Can preventing heart failure be as simple as drinking more water? It would seem so! A new study from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (part of the National Institute of Health or N.I.H. in the U.S.) has shown that "maintaining good hydration can prevent or slow down the changes within the heart that lead to heart failure."
Heart health is a good reason to try to fit in those six glasses of water every day, but the study also found that many people struggle to reach even the lowest levels of daily fluid intake (1.6 litres of water). We spoke to holistic nutritionist and wellness expert Jennifer Hanway to explain more and give us her tips on making hydration easy.
What is this study all about?
Hydration status is measured by assessing an individual’s serum sodium level, and when someone isn't drinking enough water, the concentration of serum sodium in their blood increases.
The study found that higher serum sodium concentration levels in midlife were associated with both heart failure and left ventricular hypertrophy, which is linked to increased risk of congestive heart failure and irregular heart rhythms.
Why do we find it so difficult to drink enough during the day?
According to Jennifer, people lead busy lives and if you're sitting at a desk all day, it can be difficult to remember to get up and get that glass of water. Also, we drink increasing amounts of tea and coffee and other drinks, and while they can have some benefits, they don't replace the need to drink water. In addition, people often mistake thirst for hunger, so they'll reach for a snack first before hydrating.
With adequate hydration now showing even more health benefits than before, reaching your daily water goal is even more important. And hydration is more than just drinking endless glasses of water. For water to be absorbed by the body and used by our cells. electrolyte balance is essential. With many people deficient in essential nutrients and trace minerals, adding in a daily electrolyte like HALO can help replenish much needed nutrients that will keep you hydrated day in, day out.
What are your top tips for staying hydrated throughout the day?
1. Drink a large glass of water as soon as you wake up. Make it easy for yourself by placing it on your bedside table and not leaving your bedroom until you've finished it. Adding in electrolytes and trace minerals can also give you a morning energy boost by benefiting your adrenal health.
2. Coffee + Water. We wouldn’t dare to tell you to give up your morning coffee, but pair every caffeinated drink with a large glass of water. Do this with alcoholic drinks too as both caffeine and alcohol can be dehydrating to the body.
3. Hydrate your workout. Inadequate hydration can lead to poor performance in the gym or the sports field, so make sure you're adequately hydrated before, during and after your workout. HALO can help replace the trace minerals and electrolytes lost through sweating, so keep a HALO powder stick in your gym bag at all times to add to your water bottle whenever you're working out.
4. Eat water rich foods. Including water rich foods such as radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons and cauliflower to your meals can be a delicious way to add hydration to your day without evening thinking about it. Add some low sugar fruit such as berries or an apple to your breakfast, and serve lunch and dinner with a side salad to up your fibre, antioxidant and water consumption.
5. Smoothies are a great way to increase your hydration. Choose fruits and vegetables that are high in water content and lower in sugar such as cucumbers, celery, leafy greens, watermelon, strawberries and peaches.
6. Beat the mid-afternoon slump. That 3pm slump can often be attributed to dehydration, so before reaching for (another) cup of coffee or sugary snack, make sure you are adequately hydrated. It will boost both your energy and mental cognition without that dehydrating caffeine hit.
7. Carry a water bottle with you. It's much easier to stay hydrated if you get into the habit of carrying a water bottle around with you and by putting it on your desk, it'll act as a visual reminder to drink throughout the day. It'll also save you money as you will buy less drinks and it's better for the environment too!
8. Drink at regular times throughout the day. Some people find that setting a reminder to have a drink on their phone helps, but if not, set yourself simple rules like having a drink after every loo break or before every meal.