Are you heartbroken this Valentine’s Day? Even if you are happily married or in a satisfying relationship with someone, you may still be at the losing end where your heart is concerned. Your lifestyle, without your knowing, may be leading you toward health risks that can cause life threatening heart conditions.

Heart related diseases are considered as among the leading causes of death around the world. Two known health risks that can lead to serious heart conditions are high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

The good news is both can be prevented. And believe it or not, this can be done through a glass of water.

According to the Daily Nutritional Guide Pyramid for Filipino Adults developed by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-FNRI), drinking 8 glasses of water a day can improve overall health, including prevention of health risks like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance called lipid found inside cells and blood. Naturally occurring in the liver, cholesterol can also be found in the food we eat, which is mainly from animal fat. Actually, cholesterol is necessary for bodily functions such as in the production of various hormones, bile acids and vitamin D. But, too much of it can be harmful. High levels of cholesterol can block blood flow resulting in thickening, narrowing and hardening of artery walls. This limits oxygen from reaching the heart. Worse, this may lead to heart attack or even something as drastic as death.

Water plays a vital role in preventing these heart-breaking developments from happening. Drinking water can actually thin the blood, thus help the blood pump more smoothly. Moreover, it helps eliminate toxins and increases metabolic rate. And since exercise together with the right kind and amount of food intake contributes to the lowering of cholesterol, water is once again needed in order to replace water lost during exercise.

On the other hand, high blood pressure also known as hypertension, refers to the force of blood pushing against the arterial walls as it make its way through the body. High blood pressure can threaten healthy arteries and can lead to heart disease and stroke. It is also known as a silent killer because there are no real symptoms.

Water plays an equally important role in lowering blood pressure as well since blood is composed of water. Dehydration, or loss of water, affects blood pressure. When the body is in dehydrated condition, the flow of blood to the kidneys will be reduced. Thus, the body reacts and tells the brain to constrict the veins and arteries, making the blood pressure go higher. But with enough water intake, blood will flow normally to the kidneys, thus averting the occurrence of health risks.

Drinking the right amount of water likewise helps flush excess salt intake in the body, which also causes blood pressure to rise.

So this Valentine’s Day, prevent your heart from being broken by diseases. To have enough water that will keep it healthy, have a bottle of water with you during the day. When exercising, always make sure to drink water before, during and after workout. Try the habit of beginning and ending the day with a glass of water.

If you have a hard time remembering to drink water, you can actually make a schedule or a reminder. Use urine as an indicator. If it’s dark yellow and has a strong odor, it means you should drink more water. The urine of a well-hydrated person is odorless and almost colorless.

And when you go out for your Valentine’s dinner, remember to drink water after meals. Not only will it help hydrate the body, it is also free.

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