4 Foods That Cause You to Retain Water

Edema, a case of water retention in the body is caused by the accumulation of excess water or fluids in the circulatory system and areas between body cells and tissues. Fluid retention causes different parts of the body to swell with the face, legs, ankles, and hands being the most common. While many factors have been linked to edema, nutritionist lists certain diets to contribute to fluid retention in the body. Here are four main foods that cause your body to retain water.




Sodium is one of the key elements found in salt and aids in regulating blood pressure and balancing body fluids. According to the American Heart Association, 98% of the American population consumes more than the daily sodium requirement levels of 2300mg (equivalent to one tablespoon of salt). However, if consumed in excess amounts, sodium inhibits the mechanisms, which help to expel excess water from the body disrupting the homeostasis at the cellular level. Sodium attracts water in an effort to dilute the amounts in the body. The body holds onto the water causing uncomfortable fluid retention around the tissues and excess weight gain. The body lets go of the water once it is able to maintain homeostasis.




Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body and are found in foods like rice, flour, and pasta. During digestion, carbohydrates are converted into glycogen that is stored in the liver and body muscles. Glycogen requires a lot of water for storage, which means, the higher the glycogen, the more the water in the body tissues. Additionally, carbohydrates are also converted into sugars, which trigger the pancreas to produce more insulin. A consistently high blood level of insulin stimulates the kidneys to retain more water.


Processed foods


Processed foods such as deli meat, canned soup, bacon, snacks chips, fast foods, and most Chinese foods contain preservatives and high sodium contents. Preservatives such as baking soda, sodium nitrite, monosodium glutamate, sodium saccharin and sodium benzoate lead to high water retention by kidneys. Bacon alone contains 2700mg of sodium per 100g, which is already above the daily sodium requirement. Reducing the intake of processed foods helps in reducing the amount of sodium and chemical intake hence allowing your body to expel water.


Excess dairy products


Dairy products contain a protein type known as casein. Casein is known by medics to cause lymphatic congestion for most people. People with a lymphatic body type are recognized for general weight gain all over the body. They have a low metabolism rate, which causes them to add weight quickly. Due to an inefficient lymphatic system, these people are prone to poor circulation and fluid retention, further aggravated by casein.

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