What Are Some Natural Diuretics?
By Nadine Ali, eHow Contributor
Diuretics are foods or drugs that help eliminate water retention by increasing urination. They are often prescribed to help ease bloating during PMS and in the treatment of kidney, liver and heart conditions as well as for weight loss. Natural diuretics in the form of fruits, vegetables and herbs are safer and preferable to synthetic products.
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Foods
Some diuretic fruits and vegetables are cranberries, beets, celery, parsley, cucumbers, asparagus, artichokes, cabbage and melons.
Herbs
Parsley is the most common and effective herbal diuretic, along with green tea, fennel, dandelion, nettle and horsetail.
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Caffeine
Caffeine has long been considered an effective diuretic, but it can cause dehydration, one reason that caffeinated beverages such as coffee are not included in the recommended daily fluid intake. However, once a tolerance to caffeine is developed its diuretic effect is diminished.
Use
Diuretics such as celery and cucumbers are more effective when juiced and consumed raw, while cabbage and asparagus can be steamed or boiled. Herbs should be prepared according to the instructions on the packaging, but they are generally steeped for a few minutes in very hot or boiling water; eating or drinking diuretic foods and herbs hot or cold does not increase or diminish their effect, but they should be consumed within 24 hours of preparation to get the full benefit.
Dieting
People often try diuretic products prior to or during a diet to help eliminate any excess water weight or prevent water retention. However, any weight loss achieved while using a diuretic may only be temporary and could be regained once the diet or diuretic is discontinued.
Causes of Water Retention
It's possible to prevent or minimize the need to use a diuretic by monitoring the avoidable causes of water retention, such as MSG, salt, sugar and alcohol intake. Other causes of water retention are sunburns, inactivity, PMS, nutritional deficiency and hot weather. More serious causes of water retention include heart, kidney and thyroid conditions. Oddly enough, lack of water can also be a cause of water retention, so increasing your water intake will help flush out the water trapped in body tissue.
Caution
Di uretics should not be used for extended periods of time without medical supervision as they could cause potassium deficiency and dehydration.