Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in America. In 2014, approximately 611,105 Americans died due to heart disease. That’s almost 27,000 more people than those that died due to cancer, and almost 470,000 more people than the third leading cause of death, chronic lower respiratory disease. Despite these scary statistics, one study has shown that there may be some hope in the future of the fight against heart disease.
Drink More Water
According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who only drink less than two cups of a liquid other than water per day have a 147% higher risk of developing heart disease than women who drank at least five cups of water a day. It also found that males who drank five or more cups of water per day had a 46% chance of having fatal heart attack, while females had a 59% chance, compared to individuals who drank less than two cups of water per day.
These statistics may seem confusing, but the bottom line is that those who drank more water were at less of a risk of developing then those who did not drink enough. This was the first ever study conducted on the effects of water and heart disease, and researchers found that water intake showed the clearest and most consistent association with heart disease. They found that the association did not change regardless of diet and exercise.
How Does Water Help?
Since this was a purely observational study, there are still many questions that need to be answered in terms of water’s effect on heart health. The researchers who conducted the study believe that the answer may be in the way that water effects the blood’s viscosity. They hypothesize that when we are dehydrated our blood becomes thicker, leading to an increased risk of heart disease.
Water also helps reduce your risk of heart attack by keeping it functioning properly. When you are dehydrated, you heart has to struggle to pump blood through your body. Staying hydrated takes the pressure off of your heart and allows it to easily circulate the blood through your muscle and veins.
Aside from these direct ways water helps benefit your heart health, water helps just by improving your overall health in general. Here are some more ways water helps you:
- Maintaining bodily fluids (responsible for production of saliva, digestion of food, transportation of nutrients and maintaining body temperature)
- Helps with calorie control (can replace high-calorie drinks, reduces hunger)
- Gives energy to muscles (when muscle cells don’t have enough fluids they shrivel, leading to fatigue. This helps prevent heart disease by allowing you to exercise more easily)
- Keeps skin healthy (acts as a protective barrier and prevents fluid loss)
- Improves kidney health (kidneys need proper fluid intake to function properly)
- Maintains regular bowel function (prevents constipation and improves colon health)
How To Drink The Right Amount Of Water
Despite all of the beneficial effects of water, the average American drinks less than half of the recommended 8 cups of water per day. This does not only result in an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack, it also causes a variety of other serious health concerns such as low blood pressure, little to no urination, rapid heartbeat and many more. Here are some methods to make sure that you get the necessary amount of water throughout the day.
- Fill up a container that can hold exactly 8 cups of water and drink it throughout the day. This way you will know that you got the necessary amount of water if your container is empty by the end of the day.
- Add slices of lemons, limes or cucumbers to add a nice, refreshing flavor to your water
- Put post-it notes in your kitchen or by your sinks to remind you to drink water
- Place rubber bands around your water bottle or draw marks along it to measure how much water you are drinking throughout the day
- Eat foods that have high water content (Watermelon, tomatoes, grapes, grapefruit, raspberries, cucumber, cabbage etc.)
- Make sure to always have a glass of water with every meal
- Dilute other beverages with water or ice
Let us know if any of these methods work for you. If you have any methods that we didn’t think of, feel free to mention them in the comment section.