New Reasons to Stay Hydrated

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hydrated
Courtesy of Derek Gavey (Flickr CC0

Health experts have been telling saying drinking water and staying hydrated is good for us for years. A recent study indicates that staying hydrated can lower the risk of chronic disease, early death, and faster aging.

The human body comprises about 60% water. Everyday life can cause the hydration of our body to dissipate, this is why it is important to stay hydrated. Experts have commonly suggested that people drink eight 8 ounces of water per day. Although it is not uncommon to hear you should drink a gallon to a gallon and a half of water per day.

Reasons to Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water can help people in many ways. For example:

  • Regulate your body temperature. Dehydration can make the body unable to dissipate heat. If the becomes too hot it begins to sweat. When the sweat evaporates from the skin’s surface it removes heat from the body.
  • Maximize physical performance. Lack of bodily fluids can cause a reduction in motivation — both mentally and physically.
  • Energy levels and brain function. Studies have shown that losing 1-3% of one’s body weight can impair many aspects of people’s brain function.  In another study, researchers discovered that young women who lost 1.4% during exercise experienced impaired concentration and mood. Young men who lost 1.6% fluid loss during exercise had issues with working memory. They also experienced feelings of fatigue and anxiety.
  • Prevent and treat headaches. Dehydration can prompt headaches and migraines in some people. Some studies indicate that drinking water can help alleviate headaches in those who experience them frequently. In one study involving 102 men, 47% showed that drinking an additional 1.5 liters (50.7 ounces) of water per day can significantly improve their Migraine-Specific Quality of Life scale, a scoring system for migraine symptoms.
  • Help relieve constipation. Many experts recommend increasing hydration as a way to help relieve constipation. Mineral water may be particularly beneficial for those suffering from constipation. Research has shown that mineral water rich in magnesium and sodium helps improve bowel movement frequency and consistency in people with constipation.
  • Treat kidney stones. Urinary stones are painful clumps of mineral crystals that form in the urinary system — most commonly in the kidneys. Increased hydration can help prevent the recurrence of kidney stones. Higher fluid intake increases the volume of urine that passes through the kidneys. This helps dilute the concentration of minerals in the system making it less likely for minerals to crystalize and form clumps.
  • Aid in weight loss. Increasing hydration can help people lose weight. This is due to the fact it can increase satiety and boost your metabolic rate. Increasing your metabolism can increase the number of calories you burn on a daily basis. Additionally, drinking a half hour before meals is the most effective.

Another Reason to Stay Hydrated

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Courtesy of Rachel (Flickr CC0

Staying hydrated can also help prevent hangovers. If people drink a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages and at least one big glass before bed they should be able to avoid a hangover.

Experts say that men should stay hydrated by drinking 3.7 liters (15.5 cups) of fluids a day. Furthermore, they say women should stay hydrated by drinking 2.7 fluids (11.5 cups) a day.

A study published today in eBioMedicine states that being hydrated is associated with a significantly lower risk of being biologically older than your chronological age, dying early, and developing chronic diseases.

In a news release, the study’s author Natalia Dmitrieva, a researcher in the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a division of NIH said, “The results suggest that proper hydration may slow down aging and prolong a disease-free life.”

The researchers believed that optimal hydration might slow down the aging process. Their hypothesis was based on a previous similar study conducted on mice. That study found that dehydrated mice had increased serum sodium of mice by 5 millimoles per liter. They also had shortened life spans — by six months (roughly 15 human years).

Hydration Study

Dmitrieva and her team used health data collected over 30 years from 11,255 Black and white adults from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study (ARIC). Researchers found that those who had serum sodium levels slightly higher than normal experienced worse health outcomes than those on the lower end of the range. The normal serum sodium levels are 135 to 146 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L).

Adults who had levels of 142 mEq/L or higher had a 10-15% higher chance of being biologically older than their chronological age compared with participants in the lower spectrum. Participants with higher faster-aging risk were also at a 64% higher risk for developing chronic diseases such as peripheral artery disease, stroke, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, diabetes, chronic lung disease, and dementia.

“On the global level, this can have a big impact,” stated DmItrieva. “Decreased body water content is the most common factor that increases serum sodium, which is why the results suggest that staying well hydrated may slow down the aging process and prevent or delay chronic disease.”

There are so many reasons to stay hydrated. Increasing fluids seems to be a cheap and easy way to stay healthy.

By Sheena Robertson

Sources:

CNN: Staying hydrated is linked to lower risk for disease, faster aging and early death, study finds
Healthline: 7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Enough Water
Meritage Medical Network: 10 Benefits of Drinking a Gallon of Water a Day
Western Kentucky University: The importance of hydration

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Derek Gavey‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Rachel‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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