Sip Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life: How Hydration Impacts Longevity
Drinking enough water offers a lengthy list of health benefits from regulating body temperature to delivering oxygen to our bodies and more. Even more captivating, recent studies have shown a potential link between proper hydration and living a longer, better quality life.
Research collected by The National Institutes of Health found that people who adequately hydrate may experience less chronic disease and age at a slower rate. In this study, adults with desirable hydration levels experienced a longer lifespan with fewer health conditions and displayed fewer signs of aging compared to those with lower hydration levels. Specialists suggest that staying hydrated is closely connected to having well-balanced sodium levels, which in turn, may prevent or delay chronic disease.
In this article, we’ll dive into the health benefits associated with drinking water, how much water you should be drinking, and how water filtration fits into the conversation.
What are the health benefits of hydration?
There are numerous benefits to proper hydration. Adequate water intake supports various bodily functions, like regulating body temperature, aiding digestion, and promoting nutrient absorption. Hydration is also crucial for joint lubrication, skin health, and organ function. It boosts energy levels, enhances cognitive performance, and even aids in weight management by reducing feelings of hunger.
Optimal hydration also supports the immune system, helping the body fend off illnesses. Additionally, research shows that well-hydrated individuals experience improved kidney function as water helps eliminate waste from the body, along with better cardiovascular health by maintaining blood volume and circulation. The need for proper hydration only increases as we age, as our ability to retain water decreases, meaning older adults are more prone to dehydration. Overall, staying hydrated is a cornerstone of preventive health as we age, promoting overall well-being and supporting the body’s ability to function at its best.
How much water should I be drinking?
The amount of water you should drink daily depends on various factors, including your age, weight, activity level, and environment. As a general guideline, health authorities often recommend between 2.7 to 3.7 liters of water each day or about 11 to 15 cups. However, your hydration needs may vary. Things like exercise, hot weather, or certain health issues might mean you should drink more water. For example, if you engage in vigorous physical activity or live in a hot climate you may need to consume more water to offset fluid loss through sweat.
Recognizing signs of dehydration is critical, given many people, particularly older adults, don’t feel thirsty until they’re already dehydrated. Common dehydration indicators include increased thirst, dark yellow urine, and infrequent urination. If you experience fatigue, dizziness, or a persistent headache, it may also be a sign of dehydration. Dry skin, a dry mouth, or a feeling of dryness in the eyes can also suggest this. Additionally, a decrease in sweat production during physical activity or exposure to heat may signify insufficient fluid intake. Regularly assessing these signs and responding promptly by drinking water is essential to preventing chronic disease and promoting a long, healthy life.
Should I be filtering my drinking water?
It’s important to maximize not only the quantity of water you drink but also the quality. Not all water is created equal, and drinking healthier, filtered water is going to have the biggest impact on your longevity. After all, unfiltered tap water may be at risk of containing various contaminants, including PFAS, lead, microplastics, and more. The presence of these contaminants raises significant health concerns for people of all ages, underlining the importance of access to clean drinking water and the need for effective filtration systems in the home.
Filtering your tap water helps promote health and well-being by removing impurities, contaminants, and potentially harmful substances, ensuring that the water you consume is cleaner and safer. This process also makes water taste and smell better, which can encourage you to drink more and keep you healthier overall. While the percentage of Americans who filter their water has consistently grown, according to Aquasana’s Fifth Annual Water Quality Survey, Baby Boomers are the least likely age group to filter their water, yet one of the most susceptible to the potentially harmful effects of contaminants.
When it comes to choosing the right water filter for you and your home, there are a variety of factors to consider. Whole house water filters provide filtration at the entry point of your home’s water supply, ensuring cleaner water for all faucets and appliances. Though efficient and highly effective, it’s worth highlighting that these systems often come with a higher price tag and sometimes don’t tackle a large range of contaminants. Under sink filters are a mid-range priced option, filter water at the point of use, like the kitchen sink, and are capable of filtering out numerous harder-to-reduce contaminants like PFAS, VOCs, and more. Countertop filters are a portable and more cost-effective solution, allowing for convenient access to filtered water in kitchens or other areas of your home. When shopping for a water filter, make sure to review the products’ performance data sheets to confirm they reduce the contaminants you’re most worried about, and check for 3rd party testing and/or certifications for peace of mind that the products do what they claim.
As you kick off 2024, ensuring proper hydration and access to clean, safe drinking water should be at the top of your to-do list. Not only is staying hydrated integral for your daily function and well-being, but it may play a significant role in long-term health. If you already take supplements, eat organic, or take other steps to manage your health, filtering your water is a natural extension of those activities. Prioritizing healthy drinking habits establishes the groundwork for holistic well-being, paving the way for a healthier and more robust year ahead.