Commonly known as water pills, diuretics promote a process called ‘diuresis’ in which the amount of water released via urine from a patient’s body is increased.
Diuretics works on the principle of ‘Osmosis’ in which water flows from a lower concentration area to a higher concentration area making the overall concentration equal on both the sides.
The process of Diuretics undergoes in our kidneys where water flows from a lower concentration of electrolytes to a higher concentration of electrolytes through the semipermeable membrane to balance the concentration of solutes on both sides.
Diuretics are used in several medical cases like heart failure, influenza, hypertension and certain kidney diseases but are best known for their ability to reduce the weight of a person. Apart from the products available in the market, there are a lot of natural options. One must consult a doctor before taking any of the natural diuretics.
Different Types Of Natural Diuretics
A lot of recent studies and researchers have concluded that dandelion is a very effective diuretic and not just some common weed. It was found that people consuming dandelion showed enhanced kidney activity and an increase in urination frequency.
- Green and Black Tea
Green and black tea are trending these days because of their ability to help people who are trying to lose weight easily and quickly. Green and Black Tea are capable of doing that because they are natural diuretics. This helps the body in flushing some excess fluid, getting rid of the water weight and shedding some pounds.
Hawthorn has the ability to reduce fluid build-up and improve the symptoms of congestive heart failure. Belonging to the family of Roses, this powerful diuretic increases the amount of urine released from the body. Hawthorn berries can also be consumed to further benefit from the plant.
Despite being 92 percent water and full of natural sugars, watermelon is a very good diuretic agent. The water present in the fruit is healthy and along with other nutrients, stimulates urination in the body. This way the frequency of urination in a day increases, decreasing the water retained in the body.
Most of the prescription drugs for diuretics are created by using horsetail and have certain side effects. Pure and original horsetail extract does the same thing as the drugs but it doesn’t come with any of the harmful side effects.
Oats have a high content of water-soluble B vitamins and potassium which makes it a natural diuretic. These minerals help the body in regulating water levels by competing with sodium to ensure that the body is properly hydrated.
Juniper can be grown very easily in a home or can be found in the open without much effort. It is a proven diuretic since medieval times and is very much capable of increasing the urine volume in a person as well as in some animals. One of the benefits of juniper is that it doesn’t lower the potassium content in the body like some prescription drugs.
Tigernuts are actually a vegetable which taste like coconut and have a crunchy texture. Tigernuts have a high content of iron and potassium encouraging urination in the body. Tigernuts are a type of resistant starch, meaning that they are digested slowly by the body. Due to this, a person doesn’t feel the need to eat at short intervals.
Known by different names in different countries, parsley has inherent diuretic properties in itself. Drinking a glass of parsley juice after waking up in the morning has a significant effect on the urine released from the body.
Asparagus is one the quickest working diuretics as it takes only half an hour to work on the body. Asparagus contains a compound called Mercaptan which gives it the distinct smell it is known for and also increases the urine frequency. Asparagus has a very foul smell which is released into the air when you urinate. This foul smell is an indication that asparagus has diuretic properties.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
One of the side effects of prescribed diuretics is that they lower the amount of potassium in the body. Apple cider vinegar, apart from acting like a diuretic agent and clearing the body from excess water, helps in maintaining proper potassium level in the body.
- Nettle Leaves
Nettle leaves can be used in salads or in making tea. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and other compounds, Nettle leaves increase the frequency of urination in men at night and help organs like kidneys and liver in detoxification processes.
Just like watermelon, cucumber is naturally hydrating due to its high-water content. It is an excellent diuretic agent as it acts very quickly against excess water stored in the body. It is full of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes helping the body shed some stored water.
Celery has high-water content, almost zero calories, and is full of dietary fibres making it one of the best options in case of flushing water retained in the body. One can consume it in many different ways.
- Birch Water
Birch trees produce a sap in their stem called as Birch water. It can be taken just like normal water and is said to be a very profound diuretic agent because of its cleansing and detoxifying properties. It stimulates the liver and kidneys to work more efficiently against retained water and also stimulates the digestive system.
Ginger is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients. It can be consumed in many ways like adding it to tea, dressing salads with it, mixing it in soups or dinner or eating it directly. It helps in flushing out the toxins and excess fluid from the body.
Peaches are one of the best naturally found diuretic. Peaches have high sugar content also meaning that it maintains a proper balance between the amount of sugar and water released from the body. It is also a very good digestive aid and is known to stimulate bowel movements in case of constipation.
- Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts stimulate the pancreas and kidneys to work on the excess water and purify the body. They also have a plethora of benefits apart from being a natural diuretic. They improve digestive health, protect the heart, help fight cancer and alkalize the body. Brussels sprouts are rich in Vitamins B, C and K and beneficial minerals like potassium, folate, and manganese.
A cabbage soup might be the perfect remedy for losing water weight from the body quickly. Cabbages are full of water (green cabbage contains 93 percent water by weight) and have great diuretic benefits. Cabbages also help in fighting against cancer and heart diseases.
Beets are rich in potassium and aid the body in releasing sodium through urine which is the biggest reason for water retention in the body.
Side Effects of Diuretics
Diuretics are generally considered safe but just like any other medication, these can sometimes cause side effects too. If you experience some of the symptoms listed below after consuming diuretics, consult your doctor.
- Lower potassium levels in the body.
- Dizziness or a headache.
- Enlarged breasts in men.
- Changes in sexual function or menstrual period.
- Muscle Cramps.
- Low sodium level in the body.
- Ringing in ears.
- Rashes and itching.
- Loss of appetite and vomiting
Precautions of Taking Diuretics
- Diuretics should be taken in a controlled amount.
The most common mistake that people do is take an overdose of diuretics thinking that it will work in reducing weight quickly. This is especially seen in sports which require a certain weight limit like boxing. This can have severe side effects including excess urine. The person feels the need to urinate every now and then, making it hard to concentrate on whatever they are doing. Consult your doctor or health provider about the number of diuretics you can take in a day.
- Be conscious of your current health situation.
It is recommended to be cautious while using diuretics if you are suffering from severe liver or kidney disease, are in the third trimester of pregnancy, have an irregular heartbeat, are older than 65 years or are already taking drugs for cancer and other such diseases. Mixing the medications with diuretics can lead to complications and can render both the medications useless.
- Don’t forget to replace the lost fluids.
While on the medication of diuretics, a person tends to urinate a lot. Through this urine, it releases a lot of excess water as well as some important electrolytes and minerals like sodium and potassium. Replacing those lost electrolytes is very crucial for the electrolytic balance of the body. Loss of these important electrolytes can lead to severe life-threatening complications.
Myths and Facts
- Diuretics are completely safe.
It is a common misconception about diuretics because they are also called ‘Water Pills’. Diuretics or water pills are not completely safe even if you are using a prescribed drug from your own physician. The amount of diuretic to consume, the time to take it and the food products to take the drug with, matters a lot in the proper functioning of the drug.
- Weight loss from using diuretics is permanent.
The effects of taking diuretics are only temporary. While it does get rid of excess water and makes it look like you’ve lost weight, it doesn’t burn any calories or fat. This means that you’ve not actually lost weight; you’ve just shredded the extra water weight in your body. Diuretics and water pills are not a remedy for obesity or a quick way to get slim and toned abs.
- How many types of diuretics are there?
There are mainly seven types of diuretics which are differentiated according to their uses and effects on the body.
|High Ceiling/Loop Diuretic||Cause a substantial diuresis of up to 20% in comparison to the normal 0.4% of the filtered NaCl and Water. Inhibits the body’s ability to reabsorb sodium leading to excretion of more water in urine.|
|Thiazides||Diuretics like Hydrochlorothiazide act on the distal convoluted tubule retaining the water in the urine. Due to this, the person feels the need to urinate frequently.|
|Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors||These diuretics act on the carbonic anhydrase enzyme present in the body. These inhibitors decrease the amount of sodium absorbed and the bicarbonate accumulated in the urine.|
|Potassium-Sparing Diuretics||These diuretics constrain the secretion of potassium into the urine. Due to this, a large amount of potassium is retained in the body which would otherwise have been secreted.|
|Calcium-Sparing Diuretics||These diuretics inhibit the release of calcium from the body via urine. Due to this, the number of calcium increases in the serum proving beneficial for hypocalcemia or disastrous for hypercalcemia.|
|Osmotic Diuretics||These diuretics increase osmolality and blood flow to the kidneys. An example is Glucose, which can be easily found in the body, helps in maintaining osmotic pressure and increase water retention in urine.|
|Low-Ceiling Diuretics||This term is given to the diuretics which have a short-term effect on the body and display a flattening dose-effect curve, unlike high-ceiling diuretics.|
- Which type of diuretic is the most effective and why?
Loop diuretics, which are also known as High ceiling diuretics are considered the most effective diuretics. This is because loop diuretics are more effective in unloading water and sodium than any other diuretics.
- How long does a diuretic take to start working?
It depends upon the diuretic you are taking and the condition of the patient. In young adults, diuretics start showing their effect almost immediately whereas for older patients or people having a very low salt concentration in the body, diuretics may take anywhere between 48 hours to a week before working like they are supposed to.