We all know that water is good for you. It can help you feel fuller, it's a good replacement for sugary drinks like soda or juice, improves the look of your skin- the list is long. But did you know that drinking water might also help reduce your risk of a heart attack?
Recently, our experts found a study about how drinking water can benefit your heart- maybe as much as diet and exercise. The study ,(published in 2002) in the American Journal of Medical Epidemiology found that participants "who drink five or more glasses of plain water a day have a much lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease compared to those who drink less than two glasses per day."
The risk factors associated with coronary heart disease (like blood viscosity) appear to be elevated by dehydration. Study participants were generally healthy (without a history of heart disease, stroke or diabetes) and reduced their risk of dying of a heart attack by half or more. This appears to be more effective than many other preventative measures like weight loss or exercise.
The benefits were not the same if participants drank 5 or more glasses of other fluids each day. It appears that the reduced risk came with people who drank plain water. So don't think that drinking 5 Mountain Dews each day will reduce your risk of a heart attack.
I'm not aware of any follow-up studies to validate or disprove these results. But even so, drinking 5 glasses of water per day is an easy habit for most people to develop. And who knows what other health benefits you might get from making sure you stay well-hydrated throughout the day!
Are you surprised that the amount of water you drink could have more of an effect on your risk of heart attack than diet or exercise?