An inadequate amount of water has previously been linked with constipation, kidney stones, overeating, and dry eyes, mouth and skin. And now, perhaps more significantly it has been linked to coronary heart disease.
Researchers at Loma Linda University found that drinking high levels of water can significantly reduce the risk of our number one killer. Indeed, they show that drinking an adequate amount of plain water is as important as exercise, diet, and not smoking in preventing heart complications.
The researchers presented a study which indicates that whole-blood viscosity (thickness), hematocrit, and fibrinogen—which are considered independent risk factors for coronary heart disease—can be elevated by dehydration.
Water is absorbed immediately, thus hydrating the entire system. This has a blood thinning effect which reduces the risk of blood clots, the main cause of heart attacks. Coffee,
soda, milk, and other beverages did not show any statistically significant heart benefits. The effect of the high
energy drinks is that initially they actually draw water from
the blood, because they cannot be digested until their
concentration is reduced to be similar to that of blood. This
causes a temporary increase in blood viscosity, hence increasing the risk of blood clots.
Jacqueline Chan, Dr. P.H., the principle investigator and lead author of the study, notes that they adjusted the figures to account for other risk factors in heart disease, such as
age, smoking, calorie intake, exercise, blood pressure, and socio-economic status. "When we tested to see if these protective effects from water might really have come from some other factor, we tested more than 11 risk factors, but the benefit of water remained."
(Other risk factors for coronary heart disease include meat-eating, and a daily dietary regimen that does not feature an adequate amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.)
The researchers continue to point out that by drinking more plain water, healthy people-without a history of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes-reduced their risk of dying from a heart attack by half or more. This is equal to adopting any