A new study suggests we should drink more water, and less of everything else to help prevent a heart attack.
Researchers at Loma Linda University in California found that people who drank at least five glasses of water each day were less likely to die from a heart attack than those who drank two or fewer glasses per day.
But people who drank a lot of other fluids were more likely to die from heart attack than those who drank less, with high levels of non-water drinking in women associated with a more than twofold increased risk of death.
The results are based on lifestyle surveys sent out in 1976 to people living in California Seventh-day Adventist households. This analysis is based on responses from 8,280 men and 12,017 women, who were all aged 38 years or older in 1976.
The research team followed Seventh Day Adventists, 8,280 men and 12,017 women, for 6 years and noted their rates of coronary heart disease. They found that women who drank more than five 8-ounce glasses of water each day were 41% less likely to die from heart attack during the study period than those who drank two or fewer glasses daily. In high-water consuming men, that risk decreased by 54%.
When they looked at other fluids, including coffee, tea, juice, milk and alcohol, the risk was reversed, with heavy drinking women exhibiting a more than twofold higher risk of dying of heart attack. Heavy non-water drinking in men was associated with a 46% increase in the risk of heart attack death.
Researchers believe that when people drink water, it becomes absorbed in the blood, which decreases blood "thickness." This lowers the risk of developing a blood clot that could cause a heart attack. Other fluids can thicken the blood because in order to be digested, they need to contain the same concentration of particles as the blood. If upon digestion, the fluids need to be diluted, water gets pulled into the gut from the blood.
There are certain differences between Seventh Day Adventists and the population as a whole. All reported healthy diets and levels of exercise, with very few respondents saying they drink alcohol or smoke. Despite this, they found that water itself still seemed to protect people.
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