Diuretic foods

A diuretic is any substance that increases the production of urine, causing you to urinate more frequently. The idea, when taking diuretics, is to get rid of excess fluid. Water retention can be caused by inadequate protein intake. If any excess fluids stay in the body for long periods of time they can cause damage to the kidneys, liver, or even the heart. There are certain foods that have a diuretic effect. However, before attempting to use diuretics, no matter your reason, talk with a health care provider because if not taken properly, diuretics can have serious side effects, including dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

Why the Diuretic Diet
People go on a diuretic diet for different reasons:

  • To reduce the amount of water retention in the body.
  • To lose weight quickly by reducing the amount of water in the body. If weight is lost this way, it is only a temporary fix, and no fat is lost. The drop in pounds is due to a loss of water.
  • To treat menstrual or PMS symptoms such as bloating.
  • To treat certain conditions, including high blood pressure, edema (intense collection of fluid in the body), heart disease, sciatica, kidney stones, lymphatic swelling, gonorrhea, and liver disorders.

How Diuretics Work

Diuretic foods and substances work in different ways, but they all have the same end result.

  • Some suppress the hormone that inhibits urination; this hormone is called vasopressin.
  • Some increase blood flow to the kidneys, which increases urination because urine is produced by filtering blood through the kidneys.
  • Others affect osmotic pressure (water, sugars, and salts in the blood), causing more liquid to leave the kidneys, coming out as urine.
  • And yet some diuretics act by affecting the electrolyte balance that the kidney’s are responsible for regulating. The kidney’s respond to the electrolyte imbalance by producing liquid.

Foods and Drinks That Act as Diuretics

  • Foods with a high water content act as diuretics because water is a natural diuretic.
  • Any beverage will have a diuretic effect.
  • Caffeine-containing beverages and foods, including: coffee, tea, chocolate, yerba maté, guarana, and kola nuts.
  • Alcohol is a strong diuretic, but it is not advisable to drink alcohol for diuretic purposes, especially if you already have a medical condition.
  • Other liquids that act as diuretics include: apple cider vinegar, nettle tea, and dandelion leaf tea.
  • Other foods include:
    • Beets
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Carrots
    • Watermelon
    • Cucumber
    • Cranberries or cranberry juice
    • Asparagus
    • Artichokes
    • Celery
    • Watercress
    • Eggplant
    • Fennel
    • Juniper berries
    • Raw onions
    • Many herbs act as diuretics. For example, parsley, garlic, horseradish and hawthorn.

The Diuretic Diet

Many people follow a diuretic diet for a detoxification diet, to cleanse the body and make you feel refreshed. It is important to note that carbohydrates (including sugar), high salt foods, junk foods, and soft drinks, cause the body to retain fluids, so avoiding these at all costs will be your best bet in getting the most out of this “diet.” Many people also have bloating problems with dairy products. However, only consume diuretics for a few days because if you’re on them for too long, they can flush out essential nutrients. It is advisable to supplement with some type of multivitamin.

Possible Side Effects
Although not everyone experiences side effects, there are some potential ones. Usually they happen if diuretics are used for too long of time period. They include:

  • Unwanted weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Decreased sexual drive
  • Irritability
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Dehydration
Last updated on Aug 20th, 2010 and filed under Healthy Eating. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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