How can I stop retaining water? I am constantly bloated and cannot lose weight. What are some suggestions?

– Leslie


To stop retaining water, decrease bloat and reduce water weight I’d recommend three basic actions: limit higher sodium foods, hydrate well and avoid known gas-forming foods.


Sodium in salt and other preservatives makes the body hold water within tissues instead of inside cells where it should be. Cut back on pre-packaged foods (like frozen items and restaurant meals) and highly processed items (like condiments and engineered products). Potassium helps water get inside cells and stay there. Get plenty of potassium from good sources like avocado, winter squash, bananas, tomatoes, and potatoes.


Your body may be less likely to hold onto water if there is plenty of it flowing freely. By drinking more fluids and eating water-filled foods, you may be less likely to retain water and more apt to flush out sodium, keep cells hydrated and achieve proper digestion. Watermelon and cucumbers are not only watery, they contain anti-inflammatory compounds to fight swelling. Sip on debloating teas made with mint or spices like cinnamon and ginger.


Have smaller portions of gas forming foods that are cooked well. Chew them slowly & thoroughly. High fiber foods (like beans and broccoli), dairy products, and sorbitol – a sugar alcohol found in chewing gum and fruits (like apples, peaches, and pears) could all be bloated belly culprits.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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