The first question in any discussion of diuretics is, what are they?
Diuretics are substances that promote the excretion of water from the body. There are a number of diuretics and each one acts slightly differently. Categories include:
- Loop diuretics
- Thiazide diuretics
- Potassium Sparing diuretics
Loop diuretics inhibit sodium re-absorption and are calcium depleting.
Thiazide diuretics inhibit sodium and chloride re-absorption and are potassium depleting.
Potassium Sparing diuretics do not act directly on sodium transport but antagonize aldosterone, thereby preventing potassium depletion.
What are Diuretics Good For?
Diuretics are obviously used to treat water retention.
They are specifically used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). According to WebMD diuretics help rid the body of water and salt and thereby lower blood pressure.
Diuretics, especially Thiazide diuretics interact with many other drugs, natural remedies and food. For instance, when given Thiazide diuretics, many patients are warned to avoid garlic. We will see why below.
For those on Thiazide diuretics please consult your doctor before trying ANY natural treatment. For those that have been diagnosed with high blood pressure but not medicated as yet, and for those with low blood pressure, the following information is important.
There are a number of foods and herbs that are diuretics. The list includes:
- Goji Berries
In both onion and garlic, it is the breaking of the cell wall that causes the beneficial effects. The interaction between these two foods and pharmacological diuretics has been well documented. There is an increase in the effectiveness of the diuretic when combined with onion or garlic. This is why you need to check with your doctor to make sure that your dosage is correct if you are wanting to eat more of these foods.
Goji Berries I include with a very severe caution to those with low blood pressure as well as those on blood pressure medications. The reaction of each person to a natural remedy is different, but I will share my personal experience. For the record I have low blood pressure normally. Twice after eating 10 or less Goji berries I have felt my heart draining of blood and come very close to blacking out. Yes I actually felt my blood pressure plummet. This has happened twice in my life and both times was a result of consuming Goji berries. Please, if you find yourself feeling funny after eating these berries, stop. These berries can also cause excessive bleeding. Consult your doctor if you have any health concerns, prior to consuming Goji Berries. Remember, natural does not make it safe!
Coffee is a natural diuretic, however high caffeine can render its beneficial effects useless. It has also been shown that over consumption of coffee can cause potassium loss creating fatigue and muscle weakness. One of the actions of coffee in regard to diuresis is that it weakens the bladder muscles increasing the need to urinate.
Parsley is an awesome diuretic. It is the main ingredient in cleansing smoothies since it has high amounts of vitamin c. It aids digestion, has anti-tumour properties and effectively helps reduce blood pressure through its diuretic action. Cautions here include interaction with pharmacological diuretics and aggravation of existing kidney and gall bladder problems.
Diuretics are amazingly helpful, but remember, try not to dehydrate yourself.