Dehydrating foods: The most important questions and answers

Entwässernde Lebensmittel: Die wichtigsten Fragen und Antworten

Water is a big part of the human body because our body weight consists of about 60% water. (1) So one or the other person may wonder whether dehydration is helpful in weight loss and which foods have a dehydrating effect.

Aside from weight loss, there is also the problem of water retention. For this, dehydrating foods are useful to a certain extent. However, knowing which foods are dehydrating can be useful for everyone. You don't have to be an athlete or have water retention. Taking care of your body and doing something good for it is also important.

the essentials in brief

  • Basically, your body dehydrates itself, but if you want to contribute, there are several options. Make sure that your diet is balanced, that there are not too many carbohydrates and salty dishes.
  • A regulated water balance can work wonders. Getting the right amount of water in each day can sometimes be the magic bullet for dehydration. Herbs like fennel and hibiscus can also help you in teas.
  • However, also pay attention to how many electrolytes you consume. Increasing or decreasing your electrolyte intake, such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium, can also be key.

Dehydrating foods: what you should know

Basically, there are different ways you can dehydrate your body through food, drink, or even exercise. In the next section you will find out which ones are possible, what you should perhaps pay attention to and which other information is important.

What foods can I use to dehydrate my body?

Among other things, there are various types of fruit, vegetables and herbs with which the body can be drained, among other things. Below we have listed some foods that can have a dehydrating effect.

dehydrating foods sorts
Fruit bananas, avocados
Vegetables cucumber, garlic
Herbs Dandelion, parsley, nettle, fennel

However, since the table does not provide precise information about the respective types of food, we have listed some important information about bananas, garlic, parsley and dandelion for you here. We hope this gives you a better insight into these foods and their dehydrating properties.

Bananas are rich in potassium, among other things, and are therefore a good resource if your body needs more potassium. A potassium-rich diet is very important because, among other things, it can keep your blood pressure under control. Potassium also helps to dehydrate your body. So you can add a banana to your diet when you're dehydrating. (2)

Garlic has been used medicinally for centuries. Be it with the Egyptians or later with the ancient Greeks. Garlic was used as an all-purpose remedy back then. Be it in diets or to fight colds because it can strengthen your immune system. Garlic also has a draining effect, which is why it can still be used today for drainage. (3.4)

Parsley is one of the herbs used in folk medicine, among other things, to have a dehydrating effect on the body. This was tested in a study with rats. It turned out that the body secretes more water with parsley seeds in the drink compared to pure water. Thus, we can assume that parsley has dehydrating effects. However, more human studies should be done to explore the full effects of parsley. (5)

Another plant that has a draining effect is the common dandelion (lat. Taraxacum officinale). Like garlic, it has been used for various medicinal purposes for centuries. It is one of the herbs that have been used for various diseases. Be it for kidney or liver problems, heartburn or hepatitis. The properties of dandelion have therefore been studied for a long time in order to apply them to various medical problems. (6.7)

Among other things, the main focus is on its draining function, its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. Athletes or bodybuilders also use dietary supplements with dandelion, among other things. So, it is already being used among specific groups of people, but more studies are still needed.

In contrast to food, can types of tea also have a dehydrating effect?

Teas such as fennel and hibiscus can also have a draining effect. This is partly due to the herbs. Fennel is or has been used for more than 40 different types of diseases. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect and, among other things, fennel is said to help with problems in the digestive tract. It is also said to have dehydrating effects as well and goes along as one of the most commonly used herbs. (8th)

A specific type of hibiscus, the roselle, is said to have a draining and potassium-sparing effect. Which is why hibiscus tea can also have a draining effect.Why hibiscus tea can also have a draining effect.


Tea is a good alternative to water when it comes to staying hydrated. Due to its versatility, there is definitely a type of tea for everyone. (Image source: Miti/

Hibiscus tea can be drunk cold or warm and tastes similar to pomegranate. Among other things, the hibiscus is also said to have other health benefits, apart from its draining effect. So, drinking tea can also be used to relax, reduce stress and dehydrate your body. (10)

Is water retention in my body dangerous?

In principle, water retention or also known as edema is not dangerous. These are water deposits, usually on the legs or arms. They are rather harmless, as they can also occur in women, for example, during pregnancy, during their period or by standing for too long. However, there are also serious cases that do not go away on their own and become chronic. (11)

Do drinks such as coffee or water also help to drain the body?

While it may sound a bit strange, drinking water can help dehydrate your body, so staying well hydrated is beneficial. (12) Your body is always trying to maintain a healthy household. So if you find yourself drinking too little water, your body will counteract this by storing more water to prevent you from running out of water. (13.14)

There are also long-term benefits for your kidney and liver health from drinking water regularly. This can also lead to dehydration of the body. However, do not drink too much water. Achieving a balance is key here. Your body tells you when to drink. So if you're feeling thirsty, have a drink and increase your fluid intake when you're exercising or in a hotter environment.


You can also combine a cup of coffee in the morning with a glass of water. So you can start the day well hydrated and full of energy. (Image source: Drew Willson /

Coffee or caffeine in general also have dehydrating properties and can reduce your water weight. Drinking coffee also helps you dehydrate. It should be said, however, that even habitual consumers who consume caffeinated foods frequently will not become dehydrated. (15.16)

What foods should I avoid when dehydrating my body?

What you should generally pay attention to is eating less carbohydrates and paying attention to your sodium balance. Paying more attention to certain foods and not including others in the diet can be helpful in dehydrating or even detoxifying your body. Cutting out carbohydrates is very commonly used to lose water weight.

Carbohydrates are stored in the body as glycogen. These are stored, for example, in the muscles, but water is also stored at the same time.

For this reason, it can be concluded that water is also deposited when carbohydrates are consumed. So weight loss can occur when you switch to a low-carb diet because less water can be retained.

So one can theoretically conclude that the less carbohydrates are ingested, the less they become glycogen and store additional water. In addition, carbohydrates themselves increase insulin levels, which can cause salt to be retained in the body and the kidneys to reabsorb water. (17)

Paying attention to your salt levels in your body is also important. Salt plays a big part in how your body handles hydration. So when your body has too much or too little sodium in the body, there is a water imbalance, which can cause your body to retain too much fluid.


Finding the balance is the magic word when it comes to the right amount of salt. But be careful, because salt is also in some foods. (Image source: Jason Tuinstra /

Thus, too much salt, through ready-made meals, can cause your body to absorb and retain much more water. However, if you don't eat enough salt, the same can happen because salt also dehydrates your body. (18,19,20)

What else should I look out for when it comes to foods to dehydrate my body?

In addition to the information already mentioned, you could also pay attention to your electrolytes. In the table below we have listed some electrolytes.

electrolytes additional advance you should pay attention to
potassium an important electrolyte and mineral for the body, found in avocados, bananas and spinach
magnesium 60% is in our bones, the rest is in the muscles, blood and soft tissues and body fluids, in foods like dark chocolate, nuts and legumes (21)

These include, as already mentioned, sodium (salt), potassium and magnesium. They play a crucial role in your body, especially in regulating your water balance. If your electrolyte levels are too high or too low, it can cause you to retain more water. (22)

However, you should pay attention to how much water you are drinking and, depending on this, your intake of electrolytes. For example, if you drink a lot of water, you might need more electrolytes. However, if you take in too many electrolytes from (23,24,25"> dietary supplements or high-salt foods and don't drink enough water, the opposite can of course happen.

Potassium can help reduce water in the body. Potassium-rich foods help. Among other things, potassium reduces the salt level in the body and also stimulates urine production. (26)

Among other things, magnesium is also an important electrolyte . There have been many studies done on magnesium. These studies have shown that magnesium takes on at least 600 different properties in the human body. (27) Other studies have also shown that magnesium can not only reduce premenstrual symptoms but also your water weight. Thus, magnesium can also be useful during menstruation. (28.29)

Are there water tablets?

Another way to dehydrate your body is with the use of dehydration pills. They work by stimulating your kidneys to expel excess water and salt. So they give your kidneys the signals to work harder. However, they are mostly prescribed to people to reduce water retention or swelling. (30) However, you should consult your doctor before buying such pills.

Can I dehydrate my body with just food?

The answer to that is no. There are other ways, but the be-all and end-all is still reducing the amount of processed food. Furthermore, there should not be too much salt in your dishes and you should not salt them too much. It is also important to pay attention to your electrolytes and minerals. However, physical activity or exercise can also be helpful.

If you sit a lot because of your job, it's worth considering going for a walk in the evening. However, you can also buy a bar table or stretch your legs during the breaks. Exercise can also ensure that you sweat excess water from your body. You don't always have to work out your body with strength training or endurance training. (31) So you could dehydrate your body faster with a combination of exercise and diet.


In summary, you can dehydrate your body with the help of different foods. Whether it's de-stressing your everyday life, getting more exercise and getting more sleep, or down to electrolyte intake like potassium and magnesium and drinking more water and generally consuming different herbs and vegetables/fruits.

Ultimately, it is always beneficial to take care of your body and treat it well. That's why it certainly can't hurt to dehydrate the body every now and then. A well-running machine also needs to be oiled from time to time. So as long as you make sure to eat everything in a healthy balance, you're dehydrating in a healthy way.

(Image source: Daria Shevtsova / )

Individual proofs(31)

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