Drinking high levels of water can significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, say researchers at Loma Linda University whose research was reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 155, No.9). This exciting study reveals that drinking high amounts of plain water is as important as exercise, diet, or not smoking in preventing coronary heart disease.
“Basically, not drinking enough water can be as harmful to your heart as smoking,” warns Jacqueline Chan, DrPH, principle investigator and lead author of the article. Dr. Chan and Synnove Knutsen, MD, PhD , second author, chair of epidemiology department, found that California Seventh-day Adventists 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 results from this study show that by drinking more plain water, healthy people—without any history of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes—reduced their risk of dying from a heart attack by half or more. This is as much or more than if they had adopted any other well-known preventive measure, including stopping smoking and lowering cholesterol levels, increasing exercise or maintaining ideal weight.
Because drinking more plain water is a simple lifestyle change that anybody can do, this simple practice has the potential of saving tens of thousands of lives each year with minimal cost. Neither total fluid intake, nor intake of other fluids combined showed this reduced risk. Instead, for women, high intake (5 or more glasses a day) of other fluids showed a greatly increased risk of coronary heart disease."People need to be made aware that there is a difference, at least for heart health, whether they get their fluids from plain water or from sodas," says Dr. Chan.