The Surprising Link Between Water Intake and Stroke Risk: Drinking Water the Right Way to Ensure Optimal Health

The Surprising Link Between Water Intake and Stroke Risk: Drinking Water the Right Way to Ensure Optimal Health
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Kuo-Pin Wu

Water is more than a thirst-quencher; it also helps the body flush out toxins and aids in weight management. Recent research has even suggested that staying hydrated may be a key factor in longevity and anti-aging. On the other hand, not drinking enough water can lead to elevated serum sodium levels, increasing the risk of chronic conditions such as stroke, heart failure, and cognitive impairment.

What type of water is best for our health, and how can we ensure optimal hydration in our daily lives?

The human body is approximately 60 percent water. Nutrients from foods, such as vitamins and minerals, need to dissolve in water to circulate in the blood and reach various organs. Water also plays a role in improving the body’s metabolism and eliminating waste.

Dehydration and insufficient water intake can cause fatigue, anxiety, depression, poor concentration, restless sleep, and breathing difficulties. Moreover, dehydration can lead to the development of many diseases, including chronic inflammation, chronic pain, constipation, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Even obesity caused by overeating may be linked to dehydration. For some patients, the solution to their ailments may be as simple as increasing their water intake.

According to the latest research from the National Institutes of Health, staying hydrated to maintain normal serum sodium levels may be a key factor in promoting longevity and anti-aging. Conversely, elevated serum sodium levels may increase the risk of various chronic diseases.
In a study that tracked 11,255 people for 25 years and excluded participants with high serum sodium levels due to factors such as obesity and medication use, researchers found that even when serum sodium levels were within the normal range of 135 to 146 millimoles/liter (mmol/l), those with higher levels had an increased risk of being biologically older and developing chronic diseases at a younger age.
Serum sodium levels above 142 mmol/l are associated with a 64 percent increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes, and cognitive impairment.

Staying Hydrated Can Help Prevent Illnesses

In ancient China, there was a saying, “Food is better than medicine, but water is even better than food.” Water was regarded as the “king of medicines,” and almost all traditional Chinese medical texts placed water as the first remedy. For example, in the “Compendium of Materia Medica,” the first item listed was water. And the first chapter of a renowned dietary therapy book called “Recipe of Suixiju,” authored by the Qing dynasty physician Wang Shixiong, was also dedicated to water.
Li Shizhen, the renowned author of the “Compendium of Materia Medica,” placed great emphasis on the importance of water, calling it the source of many transformations. According to him, there are more than 40 types of water, including rainwater, dew, sweet dew, winter frost, and well water, each with unique healing effects. Water with different properties, such as warm, hot, cool, or cold, can be used to treat various illnesses.

4 Keys to Drinking Water 

Many people fail to drink enough water. This is largely because people tend to favor milk, fruit juice, and sugary beverages, which are different from water in terms of their effects on the body’s functions. They can’t effectively replace water and don’t provide adequate hydration. Additionally, some people choose to consume coffee, tea, or alcohol in place of water. However, these beverages are strong diuretics and may take away more water from the body and cause dehydration.
Drinking plain water is the best option for maintaining good health, and there are also certain considerations to keep in mind when it comes to drinking water for health purposes.

1. Water temperature

The temperature of the water should be around the same as body temperature. Drinking water that is too hot can harm the throat and even lead to oral cancer. On the other hand, water that is too cold can affect blood circulation.

2. Timing of water intake

It’s recommended to drink more water in the afternoon, between 3 and 5. During this period, the bladder meridian is active, and the body can efficiently use water to aid in metabolism and detoxification.

It’s also advisable to drink a glass of water two hours before going to bed. During the six to seven hours of sleep, the body does not replenish its water supply. Hydrating before sleep can prevent blood from thickening at night and in the morning, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Some people have the habit of drinking a large glass of water in the morning. However, this may not be suitable for those with spleen deficiency. If you wish to drink water on an empty stomach in the morning, it’s advisable to limit your intake to only 50 ml to nourish the body.

3. Boiling water

Traditional Chinese medicine advises against drinking unboiled water as it can make the body cold and increase the risk of illness.
Water boiled in different containers also has different tastes. Compared with water boiled in stainless steel, cast iron, and pottery kettles, water boiled in a ceramic kettle has a more pleasant taste, characterized by a warm and smooth texture.

4. Amount of water to drink

Not everyone has to strictly adhere to drinking eight glasses of water a day. The amount of water one should consume each day is influenced by various factors, such as climate, metabolic rate, gender, age, food intake, type of work, and physical condition. The general recommendation is to drink 6 to 10 cups of water (approximately 250 ml per cup) per day.
Patients who can’t urinate normally, such as those with heart or kidney disease or edema, must follow their doctor’s instructions and shouldn’t drink excessive amounts of water.

Natural Water Is Better Than Processed Water

In recent years, many brands of processed water have emerged on the market. These manufacturers claim that their products have gone through multiple purification processes and offer various medical benefits. This has made it difficult for consumers to decide which water to purchase. However, the reality is that purified water isn’t necessarily better than natural water.

For example, while alkaline ionized water can be beneficial to the human body, consuming it for a prolonged period may be detrimental to one’s health. This type of water is cool in nature, making it suitable for people who have a damp-heat constitution or excessive internal heat. However, people with a yang-deficiency or cool constitution may find that drinking alkaline water exacerbates their condition.

Reverse osmosis water, another popular kind, uses reverse osmosis to extract pure water and remove minerals. There is a common misconception that the body’s daily requirement for minerals and trace elements should come from food rather than drinking water. The truth is that drinking water actually provides the body with 20 percent of the necessary minerals and trace elements each day. When pure water enters the body, it can dissolve minerals and trace elements from the bones or other parts of the body, leading to a gradual depletion of these essential nutrients and causing symptoms of kidney qi (vital energy) deficiency.

When drinking these types of purified water, it’s important to consider whether they are truly beneficial to the body, rather than blindly trusting the claims made by marketers. As a general rule, any drinking water that isn’t in its natural state isn’t as helpful to human health in the long run.

In fact, drinking tap water at home is often the best choice for our health. Before consumption, you only need to go through two simple filtration processes: first, using activated carbon to remove odor and impurities, and second, filtering out toxic substances and bacteria. You can also simply let the water sit for a day in a large pitcher to let the chlorine evaporate.

Ultimately, it’s best to prioritize simplicity and naturalness when it comes to taking care of our bodies.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Epoch Health welcomes professional discussion and friendly debate. To submit an opinion piece, please follow these guidelines and submit through our form here.
Kuo-pin Wu is the superintendent of Taiwan Xinyitang Heart Clinic. In 2008, he started to study traditional Chinese medicine and obtained a bachelor’s degree from China Medical University in Taiwan.
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