Some of the most common health ailments are related to the buildup of fluids within the body. This can lead to serious health issues such as congestive heart failure and even edema. While chemical diuretics known as water pills can be helpful in treating a number of conditions that cause excess fluids in the body, there are also a number of natural foods, herbs and plants that are natural diuretics. When these foods and herbs make up a fairly steady part of your diet, they can be important parts of a preventative medicinal routine.
The Importance of Taking Care of Your Kidneys and Urinary Tract
Urinary tract infections, or UTI’s, affect millions of people around the world. While there are a number of causes for these types of infections, not drinking enough water and retaining liquids in the body can lead to pretty serious UTI’s and/or kidney issues as well.
In the coastal region of tropical El Salvador where temperatures are routinely above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, close to 13% of the adult male population suffer from chronic kidney disease. Part of this epidemic is due to not staying hydrated during long working days under the sun.
While some urinary tract and kidney diseases can be cured relatively easily with antibiotics and other medications, repeated infections can lead to chronic issues such as the case with much of the Salvadoran population.
A fundamental part of holistic health care involves preventative medicine. Incorporating natural diuretics into your everyday diet is an essential practice that will help you avoid major health issues such as chronic kidney disease, urinary tract infections, heart problems and edema.
What is a Diuretic?
Chemical diuretics are medicines that force the body to get rid of extra water and sodium through the urine. These medicines are routinely used by hospitals to help people who are in critical need of getting rid of excess water and sodium in their bodies. They are generally divided into three different classes: loop diuretics, thiazide diuretics, and potassium sparing diuretics.
While hospitals may rely heavily on chemical diuretics for critical health conditions, these also can cause serious side effects such as nausea and vomiting, kidney stones, neural toxicity, and others. Obviously, chemical diuretics cannot be taken long term nor as a part of regular health routine.
Diuretics are commonly used in people who suffer from one or more of the following health conditions:
- high blood pressure
- congestive heart failure
- cirrhosis of the liver
- kidney dysfunction
- kidney stones
- edema (tissue swelling, such as in swollen legs and feet)
- polycystic ovary syndrome
Fortunately, there are a number of natural diuretics that are found in plants, foods, and herb that can help the body deal with the buildup of extra fluid in a natural way. These natural diuretics essentially help the body get rid of extra fluid by inducing the need to urinate more often.
By reducing the amount of salt and water that your kidney absorbs into the bloodstream, you will feel the need to urinate much more often. This removal of excess fluids will help to improve the functioning of tissues and organs through avoiding the “pooling” of these liquids throughout the body.
The Top Five Natural Diuretics
So what are the best natural diuretics and how can you incorporate these as a regular part of your diet? Below we list the top 5 diuretics and offer some ideas on how to incorporate these into your everyday diet.
Those little, pesky yellow flowers that pop up all over your yard might actually have some pretty important health value. Instead of spraying them with toxic pesticides, you might want to consider them as a valuable harvest.
Dandelion flower heads have been found to contain a compound that stimulates kidney activity thus increasing the frequency of urination. You can simply boil the flower heads into a tea and drink a cup of tea every morning. Additionally, the young leaves of the dandelion plant are also edible and can be added to pretty much any salad. If you are looking for other uses for dandelions and have a yard full of them, you might consider making your own dandelion wine. A glass of wine that is also a natural diuretic is pretty hard to beat.
Hibiscus is tropical flower. The bright, crimson flowers, once dried, make an excellent tea that can be drunk either hot or cold. It does have an extremely acidic taste; so many people prefer to sweeten it with honey or sugar.
Hibiscus flowers have been shown to be extremely high in natural acids like citric acid. It is also an essential source of Vitamin C. In Latin America, hibiscus tea has been traditionally used as a folk medicine to cure urinary tract infections and also to lower blood pressure. Recent studies have found that hibiscus tea has a number of unique health enhancing properties, and using it as a diuretic is only one of the many uses.
Unless you are a farmer, you might not have any idea what corn silk is. If you’ve ever eaten corn on the cob, the long, stringy hairs that surround the cob are corn silk. While this sub product of corn on the cob is usually tossed away together with the leaves, corn silk is actually an extremely beneficial natural medicine that is also a diuretic.
Corn silk works as a diuretic through increasing the rate of filtration in the kidney tubules. Furthermore, regular consumption of corn silk helps to reduce the absorption of sodium and chlorine ions into the blood. Corn silk is also a vital source of active phytochemicals that act as dehydrating agents which also help you get rid of excess fluids.
While eating corn silk might not sound too appetizing, corn silk tea actually has a pretty attractive taste. Instead of throwing away the corn silk next time you and your family eat corn on the cob, make a regenerative, diuretic tea to help improve your overall kidney health.
Another fantastic natural diuretic that many of us would never consider to be a food is stinging nettle. This nutrient packed plant is often considered to be a noxious weed. It has tiny hairs or fibers that stick up on the leaf that can cause severe burning or discomfort when touched with the bare hand. Once boiled, however, the stinging nettle plant is safe to touch an even eat.
The extremely high potassium content of stinging nettle along with the flavonoids that it contains are what give nettle its natural diuretic properties. Stinging nettle can either be eaten as a food (kind of liked boiled spinach) or boiled into a tea like the other natural diuretics mentioned above. Regular consumption of this plant is believed to help speed up the excretion of uric acid and urea which helps to improve overall kidney function.
If you want the benefits of a natural diuretic without having to shop for hard to find herbs, cucumbers are also considered to be potent natural diuretics. Because cucumbers have extraordinarily high water content, they help to get rid of accumulated deposits of waste material in the body. Additionally, cucumbers also have high amounts of silicon and sulfur which are known to be dehydrating agents and aid in the excretion of uric acid.
The best part of this natural diuretic is that pretty much everyone knows how to use cucumbers in the kitchen so you won’t have to think too hard about how to incorporate cucumbers into your everyday diet.
The Importance of Taking Care of Your Body with Natural Diuretics
Instead of waiting until excess fluids build up in your body and cause painful and harmful health effects, you can prevent a number of health problems through incorporating natural diuretics into your everyday diet. Replacing your morning cup of coffee with corn silk tea and your afternoon soda with cold hibiscus tea will be instrumental in helping you take better care of your body.