When it comes to overall healthy living, proper hydration is key. Whether it’s dehydration prevention, focus and clarity, tissue and joint protection or flushing out toxins, the short-term benefits of hydration are numerous.
Recent research, however, has found that hydration not only provides short-term benefits to healthy living but also significant long-term benefits. While these findings do not mean that optimal hydration alone will lead to the following health benefits below, these studies reinforce the reasons why you should make an effort to stay hydrated for both the short and long-term.
Long-term health benefits
Below is a list of a few benefits that we’ve compiled that are associated with proper hydration, according to recent research and studies.
One study found, according to Natalia Dmitrieva, PhD, that “proper hydration may slow down aging and prolong a disease-free life.” Those with higher levels of dehydration were more likely to show signs of faster biological aging based on metabolic and cardiovascular health, lung function and inflammation.
Insufficient water intake has a high correlation with high sodium levels. Researchers found that participants with high serum sodium levels (more than 142 mEq/L) had up to a 50% increased risk of being older than their chronological age.
Reduce chronic disease risk
The correlation between hydration and prevention of chronic diseases includes stroke, diabetes and dementia.
A 2022 study found that proper hydration can slow down or even prevent changes in the heart that often lead to heart failure. High sodium levels are a known precursor to heart failure, and a study found that participants who were adequately hydrated had lower levels of sodium in their system 25 years later.
Adequate hydration is also linked to lower risk of high blood sugar, type 2 diabetes and fatal coronary heart disease.
Keep cardiovascular system healthy
When the body is dehydrated, blood becomes more concentrated leading to an imbalance of electrolyte minerals. These electrolytes are necessary for proper muscle and heart function, therefore, proper hydration contributes to overall cardiovascular health.
Hydration can also prevent high blood pressure. Dehydration makes your blood thicker and constricts the walls of blood vessels, which in turn strains the heart and can possibly lead to high blood pressure. Additionally, the heart is forced to work harder to pump blood, causing your heart to beat faster and create irregular heartbeats or heart palpitations.
How much water should you drink?
Now that you know the long-term benefits of hydration, how much water should you intake on a daily basis? According to the CDC, there is no single recommendation for everyone. It depends on factors like your diet, activity level, age and environment.
In general, it is determined that an adequate daily intake is 15.5 cups of fluid for men and 11.5 cups for women (which includes all beverage and food intake). Additionally, a new study has found and recommends that as you get older, you should increase your water intake.
How do you determine if you're dehydrated? Here are some signs to look for:
- Dry skin
- Muscle cramps
- Low blood pressure
- Lightheadedness and confusion
Proper hydration is a key factor to overall healthy living. No matter what your specific Health Goal is, hydration has been found to significantly contribute to multiple areas of wellbeing.
At healf, we recognize that getting the recommended daily intake of 15.5 or 11.5 cups of fluid might seem a bit intimidating. As a result, below are a few products we recommend to help you reach your proper hydration and health goal.
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