Sip Your Way to Safety: The Surprising Drink That Might Save Your Brain from a Stroke

A stroke can be a life-altering or even fatal event; however, you can significantly reduce the risk of stroke-related complications or death by staying properly hydrated. According to a study at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, people who are well-hydrated when they experience a stroke have a much higher chance of making a full recovery.

The Importance of Hydration

During the study, researchers analyzed lab tests and MRI scans for over 160 individuals who suffered ischemic strokes—those related to blood clots—in 2013 and 2014. They utilized measurements of kidney function (BUN/creatinine ratio and urine specific gravity) to determine the hydration levels of each patient. Nearly half of the stroke victims were found to be dehydrated upon hospital admission.

The condition of more than 40% of dehydrated patients worsened during their hospital stay, whereas this only happened to 17% of patients who were adequately hydrated. Researchers also found that dehydration quadrupled the risk of a more harmful stroke outcome.

Current Hospital Protocol

At present, medical professionals often avoid giving fluids during a stroke to minimize the risk of exacerbating heart problems. Extra water may cause fluid to back up into the lungs, and patients may also choke on drinking water.

However, with studies indicating that around 60% of individuals are dehydrated at the time of their stroke, researchers are beginning to question this approach. Instead, they recommend exploring simple hydration strategies to improve stroke outcomes.

How to Stay Hydrated

Now that you understand the importance of hydration when it comes to stroke recovery, let’s explore some ways you can stay properly hydrated throughout the day.

  1. Drink more water: This may seem obvious, but it’s crucial to drink adequate amounts of water to maintain proper hydration. Aim to consume at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.

  2. Choose hydrating foods: Incorporate foods with high water content into your diet, such as fruits (watermelon, oranges, and strawberries) and vegetables (cucumbers, celery, and lettuce).

  3. Limit alcohol and caffeine intake: Alcohol and caffeine are both diuretics, which can lead to dehydration. Try to limit your consumption of these beverages.

  4. Sports drinks: In certain situations, such as during strenuous exercise or when you’re sick, sports drinks can be helpful for maintaining hydration levels. Just be careful to avoid those with high sugar content.

  5. Track your fluid intake: Use apps or make notes to keep track of your daily fluid consumption. This can help you ensure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day.

  6. Pay attention to warning signs: Dehydration can be sneaky, so be aware of symptoms such as dark urine, dry mouth, fatigue, or dizziness.

The Benefits of Good Hydration

Staying properly hydrated has numerous health benefits beyond a better stroke recovery outcome. Some additional advantages include:

  • Maintaining cognitive function and mood
  • Preventing headaches
  • Promoting healthy digestion
  • Regulating body temperature
  • Promoting healthy skin
  • Reducing the risk of urinary tract infections

Remember to prioritize your hydration levels daily, and encourage your loved ones to do the same. This simple habit can have a significant impact on both your short- and long-term health, potentially reducing the risk of devastating stroke consequences, and helping to maintain overall well-being.