You’re skimping on antioxidants
Gayvoronskaya_Yana/Shutterstock You’ve probably heard the term “water weight,” but what does that mean exactly? According to Bridget Murphy, a registered dietitian at NYU Langone Medical Center, our bodies are 60 to 70 percent water. Eating too much of certain foods, or not enough of others, causes your body to hold onto extra water, making you feel bloated and puffy. For example, eating more vegetables and fruits that contain antioxidants can help us lose water weight. “Research supports an increase in antioxidants to help to flush our system and reduce water retention, as they bind to and neutralize free radicals,” Murphy says. “My biggest recommendation when it comes to foods high in antioxidants is to ‘eat the rainbow,’ meaning find a natural food source from each color.” Some options she suggests are red bell peppers, tomatoes or strawberries for red; carrots or butternut squash for orange; squash or artichokes for yellow; leafy greens like spinach or kale for green; and blueberries, purple beets, or eggplant for blue. Don’t miss these 10 things experts wish you knew about water weight.
You’re splurging on salt
Valerio-Pardi/Shutterstock Have you ever had a fast food meal and then later felt like the Good Year blimp? That could be because of an increase in water retention due to all the salt you ate. For people who eat too much sodium on a regular basis, the effects could be long-lasting. “Sodium plays a large role in fluid balance in the body,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies. A study from Germany showed that men who ate a high-salt diet gained more weight than those with a low-salt diet. Murphy explains that it’s all about maintaining proper balance in the bloodstream. “The higher sodium in our blood will demand a higher water volume to maintain homeostasis or balance of micro-nutrients in our blood,” she says. “This is also why high sodium will increase blood pressure.” And it’s not just table salt we’re talking about—highly processed foods and lunch meat also tend to be high in sodium, so read nutrition labels carefully.