Chances are, you’ve heard about them. But, how much do you really know? That’s where we come in. And, as a bonus, we have a list of 11 of the very best natural diuretics.
You’ve likely heard quite a bit about diuretics.
But, what are they?
How can they help you?
Diuretics get rid of excess fluid in the body such as water and sodium. The majority of people prescribed diuretics are often older adults who have conditions that may require regulating fluid.
Some conditions are more common such as high blood pressure or edema. But, other less common conditions such as congestive heart failure and kidney dysfunction are also known to result in fluid retention.
Fluid retention, also known as water retention, is an excessive buildup of fluid in the circulatory system, body tissue or cavities in the body. Diuretics increase urine output. Needless to say, this can provide relief from the buildup of fluid.
What Causes Water Retention?
Water retention can occur in many areas of the body for a number of reasons. Oftentimes, staying physically healthy makes water retention more avoidable. Some fluid buildup will naturally go away, whereas some fluid retention requires more help from diuretics.
Pregnancy is likely the most well-known cause of fluid buildup and it often goes away after the baby is born. The weight of the uterus on major veins of the pelvis can cause fluid buildup.
Physical inactivity is a common cause of fluid buildup.
The reason is because the blood of someone who is inactive does not travel fast enough to the heart. Fluid begins to accumulate in the legs and results in higher pressure in the capillaries. This eventually causes some capillaries to leak fluid or break.
The capillaries are tiny blood vessels surrounding tissues. When the pressure inside the capillaries changes, water retention may occur. If something is wrong with the capillary pressure and excess fluid is continuously leaking, then the fluid is more likely to remain in the tissue spaces between cells, rather than returning to the capillaries. This results in fluid retention.
As well, exercise also stimulates the lymphatic system. Of course, this regulates overflow and brings fluids back into bloodstream. The lymphatic system consists of a network of vessels throughout the body that drains a fluid called lymph from tissues and empties it back into the bloodstream. If too much fluid is released, then the lymphatic system is overwhelmed.
It is not able to return fluid fast enough and results in fluid retention.
What Prompts Water Retention?
A person’s activity level heavily affects both the capillaries and lymphatic systems, that’s a given. But there are also other causes such as medical conditions.
Congestive heart failure plays a large part in water retention. The heart partially maintains the normal pressure in blood. If the heart starts to fail, then the change in blood pressure may cause water retention. Usually, the legs, feet, and ankles swell. Those are key things to look for.
Fluid buildup in the lungs is also common and may cause the person who is impacted to develop a chronic cough. A chronic cough can eventually cause breathing problems and excessive stress on the heart. One way to relieve the stress is to consume a diuretic. These help the body shed the excess water.
Kidney dysfunction is another condition that causes water retention. The kidneys filter waste, fluids and other substances. Then it allows those products to cross into tubules for the body to reabsorb them if it can be reused, or excreted in our urine if is not reusable. If the blood flow to the kidney is affected or tubules are not working properly due to damage or a disease, then it causes obstruction in the urine outflow and the body would not be able to remove the excess fluids properly.
A poor diet such as one with a lack of vitamin B or too much salt can increase fluid retention. For example, water dilutes sodium if there is too much in the body. Salt also makes you thirsty so your body will hold onto the water and cause a buildup in fluid. In other words, you have one more reason to skip fast food.
Hormones and medicine may also cause water retention. Side effects of hormones and medicines related to how your kidneys work may cause water retention. For example, contraceptive pills and some painkillers cause hormone level changes. This changes sodium levels in your body and governs how your kidneys work.
What Is A Diuretic & How They Work
Diuretics help regulate the amount of fluid buildup in the body by increasing the amount of salt and water that is released in your urine. Also, diuretics extract water from the blood, reducing the pressure on the walls of the arteries. There are also the best supplements for cutting but do your homework.
Water pills and other prescribed diuretics may have unwanted side effects such as fatigue, muscle cramps, lightheadedness, rashes, and headaches. They can also be a great way on how to lose water weight.
Natural diuretics are less likely to cause the unwanted side effects and prompt the wanted effects of decreasing excess fluid buildup. With any food, you may want to talk to your doctor about potential allergic reactions, especially if you are already taking prescribed medication.
Natural Diuretic Foods & Drinks 11 Most Common
#1 Caffeinated Items
Caffeinated foods and beverages such as tea and coffee encourage your body to urinate more often. The common recommendation is to consume no more than 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine per day.
Suggested use: Tea is one of the most suggested caffeinated beverages because of the wide options of teas that you can choose from. With so many, it should be easy to find a flavor you like.
Dandelions enhance kidney activity and increase urination frequency.
Suggested use: If you use weed killer on your dandelions, then you should not eat them from your lawn. Capsules or grounded dandelion are a great spice or garnish for your food.
#3 Fruits And Fruit Juices
Fruits and fruit juices that are high in potassium are natural diuretics. Potassium helps the body pass sodium through urine. Fruit such as lemons, pineapple, and other citrus types are particularly good as a natural diuretic. Peaches and cucumbers, on the other hand, work as a laxative and a diuretic when eaten.
Suggested use: To get the most benefit from fruit, eat the entire fruit instead of just the juice. The juice may have the nutrients you need to be a diuretic, but you can get a lot more nutrients from the entire fruit.
Juniper, like many natural diuretics, does not seem to lower potassium levels as some drugs do. It has also shown to have a noteworthy effect on urine volumes in animals.
Suggested use: Juniper is a great garnish for many dishes, but an essential oil from a natural food store may be what you are looking for as a better fit. Be sure that if you decide to buy an oil version of juniper, that you check the label to make sure it is safe to ingest.
Horsetail has the same effects as prescription diuretics with fewer side effects according to a 2014 study.
Suggested use: Horsetail is a common supplement you can buy in capsules at a natural food store. You can take it daily. Read the label for suggested dosage.
#6 Cilantro And Parsley
It’s true: Parsley and cilantro is more than just a garnish. It also helps with urinary volume.
Suggested use: Put some freshly chopped parsley and cilantro in a smoothie. They will provide a delicious kick in a morning smoothie and they are easy to eat.
#7 Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are both high in potassium. That works to increase the amount of urine your body produces.
Suggested use: The best way to eat spinach and kale is fresh in a salad. Instead of using ranch or a vinaigrette to enhance the flavor, try using berries and walnuts instead.
It encourages urination while ensuring you will not lose excess potassium when you do urinate.
Suggested use: Like most veggies, it is more beneficial if you eat it raw. But, boiled or steamed may make it more enjoyable.
#9 Asparagus, Beets, Seaweed, Pumpkin And Green Beans
These are natural diuretics, but they may interact with certain medications. As a result, you should tell your doctor if you plan to alter your diet or if you are already taking diuretic medication.
Suggested use: Like most veggies, it is better if you eat these raw. With that said, you may find you like it more either steamed or boiled.
#10 Celery Seed
Celery seed is a diuretic. It also helps with arthritis, reducing muscle spasms, reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure.
Suggested use: Celery seed has a strong flavor so be careful how much of it you use. It is a great way to flavor fish or to add spice to homemade bread.
Hibiscus is a common garden flower. It also has a species called roselle, which is a significant diuretic. A study also noted that it helps increase kidney filtration.
Suggested use: Unlike a flower in your garden, the species roselle is green and commonly mixed with cilantro as a garnish for a shrimp.
Diuretics Side Effects
Diuretics are generally safe, but they can have some side effects.
Unfortunately, a common effect is low potassium levels. This may cause fatigue, muscle cramps or weakness. As well, you may be at risk of heart palpitations or a fluttery heartbeat, gout, depression, irritability, loss of sex drive or inability to have an erection. Hair growth, menstrual changes, deepening voice in women, breast swelling in men or breast tenderness in women, numbness or tingling may also be a result of a diuretic.
Before making any major changes to your diet including adding a diuretic, talk to your doctor about the potential side effects and health benefits.
Prior to consulting a doctor or planning a weeks’ worth of meals that include diuretics, and before you go to the natural food store, identify if a diuretic is what you need.
Some people have found that instead of adding veggies and herbs to their diet, they just need to drink more water. Water is one of the safest diuretics, and depending on the quality, it also has the least amounts of possible side effects.
Some people have been able to identify a change in their diet as a main cause of fluid retention. For example, an increase in your salt intake may cause fluid retention. Fast food restaurants and many diners tend to use a lot of salt in their food to improve flavor. If you can decrease the amount of fast food you eat, that may be even better for you than adding a diuretic to your diet. If your diet includes a lot of salt, then decrease the amount.
A new medication you are taking may also be the cause of fluid retention. If that is the case, then talk to your doctor to make sure that the side effect is not a symptom of something more serious. In any case, talk to your doctor if you are taking any medication to ensure that the natural diuretic you choose will not interact with it.
Don’t just take a diuretic with the hopes of looking better at a fitness event or on the beach. That could be a big mistake. With that being said, if adding a diuretic to your diet is the best option for you, then try using a natural one to decrease the amount of side effects and to have a healthier lifestyle.
Whatever you do, make sure that you are listening to your body. Why? It will tell you how much you need, and when you need it. It may also be a good idea to try a number of diuretics to see what works best for you.
By Sara Wade