3 Reasons Hydration is Key to a Healthy Heart February 14 2015, 1 Comment

February 14th may be Valentine’s Day, but, did you know the whole month of February is American Heart Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness of America's No. 1 killer of both men and women, cardiovascular disease? This disease, including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, is responsible for a staggering one out of every three deaths and is more deadly than all types of cancer combined.

According to the American Heart Foundation, healthy lifestyle habits like, not smoking, being physically active, and eating healthy, are critical factors in the prevention of all cardiovascular diseases. But there's one healthy habit that is frequently overlooked: staying hydrated. Here are three reasons why hydration is key to a healthy heart.

1. Staying hydrated helps your heart do its job.

Your heart beats around 100,000 times a day. That's a lot of work. When you're dehydrated, your blood volume lowers and forces your heart to beat faster and harder to get enough oxygen to your brain, muscles, and all other tissues.

2. Staying hydrated helps control your blood pressure.

Excessive sodium consumption and decreased fluid intake can negatively affect blood pressure. When your body has the proper amount of water, it helps flush out excess sodium while keeping your blood pressure at healthy levels.

3. Staying hydrated reduces your risk of heart disease.

A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that drinking five or more glasses of water a day reduced the risk of coronary heart disease in men by 46% and 59% in women. That's pretty impressive!

So how can you tell if you're well hydrated? One way of knowing is checking the color of your urine. The lighter, the better. If your urine is dark yellow, you need to drink more water! And how much should you drink each day? That depends on your body weight. The typical rule is to divide your weight by 2. The number you get is how many ounces of water you should aim to drink every day (e.g. if you weigh 160 lbs., drink 80 oz. of water). And always remember - a hydrated heart is a healthy heart!