Hydrochlorothiazide, or HCTZ, is a diuretic commonly known as a water pill. HCTZ prevents the body from retaining water, causing edema (swelling in the legs, ankles and feet), and helps keep the body from absorbing too much salt. It is commonly prescribed to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). People who have trouble urinating are cautioned against using this drug.
A number of foods are natural diuretics that can produce the same effect on the body as hydrochlorothiazide. Natural diuretic foods include asparagus, artichokes, juniper berries, melons, watercress and parsley. Coffee and tea also act as diuretics but contain high amounts of caffeine, which can cause some people to become jittery if consumed in large amounts.
A simple diuretic diet limits the intake of foods that are high in salt or sugar. The diet should consist of fruits and vegetables and at least eight glasses of water per day. Carbohydrates such as those found in breads and rice should be eaten in small amounts.
Ginger and dandelion have diuretic properties, along with juniper and fennel seed. These can be taken in a capsule form that contains the extracts of the herbs. Watermelons, beets, oats and cucumbers naturally increase the removal of fluids and toxins from the body. Apple cider has a cleansing effect and is highly recommended as a natural diuretic.
An important function of vitamin D is to normalize renin. Renin is an enzyme that is released by cells in the kidneys. Renin minimizes salt levels in the bloodstream to stabilize the balance of water and salt in the body. A vitamin D deficiency can cause an elevation in blood pressure. Taking supplements of vitamin D may be all that is needed to normalize blood pressure. The sun is the best source of vitamin D, but sun exposure is not advised for patients who take hydrochlorothiazide. A vitamin D supplement can help lower blood pressure and be used as a natural alternative to hydrochlorothiazide.
Chocolate? Yes...chocolate. Even a small amount (about one ounce) of high-quality dark chocolate can lower blood pressure a few points. It is high in calories and should only be consumed a few times a week to supplement other methods used for lowering blood pressure.
Celery should be consumed by eating four to six stalks daily or drinking an equivalent amount of celery juice. It is a very potent diuretic.
Grape seed extract relaxes the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure naturally.
Garlic can be taken in either supplement form or by consuming the equivalent of one clove daily.