Water retention: Are there any natural diuretics?

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Water retention: Are there any natural diuretics?

Question

Can natural diuretics reduce water retention and help with weight loss?

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Answer

Some herbs and dietary supplements, such as dandelion, ginger and juniper, may have a diuretic effect that can help with water retention. But proceed with caution before you take anything.

First, water retention can be caused by a number of medical conditions and some medications. So it's important to talk to your doctor about possible causes of water retention before trying to treat it yourself. Second, some herbs and supplements can worsen medical problems you have or interact with medications you take.

In theory, natural diuretics may help relieve water retention by making you urinate more. But there is little if any scientific evidence of their diuretic effects, so you may not find them effective. And if you're aiming for long-term weight loss, natural diuretics probably won't help.

You may be able to better manage water retention — especially if it's related to menstruation — through some simple lifestyle changes, such as cutting back on sodium.

If you're hoping to lose water weight as part of a weight-loss goal, focus instead on eating a healthier diet and getting plenty of exercise and activity — not taking diuretics. And always let your doctor know about any dietary or herbal supplements you take.

Last Updated: 2011-10-11
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