Natural Treatments

pills-300x199Most of us have been brought up to believe that a health problem should be treated with a tablet. This is fine if you have a disease caused by bacteria, since antibiotic tablets will make it go away quite quickly. If you have a headache, an aspirin tablet can also provide a quick cure.

But the truth is that most of today’s problems are not temporary conditions like infections or headaches. They are chronic or long-term problems like water retention, chronic fatigue, PMS or eczema. There are tablets available for these conditions, but they are not cures. They only provide temporary relief.

Meanwhile, the metabolic imbalance in your body which is causing the chronic condition, is still there in the background, and usually gets worse in time.

Water retention doesn’t have a  ‘quick fix’

I don’t know anyone who is happy with the results of taking water pills unless they have been prescribed them for a heart or kidney condition. In fact I get messages all the time from desperate people who have been buying these pills and finding that the more they take the worse their water retention gets, so the more pills they have to take to get the temporary relief.swollen ankles

Please don’t become one of these people. If you have checked with your doctor and he has given the all-clear to your heart and kidneys, then your water retention is simply being caused by a metabolic imbalance. Metabolic imbalances are very common these days, and are caused by eating and drinking too many of the wrong things and not enough of the right ones. Only reversing this process can get rid of your metabolic imbalance and permanently relieve your water retention problem.

Herbal medicines

dandelionHerbal medicines are natural but they work in a similar way to prescription pills – they only provide temporary relief. The reason is that, like prescription drugs, they are also diuretics, which means they make your kidneys work unnaturally hard to drive water out of your blood. But in most cases of water retention the excess water is not in the blood, so all that these pills will do is make you dehydrated while the tissues that are supplied by your blood remain swollen with water.

The only natural treatment for water retention that can give you a chance of permanent relief is a dietary approach.  It makes sense really, because most cases of water retention start by eating and drinking too many of the wrong foods, so nothing is more important than changing what you eat and drink.

First steps to recovery

food pyramidThe first thing you have to change is to cut down on sugary foods and drinks. There are large amounts of sugar in soda drinks, candy, cookies and biscuits, cakes, desserts and chocolate. Sugar makes your body produce insulin, which interferes with your sodium balance and makes you retain water. Cut down to one sweet item a day.

Fatty foods should also be controlled. That doesn’t mean stopping butter and cutting the skin off chicken. It does mean becoming aware of how much hidden fat there is in burgers and deep-fried food. These fatty foods displace foods that are more nutritious. Cut them down to no more than once a week.

If you are addicted to salty-tasting food, that will almost certainly make you retain water. Stop eating it.

Finally, start putting more fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet, drink more water, and eat whole-grain bread instead of white. These foods help to nourish the hormones that control water balance in your body. Drinking water helps to keep your blood hydrated, which will discourage your body from holding on to water.

Advanced help

veg soupMaking these changes are the first step to recovery, but some people need extra help. For instance, a proportion of people with water retention are made worse by eating certain foods. These foods vary from person to person, but a resistant case of water retention needs to find out if they have any unsafe foods. On your own it is hard to spot the connection between a particular food and your water retention because it may be a food you eat almost every day, causing your water retention to linger permanently.

Linda Lazarides wrote her book the Waterfall Diet to help individuals with resistant water retention. This book includes a self-test so that you can check whether any foods are particularly bad for you. Many individuals have lost 10 lbs or more of retained fluid by following the advice in this book. The excess fluid is lost by urination, and provided that you continue to follow the advice in the book, it will not return.

You can order the book from Amazon websites, or if you are in a hurry to lose water weight, download the E-guide Low Carb Dieting and the Waterfall Diet, which also gives full instructions.

About Linda Lazarides

Linda Lazarides is an international expert on water retention, author of eight books and founder of the British Association for Nutritional Therapy. She has successfully treated hundreds of people referred to her by doctors. See success stories or download E-guide.


  1. Nice article. I’ve been blending an apple, an orange, carrot, 50ml milk, 100ml water and drink it daily for 3 weeks now. My weight increased 3kg with bloated stomach and water retention. I have irregular heartbeat (my heart skips a beat according to my doctor) and Vesicoureteral reflux my left kidney an abnormal kidney where by once my bladder is full with urine will flow back into my kidney. I’m an active person but what cause these bloatness and water retention suddenly.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Martha, regarding your abnormal kidney, your doctor is the best person to advise. If the drink you have been making is giving you water retention, then something in it does not agree with you. My books have a lot of information on how to identify foods that are safe for you to eat without causing water retention, so that is something you might want to consider.

  2. My body is swelling from edema i only can eat small portions of food. I’ve switch my diet to fruit n lean meats but for some reason when i stand @ wrk for 2 hrs then break. My legs swell up alot bigger then before and sometimes my private area and face also. What can o do to get back healthy..!!!!!

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Darrin, improving your diet is definitely a step in the right direction, but without spending some time asking you a lot of questions about your health and diet history, I’m not sure how to help since there at least seven different causes of water retention. If you want, you can read about them in my books. You will find the links at the top of this page.

  3. Davilyn says:

    june 2012 my feet was swelling, Doc said its due to arthritis. they ran blood test everything was fine. after all the delay and test december I had orthroscopic surgery for I tore my museles. they fixed the tore and cleaned out the cup and shaved the arthritis off the bone. but my legs and feet still swell. my stomache get bloaded and i notice my hands wrist and arms get swollen too. I tried water pills over the counter but it goes down a little bit. but next day right back. doc said no circulation in my legs but i’ve been working out curves in the morning and water exercises in the afternoon and still the same thing. also the compressed stockings did nothing for me. from last june I put on 30lbs. i work out and water excersises and i put on weight. can you recommend anything for me. i hear b complex is good and a good diet. i’m so clueless on the diet part.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Water pills could make this type of water retention worse in the long term so are not recommended. There are many things you can do to improve your health and work on your water retention. There is some general advice on this website, so please do study it carefully. If you are interested in getting to the root of the problem try to get the publications (see top of page) as they will give you more knowledge than can be provided on a website.

  4. What if a person has food allergies? and intolerances to wheat, white bread, dairy, corn, rice, oats, caffeine, soy, butter, nuts, honey, and peanut butter. Sometimes I start to throw up when I have these as in the past. Sometimes I am sick for a couple of days when I eat them. I cant eat any citrus fruits . I get a rash and internal itching. Hives from tomato’s… Regular fruit such as apples, cherries etc. have too much sugar and make me retain even more water. I cant eat most meat because of constipation from IBS. I have very few food choices. How can a person like me be treated? I have had water retention for months now that never completely goes away, even with having vegetables that have diuretic properties in them. It would be great if your natural food diet could work for me but I am not sure ( as I have not read your book as yet) seeing as I don’t have many food choices

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Holly, food intolerances are very common but it is not common to have so many. The reason needs to be investigated. I recommend that you ask your doctor to rule out a condition known as Eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease (EGID). If you need further help I am available for online consultation but with a complex condition like this it would not be professional of me to try to give advice without asking you a lot of questions about your health and diet history.

  5. Hormone replacement Therapy works great but it has water retention issue as a side effect. What do you reccomend to control water retention for Menopause? I gained weight withion a week of natural HRT treatment.Thank you, very much!

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Alvin, this doesn’t surprise me at all. You ask what I recommend. The only answer I can give is ‘knowledge’. Study this site if you can.

  6. Hi Linda, I have a chronic pain condition and after I did a detox and stopped I gained several pounds very quickly (particularly cellulite on my legs and thighs) and my ankles and feet swell very easily. I also have slightly dark circles and slight puffiness under my eyes. In the two years since, this has not gone away. Sometimes my ankles and feet look fine, othertimes they look like I could be pregnant. All tests for liver aund kidneys come back normal. I move around quite a lot, have an excellent diet (good fats, high protein, life of veg and fruit,low grains – no dairy, sugar or gluten) I also have allergy desensitising shots for possible food sensitivities. I am also on LDN and vitamin b, c and magnesium supplements. I feel like I’m doing everything right, why won’t my ankles go down? Can stress do this? I am 40, 120lbs and have severe neck, shoulder and head pain. Thank you.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      This is a complex health history Jo, and without doing a thorough assessment and working with you for a while, I would only be guessing if I made any comments. Water retention does not have the same causes in everyone. Clearly you have not yet got to the root of the problem.

  7. Hi Linda, I have read your book and have started with the eating plan yesterday. I have also purchased a red clover tincture, as you recommend red clover in your book. I am a 33 year old female and just want to make sure about the estrogen like effects of red clover and what dosage would be correct for me. I don’t want to stimulate estrogen production if it is going to cause weight gain, just a bit confused about how red clover works?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Karina, I can’t give personal advice to people I don’t know, so the only advice I can give is that if you want to try any product it is always best not to exceed the dosage indicated on the product label.

  8. I have gained 9 pounds in a week my stomach is beyond bloated I am urinating all the time I am a loss I do have Primary Sjogrens an autoimmune disorder but this is unrelated I feel

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Kristen, all health problems are interrelated as they usually have a mutual cause. Hoping my book helps you to shed light on your problem.

  9. basavaraj says:

    hi linda, I’m 24 years old and gone under diet which reduce my weight from 71kg to 62kg and now my body looks thin but my face looks more puffy than eariler and when i get off bed i feel bloated . sorry for bad english grammer.

  10. Vonbraun says:

    I have had water retention problems for ten years now and since i forbid prescription drugs in my system i opted to use myself as a guiny pig for natural cures via self experimentation. After much patience and years of experimentation i finally discovered how to eliminate ALL the excess water. STOP EATING COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES like potatoes…beans…pasta…rice …and especially ANY breads. Instead eat only meats/eggs/milk and RAW vegetables and eat in a cooled envirornment like 68 degrees. So for breakfast eat a two egg omlett with becon and cheese…NO SALT….for lunch eat white chickenbreast cooked in olive oil and a side of sliced tomatoes….for dinner eat a char broiled steak and a fresh small chef salad. Drink natural cranberry juice. Now these are examples of what i eat to loose the retention and KEEP it off. You see whe we get over 30 our bodies will react to starches with water retention…skip the starches and GOOD-BYE RETENTION! ! ! !

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      This must be a great relief for you Vonbraun. It works for you because by avoiding starches you are avoiding some of the foods you are sensitive to. This is an individual response. Starches don’t cause water retention but foods that you are sensitive to can certainly cause water retention. These foods vary from person to person. I wrote a book called the Waterfall Diet to help people identify the cause of their water retention so that in many cases they can get rid of it quickly rather than experimenting on their own for ten years. If you find your present diet very restrictive, you may find the book helpful to determine exactly what your problem foods are so that you don’t need to avoid so many foods all the time.

  11. Hello my hands are always swollen I don’t eat anything candies or cakes or even soda at that. Lot of water and mostly chicken for dinner my salt intake isn’t high and I don’t eat out. My hands look righ and people say they look swollen. When it comes time for me to use the bathroom I don’t don’t have to pee a lot or a lot throughout the day. I’m scheduling a dr appointment but I was hoping you could give me some pointers. Ty

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Wishing you well with your appointment Amanda, and do keep exploring this site as the pointers ae all here.

  12. I take lasix for my heart. I’m a huge bloated person. My normal weight is 125 I’m at 170 how can I rid myself of this water

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Beth, I’m so sorry to hear of your problem. The lasix should be getting rid of the excess water if it is being caused by a heart problem, and that will take some of the load off your heart. If you also have a lot of body fat then you will also help your heart if you can lose some of that fat. The better your heart works, the less water you will retain. The problem is that with a heart condition there isn’t enough pressure to make the kidneys work as hard as they should. That is why lasix or similar medications are needed, as they are kidney stimulants. Wishing you well.

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