Alcoholic beverages have the most dehydrating effect. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks do make you urinate more, but overall, they’re hydrating because of their water content. Juices, sodas, and other sweet drinks also are hydrating. Water is usually a better choice for hydration because it doesn’t have extra calories.
That summer sangria might be refreshing, but it’s a natural diuretic. Alcohol causes cells to shrink, which squeezes extra water out, giving drinkers that urge to hit the restroom, and fast. All those trips to the loo deplete your body’s natural water stores, which is why you might wake up with a pounding headache the morning after a big night out, says Reinagel. And if you’re drinking outside on a hot summer day, there’s even more reason to up your H2O intake, she says. “You could get behind in the dehydration game, with the effects of alcohol and the more profound cause of dehydration: sweating.”
And although your adult beverage of choice is technically a liquid, unlike coffee and tea, the fluids in alcoholic drinks don’t compensate for their dehydrating effects, says Reinagel, especially if you’re having something particularly boozy, like a martini, she says.
A number of people have turned to higher-protein diets recently, says Reinagel. But whether they’re looking to up muscle mass or curb hunger, a little-known side effect of going protein-heavy is that you may become dehydrated, she says. The body has to use more water to flush out the naturally-occurring nitrogen in protein, which results in more trips to the bathroom, she says. It’s not that high-protein diets are too be avoided; just consider upping your fluid intake simultaneously, she says.
A number of herbs and supplements have long been used as folk remedies for bloating, thanks to their urine-increasing properties, including parsley, celery seed, dandelion and watercress.
In a 2002 study, researchers found that rats given a parsley seed extract drink excreted a greater volume of urine than when they drank plain water. And dandelion extract showed “promise” as a diuretic in humans according to a 2009 study.
Because of their ability to increase urine production, all of the above have been used medicinally to treat conditions like urinary tract infections, kidney stones and bloating, according to WebMD, both as foods and in supplement form.
While they may indeed help reduce water retention if you’re feeling bloated, if you’re not experiencing bloat you could run the risk of depleting your water stores, says Reinagel.
However, you’d really have to overdo it, says Mitzi Dulan, RD, CSSD. Even though “no one eats parsley in excess,” she says, “it’s important to look at the volume [you’re ingesting] and find out if there’s a toxic level and be aware of that,” especially when taking supplements that haven’t been studied extensively, she says.
Well-known for altering the odor of urine, asparagus likely also produces more of it, thanks to an amino acid called asparagine, which operates as a diuretic. It’s been thought to help UTIs and other painful urinary tract conditionsthere’s virtually no risk of becoming dehydrated from eating asparagus alone, since vegetables are naturally high in water. When you have a diet high in fruits and vegetables, you’re going to end up urinating more because those foods are high in water,That doesn’t mean you’re at risk.