Diuretics are actually used to eliminate extra salt or fluid from the body. In fact, people who suffer high blood pressure, kidney issues, swollen tissues, and heart failure, often use diuretics as a treatment for these health conditions.
It is common knowledge that excess fluid in the body makes it difficult for the heart to function properly and can make breathing hard.
Prescription diuretics are usually called water pills, and their first job is to increase urination. However, it is important to remember that diuretics are not to be used for weight loss.
Here are some important facts to note about diuretics.
- Diuretics can influence the levels of some minerals present in the body.
- Diuretics can be drugs; however, there are certain foods and drinks that function as natural diuretics.
- Doctors can actually prescribe diuretic medication.
- There are several foods and drinks that act as diuretics.
Types of Diuretic Medications
Many people use diuretic medications that are prescribed by a doctor. However, some foods and drinks are considered natural diuretics as well.
Types of diuretic medications include thiazide diuretics, loop diuretics, and potassium-sparing diuretics.
They are helpful in lowering blood pressure and getting rid excess fluid, as they soothe the blood vessels. Chlorothiazide is an example of a thiazide diuretic that can be effective in preventing chronic heart failure.
Loop diuretics like furosemide are commonly used in patients with high blood pressure, pulmonary edema, heart failure, and kidney problems.
Potassium-sparing diuretics like amiloride, are not effective in lowering blood pressure, but they are helpful in preventing potassium loss. They are commonly referred to as weak diuretics, and they may be used along with thiazides or loop diuretics. Remember, they must not be used with potassium supplements.
Types of Natural diuretics
Some foods, drinks, and spices can act as natural diuretics.
Caffeine may have a mild, short-lived diuretic effect on the body. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks. People who regularly have drinks with caffeine can develop a tolerance to caffeine and may not notice any difference.
Theophylline, a compound found in tea, increases the diuretic effect of caffeine.
Ginger is popularly used in drinks and teas that claim to have detoxifying effects on the body. However, there are no strong human studies to prove their effects.
Nigella sativa, also called black seed, is an effective natural diuretic. Nigella sativa, black seed, black cumin, or black caraway, are actually natural diuretics that may be as effective as a popular prescription diuretic.
Nigella sativa increases urine output and in turn, lowers sodium and potassium levels. The seed contains a potent peppery flavor and is used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Nigella sativa is being studied as a potential treatment for high blood pressure. However, high doses of Nigella sativa may result in liver damage.
Alcohol is a popular diuretic that functions by increasing urine output. However, alcohol has many negative health effects and should always be consumed in moderation.
The Hibiscus sabdariffa plant works as a natural diuretic and also prevents the body from eliminating potassium.
Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as roselle or red sorrel, is often used as a medicinal supplement or tea. Hibiscus tea is made by steeping the dried petals of the hibiscus flower in hot water.
Dandelion is a common wildflower found in several parts of the Northern hemisphere.
For so many years, parsley has been used as a home remedy diuretic.
Parsley is also a popular herb used in cooking. Whether fresh or dried, parsley pairs well with Italian cuisine, fish, or chicken.
The Uses of Diuretics
- Swelling resulting from by excess fluid in the body’s tissues is known as edema. Mild edema often subsides without any treatment; however, some cases of edema require treatment with diuretics.
- Fluid retention can be as a result of several medical conditions and some drugs. People considering the use diuretics to eliminate excess fluid in the body should first talk about the potential causes of fluid retention with a doctor.
- Diuretics can be effective for treating kidney disease, especially in cases where the kidneys are unable to filter potassium. Diuretics can lead to an accumulation that causes chronic health issues.
- Diuretics can also help disturb the body’s levels of other essential minerals such as magnesium.
Sodium, potassium, and magnesium levels must be checked frequently when using diuretics. Kidney function and blood pressure also need regular testing regularly.
Side Effects and Precautions
- The side effects of prescription diuretics can include skin rash, kidney problems, tiredness, thirst, weakness, dehydration, dizziness, gout, frequent urination, liver issues, and muscle cramps.
- There is also the risk of fetal or neonatal toxicity and preterm birth if used during pregnancy.
- It is important to only use diuretics if you have a health condition that results in water retention.
- Using natural foods like parsley or ginger as a spice or tea in food is safe. However, supplements are currently not regulated and it is difficult to determine if diuretics contain what they claim.
- Long-term use of diuretics can cause mineral deficiencies. As a result, mineral levels should be closely monitored while taking diuretics.
- When used for too long, diuretics can result in mineral deficiencies. Due to this, mineral levels should be monitored closely while taking diuretics.
- Natural diuretics may not be effective in reducing high blood pressure or treating other problems that diuretic drugs may be used for. It is best to try out medications for this.
- There are certain diuretics that can result in low levels of potassium in the blood. Some symptoms of low potassium levels include constipation, tiredness, muscle cramps, heart palpitations, and weakness.
- It is important to remember that diuretics are not effective for losing weight. People looking to lose weight should adhere to a healthy, balanced diet and try to exercise regularly.
You should consult a doctor before increasing the use of natural diuretics. In fact, before using any kind of diuretic, speak to a health professional first.