The Link Between Good Hydration and Longevity
Drinking water has its perks. It keeps you hydrated, helps to maintain a regulated body temperature and can aid in healthy digestion. But according to a new study, the level of water you consume may directly impact how quickly you age and your overall longevity.
Proper hydration levels could be associated with a lower risk of developing chronic diseases or bearing the physical signs of ageing. While further research needs to be conducted to learn the true extent of water's benefits, increasing your natural alkaline water intake will help you reap the rewards sooner rather than later.
Hydrating Keeps You Healthy
Some professionals believe that those who stay well hydrated are more likely to have other habits like staying active, making healthy food choices and getting enough sleep, ultimately maintaining a high level of physical health. By doing so, they support healthy ageing and help prevent chronic illnesses that can lead to premature death.
But your hydration level can affect more than just your level of thirst. For example, water has been proven to keep your joints properly lubricated. This allows you to move more without pain, making exercising easier and discouraging a sedentary lifestyle, habits that lead to excellent heart health and better physical well-being.
Furthermore, dehydration can cause increased blood pressure. It can lead to an imbalance of hormones, minerals and vitamins within the body, which can contribute to organ damage or chronic disease by interrupting necessary body processes.
Chronic Illness & Ageing
A study by the National Institutes of Health, or the NIH, followed 15,700 people in the United States for roughly 25 years. Data was collected at several points throughout their life, including when participants were in their 50s and between the ages of 70 and 90.
Sodium levels in their blood were measured to determine their levels of hydration and the resulting consequences to their health at the time of data collection. While most participants had levels falling in the average range, the study showed that people with levels higher than average were 21% more likely to have an increased risk of dying younger compared to their better-hydrated counterparts.
Researchers also found that people with increased sodium serum levels had a 39% higher risk of developing chronic illnesses like dementia, lung disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and heart failure. Additionally, it is believed that dehydration causes the secretion of hormones that can negatively affect the kidneys and other tissues in the body, gradually breaking down their intended functions and accelerating the ageing process.
Finally, adequate water intake has been strongly linked to increased stimulation of blood flow, which helps your body remove toxins and keep the skin properly hydrated, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, dark under eyes, and age lines.
Daily Water Intake Recommendation
The basic guideline for water intake has always been to drink eight glasses of water a day. But the truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation, as outside factors like age, sex, lifestyle, physical needs, activity level, and temperature can heavily influence your daily requirement.
If you are very active, live in a hot climate or carry excess weight, you must compensate for this when drinking water. Additionally, the other foods and liquids you consume throughout the day can either increase or deplete your body of water; further considerations that need to be made.
Drinking more than three litres of water daily is only necessary if you have been exercising heavily or had prolonged heat exposure. However, if you feel like no amount of water is enough, this could indicate undiagnosed health issues that will require clinical intervention.
Signs of Dehydration
Dehydration is potentially life-threatening, and understanding the warning signs is incredibly important for your health and safety. The most common symptoms to look out for are: feeling thirsty, not sweating when it is hot outside, needing the bathroom less than usual, dry mouth, dark-coloured and strong-smelling urine and feeling tired, dizzy or lightheaded.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, do not overload your body with large amounts of water in a short period. Instead, slowly sip water until your body starts to feel normal again, and be aware of how much you drink daily to maintain proper levels.
Take It with a Grain of Salt
Like most medical research, there is always room for speculation and opportunity for uncertainty to grow. While the study conducted by the NIH has stated that sodium levels indicated one’s level of hydration and therefore staying hydrated may slow down ageing and prevent or delay the development of chronic diseases, some experts see a flaw in the data collected.
They do not believe the results of the study show casual effect, the ability to prove, with certainty, that optimal hydration prevents severe disease or improves longevity. Because participants were not restricted with their fluid intake or hydration levels during the study, there are many factors than can influence the data when sodium levels were measured. These factors would significantly differ from person to person.
While the study poses many valuable points of interest and produces information that may lead to healthier and longer lives, people should consider the study's limitations and not jump to conclusions about their own lifestyles without further research being conducted.