Fluid retention occurs when the body cannot get rid of excess water. Fluid retention can occur for a variety of reasons, but most commonly it is caused by too much salt in your diet, premenstrual syndrome in women, or as a side effect of medication.

As a result of fluid retention, there may be some swelling of the body, especially in the legs, ankles, hands, feet and abdomen. There are many natural ways of treating fluid retention by expelling excess water from the body and hydrating properly.

Here are a few steps on how to treat fluid retention.

1.  Minimise your intake of salt and salty foods

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Too much salt in the body can cause fluid retention to worsen. Many processed- and fast-foods contain high levels of sodium. Try to avoid processed foods, and check the nutritional information on products you eat to make sure that they do not contain high levels of sodium. Avoid adding additional table salt to your food, and stay away from salty snacks like chips, peanuts and savoury biscuits.

2.  Drink plenty of water to assist with treating fluid retention

Being well hydrated will help you cleanse your system and flush out excess water instead of storing it in your body.

Dehydration can cause fluid retention. When the body is dehydrated it holds onto water instead of allowing the body to dispel it. In order for the body to process fluid correctly, it must be properly and consistently hydrated. The body will then dispel excess fluid instead of holding onto it, causing fluid retention.

3.  Eat foods with diuretic properties

Celery, lettuce, carrots, onion, asparagus, tomato and cucumber will all help to treat fluid retention.

4.  Take vitamins daily to reduce fluid retention

  • Vitamin B6 is known to reduce the effects of fluid retention, especially in mild cases such as fluid retention due to premenstrual syndrome. Large quantities of vitamin B6 can be found in foods such as red meat, salmon, tuna, bananas and brown rice.

  • Vitamin B5, vitamin B1 and vitamin D will reduce water retention and can also be found in foods such as fresh fruits and low-fat dairy.

  • Supplement minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium can help with water retention as well. Calcium is found in yogurt, milk and dark leafy greens like spinach. Potassium is found in fruit such as citrus and melons.

5.  Consider herbs as diuretics to treat and lessen fluid retention

There are many herbs that work as diuretics; among them are dandelion leaf, parsley, corn silk and hawthorn. Ginkgo biloba can help with circulation, so it may benefit you if you have water retention due to circulation problems.

6.  Exercise often to release excess body fluid and increase circulation

Exercise can greatly help with fluid retention because the body will heat up and sweat out excess water. Better circulation will reduce and prevent fluid retention in the future.

7.  Avoid drinks that dehydrate the body such as tea, coffee, alcohol and soft drinks

Although caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, consuming them will only dehydrate you and worsen fluid retention.

8.  Sleep with your feet elevated higher than your heart

Place pillows under your legs when you sleep.


  • Do not take any new supplements before consulting a health professional â?? especially if you are currently taking any medication.

  • Do not consume large amounts of water to treat fluid retention if you have chronic liver problems. Consult your doctor first.

  • Be careful when consuming herbs to treat water retention. Many herbs can have negative effects on the body if consumed in excess.

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