The number one killer in America is heart disease. And, two huge health risks that can lead to serious heart conditions are high blood pressure and high cholesterol. But, these can be prevented.
Let’s start with high cholesterol. The American Heart Association says that one in five American’s have too high a cholesterol level. But first, just what is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance called a lipid that is found inside cells and blood. It is produced naturally in the liver, but some of the “bad” cholesterol comes from the food we eat, mainly in animal fats. While too much cholesterol can be harmful, a certain amount is necessary for bodily functions, such as making cell walls and acting as a building block to produce various hormones, bile acids, and Vitamin D.
cholesterol Having too much cholesterol can block blood flow, resulting in a thickening and hardening of artery walls, a disorder called arteriosclerosis. Since this also narrows the arteries, blood flow can be slowed down, or even blocked. With less blood, the heart therefore gets less oxygen. That can result in chest pain, heart attack, or something as drastic as death. Lowering your blood cholesterol level is one of the best ways you can decrease your risk of heart disease. And, even if your cholesterol is close to the desirable range, 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood, you can lower it and reduce your risk of heart disease.
With all this thickening going on, water can play a very important role. Drinking water can actually thin the blood, making in a natural way to help the blood pump more smoothly. When the body is dehydrated, the blood becomes acidic which can lead to a build-up in LDL levels of cholesterol. Drinking plenty of water will keep your blood ways clean and eliminate excess buildup of cholesterol waste from the body. Drinking plenty of water will keep your blood ways clean! Since exercise, along with a healthy diet, is an important contribution to the lowering of cholesterol, once again, water needs to be drank in order to replenish what was lost. In fact, consumption of water so you are fully hydrated can increase your metabolic rate!
Let’s move on to high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Blood pressure refers to the force of blood pushing against artery walls as it makes it way through the body. Just like air in a tire, blood fills arteries to a certain capacity, and anything over that capacity can have damaging effects. (Ever have too much pressure in your tires?) Just like high cholesterol, high blood pressure can threaten healthy arteries and lead to life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and stroke. And what’s scary is that there are not any real symptoms until, which is why high blood pressure is known as the silent killer.
Hypertension can be combated in many ways, such as quitting smoking, drinking alcohol or overweight. Water can also help lower this pressure, as blood is mainly comprised of water. Excessive salt consumption can adversely affect blood pressure, but luckily sodium can be flushed out of the body by drinking clean purified water daily. So, drinking a healthy amount of water each day can maintain a healthy heart but what happens if we don’t drink enough water? Dehydration will definitely affect your blood pressure adversely. Our kidneys clean our blood. When we are dehydrated and have high blood pressure, the blood flow to our kidneys is reduced which makes our bodies think they are low on water. They will thus react by telling the brain to constrict veins and arteries, which will make the blood pressure even higher.
The quality of the drinking water can also have an effect on our cholesterol levels. Animal studies have shown that chlorine in drinking water can raise levels of plasma cholesterol. This is something we must be aware of because most tap water in the US is chlorinated. Therefore, it is a good idea to install a quality water filtration system that can remove chlorine and other harmful chemicals from your drinking water.
Heart disease is a serious issue in America today, with two of the top causes being high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Drinking plenty of clean water can help combat both of these. Remember it is also never too late to improve your heart health with the help of regular exercise, balanced nutrition and a positive outlook on life. The human body is very resilient and if you treat yourself well, you will be surprised by your body’s own natural ability to heal itself and lower bad cholesterol. Here’s drinking to your health and achieving your goals. We know you can do it!