The secret to a long and healthy life? Drink water

Want to know the secret to a long and healthy life? It may be as simple as drinking water.

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have reported that adults who stay well-hydrated appear to be healthier, develop fewer chronic conditions, such as heart and lung disease, and live longer than those who may not get sufficient fluids.

"The results suggest that proper hydration may slow down ageing and prolong a disease-free life," said study author Dr Natalia Dmitrieva, adding that most people can safely increase their fluid intake by drinking water and other fluids, like juices, or vegetables and fruits with a high water content.

For the study, the team analysed data relating to over 11,000 adults taken over a 30-year period.

Accordingly, they looked at links between serum sodium levels - which go up when fluid intake goes down - and various indicators of health.

"They found that adults with serum sodium levels at the higher end of a normal range were more likely to develop chronic conditions and show signs of advanced biological ageing than those with serum sodium levels in the medium ranges. Adults with higher levels were also more likely to die at a younger age," the authors noted.

Health guidelines recommend that most women consume around six to nine cups (1.5-2.2 litres) of fluids daily, and for men, eight to 12 cups (two to three litres).

Full study results were published in eBioMedicine.