If you're trying to lose weight fast, you might be tempted to try diuretics, or "water pills." This class of medication works by encouraging the kidneys to make more urine, a process which rids the body of excess water and salt. However, while there are valid medical reasons to take diuretics, losing weight is pretty much never one of them.

Diuretics are sometimes prescribed for high blood pressure, in which case they are necessary to reduce the amount of fluid in the blood, or to treat edema, which is swelling caused by excess fluid retention.

Diuretics are also sometimes used to treat severe period-related bloating, but you'd need to talk to your doctor or gynecologist about it rather than self-prescribing.

Taking an over the counter diuretic may indeed help you shed some quick water weight, but it won't be the kind of lasting weight change that will alter your health or your appearance long term, yet it could definitely have some unpleasant consequences.

The most common adverse effect of diuretics is dehydration, which can quickly lead to other nasty symptoms like lightheadedness, fatigue, dizziness, low blood pressure, constipation, and muscle cramps. Men who are misusing diuretics may also experience erectile dysfunction.


Diuretics can also cause imbalances in other electrolytes, especially if someone is also not getting adequate nutrition from food and fluids because they're so dead-set on losing weight.

Though if you are prescribed a diuretic, your physician will be able to monitor you for dehydration, interactions with other medications, and other adverse effects, you will not get this benefit with over the counter pills.

Even more frightening, not all commercially available diuretics are regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), so you may not even know exactly what's in those pills.

If you regularly take diuretics for weight loss, your kidneys may also start to produce extra anti-diuretic hormone to compensate, which could make you retain even more water than before!

However, natural diuretics, which will help increase your urine output in much milder ways, should be a-OK, and might even be good for you. Increasing the frequency of your urination can lower your risk of urinary tract infections, and can also help keep your blood pressure in check!

Unlike medications, natural diuretics are pretty difficult to consume in quantities that would pose a significant health risk, and they tend to provide a lot of non urine-related health benefits. Enjoy this list of ten healthy diuretics to get you started!

1.. Asparagus


Asparagus has long been used as a diuretic in traditional medicine, and science eventually found that this effect is due to its high concetration of the the amino acid asparagine. Before you head to the bathroom, beware that the aspargusic acid in asparagus may also make your urine smell!

2. Cabbage


There's a reason cabbage cleanses were once in vogue! Yummy, crunchy, cabbage happens to contain a ton of fiber and potassium, which can both work to help flush excess water of your system.

3. Celery


Celery was pegged as a diuretic by the famous Greek physician Hippocrates in the third century BC, and now there's plenty of science to back it up. Celery contains compounds called phthalides, which have been found to have diuretic properties. Phthalides can also help relax your blood vessels, an effect that could kick in after you eat as few as four stalks!

4.  Coffee


Along with giving you a substantial mood and brain boost, helping you control your blood sugar, and lowering your risk of heart disease, coffee also has a natural diuretic effect. Sounds like a pretty good bet to us!

5. Tea


A variety of herbal teas are well-known for their diuretic properties, including hibiscus, dandelion, parsley, hawthorn, horstail, juniper, and ginger teas. Since caffeine is responsible for coffee's diuretic properties, basically any caffeine-containing tea may also do the trick, and green tea will also nab you some important antioxidants while you're at it.

6. Black Cumin


This pepper-like spice, formally called nigella sativa, was found in a recent study to have diuretic and kidney-protective effects on rat. Cumin is also used as an aphrodisiac and to treat digestive symptoms, and it could speed up your weight loss as well!

7. Garlic


Who knew garlic was as good for warding off water weight as it is for warding off vampires? Garlic contains a sulfur compound called allicin, which has proven diuretic properties. Garlic has also been associated with increased fat-burning, so eat it up. For everyone around you's sake, just remember to brush your teeth afterwards!

8. Apple Cider Vinegar


When used moderately, apple cider vinegar can lower your blood sugar levels and boost your fat-burning ability. It can also reduce bloating and help fight water retention as a diuretic!

9. Onions


There'll be far less water weight to cry about once you add onions to your diet! Like garlic, onions are also an allicin-containing vegetable, meaning that it has similar diuretic properties. If you can handle the flavor, try enjoying them together for double punch!

10. Alcohol


We saved this one for last, since, unlike all of the above options, alcohol is not a part of the 123Diet, and it can have disastrous consequences if used unwisely. However, it may at some point behoove you to know that alcohol can act as a diuretic by inhiting the anti-diuretic hormone vasopresin.

That's right: a night on the town could actually contribute to you looking a little slimmer in the morning. Note that this tactic will only work if you stay adequately hydrated and if you choose drinks that are low in sugar and calories.


Finally, though it is not technically a diuretic, exercising may help you shed excess water weight through sweat loss, and hitting the sauna may work for the same reason. Additionally, even being less sedentary without sweating too much can help by improving your circulation.

Getting enough sleep also helps your body control hydration levels, and since stress hormone cortisol is also known to increase levels of antidiuretic hormone, relaxing a little may do you some good as well!

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