Feel bit water balloon-ish before your period? Fluid retention may be to blame. Lola Ross shares her top 5 foods to leave you drained - in a good way.
The research on menstrual oedema patterns (fluid retention) is not entirely clear, however the rise in progesterone during the luteal phase of the ovarian cycle correlates with many women’s patterns of luteal phase oedema. Progesterone hits a peak just before the onset of menstruation, suggesting a relationship between progesterone, which is the involved in draining and relaxing the venous walls, as well as its inhibiting effect on aldosterone – a steroid hormone in our adrenals - that regulates water retention.
Research has suggested that fluid retention can reduce in normally active women who increase their exercise levels. So in terms of reducing oedema, regular exercise may be beneficial, alongside including foods that can have a positive effect on water retention reduction.
5 Fluid Retention Supporting Foods
1. Spinach – These potassium-rich, dark green leaves are good for reducing water retention. Women need up to 2g of potassium a day and some of it is used to help regulate water balance in the body. A large handful of organic spinach contains around 400mg of potassium, so add to juices, soups and salads to help reduce the swell.
2. Lentils – Protein is essential in maintaining electrolyte balance, which is an integral part of how your body regulates body fluid. Lentils are great sources of non-animal protein, are super-easy to prepare and a cheap store-cupboard item. Soak dried lentils overnight and rinse until the water is sud-less (rinse tinned versions the same way), or you may get gas bloating from the soapy phytates.
3. Cucumber – This high water content vegetable contains two compounds, ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, both known diuretics (done the cucumber on puffy eyes trick?). Juice cucumbers, or eat them with skins on for added fibre, plus the minerals molybdenum, magnesium and silica.
4. Parsley – is known to increase urine excretion, so another good food to nudge your body to release excess water. Wash and chop a bundle of flat leaf parsley and keep it in the fridge for a ready-to-go sprinkle for soups, smoothies and stews.
5. Water – Counter-intuitive perhaps, but actually your fluid retention is in part your internal water regulation system being a bit confused, making it hold on to water. So the more you drink, the feedback mechanism will kick in telling your kidneys to excrete as much water it can to maintain balance. Use an app like My Water to help you keep tabs on your daily intake.
Anti-Bloat Herbal Tea Mix
For an anti-bloat tonic that is both hydrating and a diuretic, brew-up a herbal tea infusion using dandelion, Uva Ursi and Yarrow. For loose herbs try https://www.baldwins.co.uk/herbs