"Bloating" is one of those words that we all use without realizing its true meaning. Well, we know that it refers to that unfortunate puffiness some of us get around the midsection — or ankles or wrists — and, to our endless frustration, makes that number on the scale fluctuate. And, we know that it generally happens after a night of heavy drinking and/or eating something particularly yummy, or around that ladies' time of the month. But, what really causes the dreaded water-balloon effect?
Katherine Zeratsky, a nutritionist from the Mayo Clinic, says that edema, or bloating, is usually caused by excessive salt intake, which sends a signal to your kidneys to hold onto as much water as possible in order to get the body back in balance. The water is stored all over your body, both in your fat and muscle tissue and between your blood vessels, though in some people it tends to pool in the hands and feet.
So, too many French fries makes you retain water — no surprise there. But, Zeratsky says you can take steps to battle the blasted bloat and reducing the sodium in your diet is just one of them. Exercising helps your body get rid of that water in the form of sweat while reducing inflammation in general. It might sound counterintuitive, but drinking water can be helpful — it helps maintain your salt balance on a continual basis, preempting your kidneys from retaining excess fluid later. But, the big secret, according to Zeratsky? Fiber. In addition to being great for your digestion overall, it helps to remove waste and excess minerals from your system, keeping everything moving in the process. You know what they say, an apple a day... (CNN)