Guide To Water Retention Diet

Diet To Reduce Fluid Retention

Water Retention

We retain extra water for a variety of reasons. Most commonly the cause is eating too much sodium. Hot weather, and standing for long periods can also lead to fluid retention, which can also occur as a side effect of certain medications. Water retention may also be the result of a serious medical condition, involving major organs like the kidneys, the heart, the liver, as well as the lymphatic system. Women have a higher risk of water retention due to fluctuating hormone levels. Premenstrual swelling and menopausal edema are both believed to be caused by the impact of hormones on fluid balance.

General Diet Advice To Reduce Water Retention

Eat less sodium and salt. Ideally, reduce your daily sodium intake to about 1000 milligrams a day, until your water retention problem goes away. The only way to achieve such a reduce sodium intake is to avoid processed foods and eat more fresh food. When buying packaged or canned food, always check the label for sodium content. Most important, do NOT add salt when cooking or eating food. Choose alternative spices, or add lemon juice, or low-sodium chili sauce. A good diuretic herb is parsley.

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of fluids, per day. Mineral water, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice and herbal teas (eg. nettle and dandelion) are good choices. Paradoxically, the more hydrated the body, the less water it retains.
  • Aim to eat six small meals/snacks a day. Do not go longer than 3 hours without eating.
  • Enjoy plenty of good diuretic fruits in your regular diet. The best are melons and citrus fruits. They are rich in potassium which balances sodium and helps to eliminate fluid.
  • Include lots of good diuretic vegetables in your daily diet. Choose leafy green, celery, cucumber, watercress, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, carrots and onions. Like fruit, most vegetables are rich in potassium which helps to maintain a healthy fluid balance.
  • Include regular amounts of starchy wholegrain carbs in your daily diet. Some people find they do better on rice, pasta, couscous and potatoes, rather than wheat.
  • Include unsalted nuts, seeds, bananas, wholegrain unsalted crackers in your snacks.
  • Aim to take in 1200-1350 milligrams of calcium, per day, until your water retention eases. Two 8oz glasses of 1 percent milk (600 milligrams of calcium) plus one cup of low-fat yogurt (415 milligrams of calcium) will give you most of what you need.
  • Substitute salmon, tuna, sardines or any other oily fish for red meat, at least twice a week. Oily fish has numerous health benefits, especially for women who suffer from PMS.

Sample Daily Diet Plan To Reduce Water Retention


A large bowl of chopped fresh fruit (eg. citrus, berries, melon), topped with 4oz/120g of low-fat bio-yogurt, sprinkled with seeds or chopped nuts.


Handful of unsalted nuts or seeds. One small banana.


A salad of brown rice, slices of orange, sliced avocado, sliced cooked chicken, topped with chopped walnuts. Add vinaigrette, made without added salt and serve on a bed of lettuce leaves.


Handful of unsalted nuts or seeds.


Portion of chicken baked with garlic and lemon juice, served with steamed broccoli and carrots.
For dessert, a slice of cantaloupe melon.