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6 Tips on How to Reduce Water Retention

Woman touching her legs in a bathroom.
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Retaining water is a natural symptom everyone experiences from time to time. Still, it can be very frustrating and uncomfortable, making you lose confidence, falsely believe you need to lose weight, and even lead to eating disorders.

Women tend to experience more water retention than men due to their menstrual cycles and hormones, but even though it’s a natural occurrence, there are ways to reduce the symptom and help flush excess water out of your system.

Causes for Water Retention

Man eating high-sodium fast food.
Kristen Prahl/Shutterstock.com

There are plenty of factors that can cause water retention. Some of the most common include:

  • Changes in hormones and pregnancy
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Capillary damage
  • Other known health conditions such as kidney damage or heart health
  • Certain medications
  • Eating too much sodium
  • Lymphatic system disorders
  • Flying in an airplane

Even though some of these causes are more serious than others and require medical attention, the regular daily water retention we deal with due to periods and sitting in front of our computer all day might be tackled with at-home remedies and changes in our lifestyle routines.

Compression socks

Help with leg swelling.

Move Your Body

Woman stretching her legs in front of a lake.
Karla Tafra

Maybe the most obvious tip of all, but moving your body greatly helps flush the excess water out of your system. Simply taking a walk around the neighborhood will promote your circulatory system and help you flush toxins and retained water. You don’t have to engage in strenuous exercise, just a simple walk will do.

If your job requires you to stay seated for long periods of time, get up and stretch your legs from time to time. This will help stimulate your lymphatic system and with it, the flow of retained water.

FIT KING Leg Air Massager

A foot and calf massager that knows how to soothe both areas at the same time through a unique airbag system.

Eat Less Salt

Woman smiling and eating healthy food.
RossHelen/Shutterstock.com

Excess sodium is a great contributor to increased water retention so clean up your diet and try to pay more attention to your overall sodium intake. Restaurants and many processed products often contain way more sodium than you think, having your body react by retaining water in your joints and limbs.

Start by opting for low-sodium alternatives to your usual staples such as chicken stock and soy sauce, salt your food less overall, and be wary of restaurant meals. They always tend to oversalt everything.

Low Sodium Soy Sauce

A great and authentic taste with less sodium.

Drink More Water

Woman drinking water in a brown top.
Dean Drobot/Shutterstock.com

Hydration is important for so many different reasons and helping reduce water retention is one of them. Drinking water helps increase your need for urination, which results in a reduction in water retention. Ensure to stay hydrated throughout the day, especially during the warmer months, after exercise, post salty meals, and during airplane travel.

Such an easy tip we all need to adhere to anyways, but one of the best there is for helping you reduce the uncomfortable bloating and joint swelling symptoms.

Stanley cup

Keeps you accountable.

Increase Your Magnesium Intake

Man holding a white magnesium pill in front of a glass of water.
Bogdan Sonjachnyj/Shutterstock.com

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals to add to your daily supplement routine as it’s involved in over 300 processes in the human body. It plays a huge role in everything from protein synthesis and DNA function to reducing water intake and promoting the breakdown of lactic acid in your muscles.

The recommended daily intake of magnesium is around 350-400 milligrams, but depending on your level of activity and lifestyle habits, you might need way more than that. Unfortunately, due to the poor-quality diet and soil depletion, many people are magnesium-deficient without even knowing it. That’s why taking a high-quality supplement can really help not only reduce uncomfortable symptoms such as water retention but also support overall health and wellness.

Magnesium supplement

Stay on top of your magnesium intake.

Increase Your Potassium Intake

Woman peeling a banana at home.
thirawatana phaisalratana/Shutterstock.com

Another important mineral that regulates water levels in your body, potassium is much easier to obtain through food rather than a supplement. That being said, you can always get a potassium supplement and increase your intake that way.

Foods that contain high levels of potassium include sweet potatoes, pumpkins, bananas, avocados, and tomatoes. Make a mental note to get more of these foods in your next shopping haul and increase your daily consumption.

Banana flour

Increase your dietary fiber and potassium levels throughout the day.

Try Horsetail and Dandelion Supplements

Dried dandelion on a wooden surface.
Alisusha/Shutterstock.com

If none of the abovementioned tips seem to work and your doctor doesn’t believe there’s something more serious underlying your symptoms, ask about adding dandelion or horsetail to your diet. These two powerful herbs are known as diuretics and they may help reduce water retention by promoting urine production.

Additionally, some people swear by boiling parsley and drinking water (also known as parsley tea). Whatever the case may be, always consult your healthcare physician before trying out any of the natural remedies on your own.

Horsetail supplement

Helps you flush out toxins and excess water.


Water retention can be caused by a plethora of reasons and in addition to all of the abovementioned tips, stretching also helps. Add these exercises to your pre-bed routine when your legs feel heavy and wake up refreshed.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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