You might not believe this, but researchers are suggesting that water may hold the key to longevity. Well, not water, specifically, but hydration.
New research suggests that older adults who are properly hydrated may be healthier and live longer than their counterparts who aren’t, experiencing less incidence of conditions like heart and lung disease.
Is it possible that staying well-hydrated may slow down aging, prevent or delay the development of chronic disease, and promote a disease-free life?
Researchers tracked data over three decades on more than 11,200 adults who took part in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. Participants were seen over five visits – two in their 50s and the last between the ages of 70 and 90.
Their hydration was assessed by looking at salt levels in the blood. They also took info on systolic blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. People with high salt levels had 50 percent higher odds of being biologically older than their chronological age and 21 percent higher odds of dying early than those with low salt levels.
High salt levels were also linked with a 64 percent higher risk of developing heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation and artery disease, lung disease, diabetes, and dementia.
The best way to stay well-hydrated is to be aware of how much fluid you’re drinking during the day. On days without high-intensity exercise or being out in the hot sun, 2-3 liters is good for most people.
Worldwide estimates suggest that about half of the global population drinks fewer fluids than recommended, which could put long-term health at risk.
The body works hard to maintain a healthy fluid balance, including regulating sodium (salt) levels. Triggering thirst is one way the body tells you to drink. The others can be fatigue, brain fog, and even hunger.
Water isn’t the only thing that can hydrate you. Fruits, vegetables, and herbal teas can help you stay adequately hydrated.
One of the best ways to monitor hydration is with urine. If the color is light yellow to clear, you’re well hydrated. If it is darker, drink some water. You should also be going about six-eight times per day.
Hydration isn’t a magic bullet for anti-aging, but it can play a role in health longevity along with a healthy diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors.