Foods and drinks that naturally help your body get rid of excess water (and sometimes, salt)—and therefore cause you to pee more frequently—are often referred to as diuretic foods. Although diuretics commonly come in the form of water pills, there are both foods and activities considered to be natural diuretics.
“In general, any food that is high in water content will increase the volume of urine—think fruits, soups, smoothies, and any fluids that are consumed during the day,” says Elizabeth Kavaler, MD, urologist, uro-gynecologist, surgeon, and the medical director at Total Urology Care of NY. These are not necessarily diuretics; rather, they just make you pee more because they're filled with liquid. “An increase in overall volume will result in increased urine production.”
But that’s not the end of the story. In addition to anything with a high water content, foods and beverages that irritate the bladder will also make you urinate more frequently. “The categories of foods that increase bladder sensitivity are caffeine, spicy foods, citrus, and alcohol,” says Dr. Kavaler. “With the exception of caffeine, these are also not diuretic foods. Rather, they cause irritation to the bladder which makes you want to urinate more, but not because more urine is being produced by the kidneys.” Caffeine is the exception because it is both a diuretic and an irritant. Bladder irritants like caffeine and alcohol are, according to Dr. Kavaler, among the most common causes for frequent bathroom trips.
So, if liquidy foods and bladder irritants aren't necessarily considered diuretics by urologists, what is? Find the top diuretic foods according to Dr. Kavaler below.
Natural diuretic foods and drinks, according to a urologist
According to Dr. Kavaler, one of the most common natural diuretic foods include fruits, especially watery ones like watermelon, grapes, and blueberries. Lemons and pineapple can also have a diuretic effect on the body.
“Common vegetables that increase urine production are cucumbers, asparagus, beets, and celery," says Dr. Kavaler. Alliums—including onions and garlic—are also considered diuretic foods.
"Herbs like parsley, which move through the system quickly, can increase water output from your body,” Dr. Kavaler says. Dandelion and hibiscus are two other diuretics and are often consumed as herbal tea.
Soda will also make you pee more (like, a lot more). “Soda is bad news all around for your bladder,” says Dr. Kavaler. “It has caffeine, so it both irritates the bladder and acts as a diuretic. It also has lots of unhealthy chemicals and it’s high in oxalates, which are one of the agents in kidney stone formation.”
Finally, while it may seem obvious, if you’re looking to cut down on your bathroom trips, be mindful of your water consumption. “If consumed in large quantities—defined as more than the body needs at any given time—water will be eliminated as urine,” Dr. Kavaler says. You may also want to consider keeping a bladder journal if you find yourself peeing nonstop.
It’s also worth noting that while you might think that foods that increase urine production are healthier or better for the body, that’s actually not true. Like most things, moderation is the key. “Caffeine will make you urinate more, but that doesn't make it any more or less nutritious. You just have to be aware that if you drink it, you should have access to a bathroom.” Talk about words to live by!
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