If there is one perfect drink that people can think of when they are ill or sick, most will say water. Some will even tell you “You should drink eight glasses of water a day.” Now, the question is, “Do you need to keep drinking eight glasses of water a day if you have hypertension?”
No, you don’t have to.
American actress/health spokesperson Suzanne Somers once said that people should drink water for at least 8 glasses a day since 2-3 quarts of water is lost everyday due to bodily functions.
“You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day in order to stay regular, lose weight, and detoxify. Our bodies are mostly made of water, and yet we lose two to three quarts of it every day through perspiration and other bodily functions.”
Hypertension aside, what about scientific proof that 8 glasses of water a day is needed to stay healthy? Everyone has heard that advice. However, there is no evidence that it is absolutely applicable to everyone. In fact, this 8 glasses a day rule is not supported by the Institute of Medicine’s Report on Dietary Recommendations for water intake.
“While it might appear useful to estimate an average requirement for water, an estimated average requirement based on data is not possible.”
In addition, the 8 glasses guideline is erroneously interpreted. If you may ask where this guideline came from, the answer is from the National Research Council’s Food and Nutrition Board. In 1945, they recommended that individuals should drink 2.5 liters a day. And if we are going to read the next sentence that is apparently ignored, it says
“Most of this [water] quantity is contained in prepared foods.”
This last sentence that was not given attention to is what made the guideline wrongly understood as “8 glasses of water should be drunk each day”. It is clear though, that whatever “prepared foods” they mentioned, water is not the only option to be healthy.
What To Eat
A healthy, well-balanced diet includes foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The Mayo Clinic termed this as the DASH diet, which means Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet. Food groups that are included in the key element of this diet includes:
Fruits and vegetables
Whole grains and lean proteins
Non-fat dairy products
DASH diet was proven to be effective and can reduce blood pressure to acceptable levels.
What To Drink
Water doesn’t contain calories, sugars or sweeteners as well as caffeine that may increase the risk and actually cause a spike in blood pressure. It is found in juice, fruits, and vegetables. Aside from water, if you are thinking about other drinks that lower blood pressure, we’ve got a lot of option.
Strawberries and blueberry juices contain plant pigments called flavonoids that help the blood to flow easier by promoting the relaxation of the arterial muscle. Some flavonoids also prevent platelet aggregation or clumping of the platelets, which is believed to be a contributing factor in the development of hypertension.
A variety of herbal teas also contain flavonoids, these includes green tea and white tea that contains the highest amount of flavonoids. Drinking herbal teas can help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Vitamin-rich beetroot juice has shown to be effective in lowering the systolic blood pressure. Beets contain beneficial nutrients called ‘nitrates’. Once inside the body, the nitrates are converted to nitrites, which aids in increasing blood flow. Aside from nitrates, beets contain folate and potassium, both useful in controlling high blood pressure.
Try consuming some, or all (if you can), of the foods and drinks mentioned above and expect to notice a change in your blood pressure readings pretty soon. They are just better for your health!
Basu, A., Rhone, M., & Lyons, T. J. (2010). Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(3), 168–177. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00273.x
Caroll, A. (2015, August 24). No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day – The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2017, from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/25/upshot/no-you-do-not-have-to-drink-8-glasses-of-water-a-day.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fthe-new-health-care&action=click&contentCollection=upshot®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=6&pgtype=collection&_r=2
Coles, L. T., & Clifton, P. M. (2012). Effect of beetroot juice on lowering blood pressure in free-living, disease-free adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrition Journal, 11, 106. http://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-11-106
Famous Quotes at BrainyQuote. You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day in order to stay regular, lose weight, and detoxify. Our bodies are mostly made of water, and yet we lose two to three quarts of it every day through perspiration and other bodily functions. – Suzanne Somers – BrainyQuote. Retrieved from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/suzannesom674414.html
Food and Nutrition Board. “Recommended Dietary Allowances”, revised 1945. National Research Council, Circular Series, No. 122, 1945, p. 3–18.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, September 05). Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle Nutrition and healthy eating. Water: How much should you drink every day? – Mayo Clinic. Retrieved May 12, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256?pg=1
Popkin, B. M., D’Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, Hydration and Health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), 439–458. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x
Stetson, D. (2015, November 12). Myth of 8 Glasses of Water a Day. Retrieved May 12, 2017, from http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/Gyn/ObgynClinic/8GlassesWaterMyth.pdf
Tabassum, N., & Ahmad, F. (2011). Role of natural herbs in the treatment of hypertension. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 5(9), 30–40. http://doi.org/10.4103/0973-7847.79097
Valtin, H. Gorman, S. (2002). “Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 × 8”?. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 283 (5, R993-R1004). Retrieved from http://ajpregu.physiology.org/content/283/5/R993 DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00365.2002