All life as we know it is entirely dependent upon water to survive. The human body is anywhere from 55 to 78 percent water (depending on body size, age and sex). Water is everywhere within us – from our cells, to our blood, to every single one of our organs and tissues, including the brain, the lungs and all our muscles. In fact, 99 percent of the molecules in the body are… yes, you guessed right… water!
Most people do not look at water as a nutrient but it actually is, the most important one. We can survive for a month or so without food, but only a few short days without water. Next to the air we breathe water is the most important element. Every life-giving and healing process that happens inside our body happens with water.
The body is always seeking balance, and chronic dehydration can lead to several side-affects, one of which is the increased chance of high blood pressure.
What is high blood pressure?
According to new statistics from the American Heart Association, an estimated 103 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure. That’s nearly half of all adults in the United States. Worldwide, high blood pressure affects nearly a third of the adult population and is the most common cause of cardiovascular disease-related deaths.
Blood pressure, or hypertension, depends on two factors – how hard your heart is pumping (cardiac output) and how easily plasma diffuses out of your capillaries (peripheral resistance). Studies have shown the majority of people with hypertension have normal cardiac output but increased peripheral resistance. It is thought that one of the likely causes of this is dehydration.
Hypertension is a significant disease. Even though it rarely has visible symptoms, the extra strain constantly put on your blood vessels and organs can increase your risk of suffering from a number of serious and sometimes fatal conditions, such as a stroke, heart attack or kidney disease.
How does dehydration affect blood pressure?
High blood pressure is common in people who are chronically dehydrated.
Dehydration affects blood pressure in two ways. First, your body attempts to secure its fluid supply by retaining sodium. Second, your body gradually and systematically close down some of its capillary beds. When some capillary beds shut down, it puts more pressure in the capillaries and arteries, elevating blood pressure.
Can drinking more water lower blood pressure?
Staying adequately hydrated is one of the simplest ways to lower your blood pressure naturally. If you drink enough fluids (not diuretics like coffee or alcohol), you’ll keep an adequate volume of blood in your body and therefore reduce your risk of hypertension.
Of course, there are other factors involved in high blood pressure. Proper nutrition, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco use or excessive alcohol consumption can also help.
Here are the Do’s and Don’ts for naturally lowering blood pressure with water:
- DO drink only purified water (click here if you are wondering which one is better – reverse-osmosis or distilled water).
- DO drink one-half of your body weight (pounds) in ounces of water daily. In other words, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should drink 70 ounces of water daily. On average, men should consume about 3 liters (13 cups) and women about 2.2 liters (9 cups) of water each day.
- DO wake up with Water: Sleeping utilizes energy and water stores and leaves us dehydrated in the morning. Begin your day with 16 oz of water or more to replenish used stores and for colon cleansing purposes. This will in turn enhance metabolism and help you burn fat.
- DO minimize caffeine & alcohol consumption. Also, eliminate consumption of soft and energy drinks. Diuretics further dehydrate the body and strip it of valuable mineral and alkaline buffering stores. This leads to chronic conditions and further tissue insult.
- DO increase your water intake in the following situations: hot or humid temperature, high altitude (above 8,200 feet), high exercise levels, illness or fever, diarrhea, vomiting, infections of the bladder or urinary tract, pregnancy/breast feeding, and increased consumption of coffee, tea, soda, alcohol and energy drinks.
- DO think water first. Whenever you are experiencing low energy and/or bodily symptoms, go to water first. Sprinkle a little pink salt in 16-24 oz of water and drink up. The minerals, alkalinity, & hydration will fuel, replenish & stabilize your cells.
- DO drink continuously. Do not wait until you feel thirsty! Drink at least 4 oz every 30 minutes during the day. Cut this off about 15 minutes before each meal and pick back up roughly 30-60 minutes after meals.
- DON’T overdo it. It will require some time to adapt to your new level of water intake and become fully hydrated. Drinking too much water can overwork your kidneys and digestive system. If you have congestive heart failure, kidney issues, or are taking diuretics and/or are on fluid restrictions, consult your physician before increasing your water intake.