There is a normal water, mineral balance in the human body. However we see that various factors have the capacity to change this balance and then water which would normally be eliminated via, urine, perspiration, and along with motion gets withheld back in the body. This then causes great discomfort and can severely disrupt the normal routines of our day-to-day life.
Two food items that have the greatest effects are salt and alcohol and then of course large sugar or sweet intake, fatty food or fried snack intake and may be even too much starch at one time can make you suddenly feel bloated, puffed up and uncomfortable.
What happens is when the above items are consumed in more than normal quantities the blood concentration of salt or sugar rises and the body receives a message to hold back water to dilute the blood and bring it back to normal. I have seen weight changes of 1kg over night in a body that has eaten a huge Chinese food meal (loaded with salts) or one that has gone on an alcohol binge the night before. This may also be seen if there is overeating of rice or if one suddenly consumes a packet of salty namkeen, chips or even salty popcorn.
The second factor is your own body make up. Some people are born with the constitution that reacts more to some foods and have a greater tendency to water retention than others. If so you need to be aware of this and try to be more conscious of what you are eating and drinking and how much are you consuming of these foods at one time.
Now let’s look at how the water retention affects us. First of all you tend to feel puffy in your feet, fingers, face and eyes. You may feel more sleepy and as if you are having a hangover. This will first effect your concentration at work or at a game. Your knees and back may retain more water and start hurting. Some have the water collecting in the head leading to depression, wanting to cry or may get a headache and migraine from this. I even know people who lose coordination, drop a glass, tip a bottle over, fall down easily or miss a step, in this condition.
The worst effect is on those trying to lose weight and are monitoring their weight regularly. Suddenly you see the scale shooting up when you are working very hard at weight loss and you get so de-motivated. Next time, check what you ate or drank the night before. This also causes constipation and that can be very uncomfortable and add to the weight gain.
There is one more factor that has a terrible effect and that is the female hormones controlling our menstrual cycle. Irrespective of anything you do or consume there could be a bloating of ½ to 3kgs at the time of ovulation when the female egg is released, usually mid cycle. This may subside after a week and again rise close to the date of your period. In some cases it lasts for the whole 15 day period, from ovulation upto the period.
All the above symptoms and also severe breast pain and back pain may occur during this time. Don’t lose heart, you have to bear up, the release will naturally come after the period. Don’t get upset about the weight, avoid fights with spouse or others and be very, very careful not to binge on any of the above mentioned food. Keep your water intake upto 2-3 liters, not less. You may feel too heavy to exercise but push yourself to go as the sweating helps to relieve the bloating and avoid additional salt on salad or any other food. Strictly avoid pickles and papads as they are very high in salt content.