “eight cups a day,” which is a good starting point, but does every adult require this same amount of water when people come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and have different metabolisms, exercise habits and lifestyles?
Actually there is a simple way to compute water intake and it works incredibly well. The method simply asks a person to drink enough water to have two or three very light colored to clear urinations per day. If you have dark yellow urinations, then either you are not drinking enough water, are not eating healthily or have some type of infection or other illness. For a normal, healthy adult, two or three light to clear urinations are a great “ruler” for proper body hydration. If you do not have these, then increase your water intake until it happens.