x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Don't let dehydration drain you

In the heat of the summer it's important to keep your fluids topped up, and our practical guide can help.

Drink plenty of fluids to combat dehydration. iStockphoto
Drink plenty of fluids to combat dehydration. iStockphoto
As we move deeper into the summer months, UAE-based doctors and nutritionists are advising residents to ensure the right amount of water intake.

Some experts have noted a rise in patients suffering from symptoms of dehydration such as kidney and urinary tract infections.

"We see these types of conditions due to low hydration levels often during summer. We usually see anywhere between a 10 to 20 per cent increase in patients, but this year already I have noticed more patients," says Dr Sabina Aidarous, a family medicine specialist at the Imperial Healthcare Institute in Dubai Healthcare City.

The recommended daily amount of water during the summer is between 10-12 glasses per day to meet the demands of our bodies, especially with Ramadan falling during the hottest months of the year.

Here are an additional five ways that, along with drinking enough water, can help keep the body hydrated.

Coconut water

As a natural source of hydration, coconut water has been known throughout history to prevent and treat dehydration. It is also low in calories and has less sugar than most juices.

"Research has shown that coconut water helps the kidney function and prevents infections. The kidney filters all of the waste from the fluid," says Aidarous.

Newly launched in the UAE this year is O.N.E Coconut Water by the Dubai-based New Age Beverages, which claims to be 100 per cent coconut water with no processing and available at most UAE supermarkets. Coconut water contains antioxidants and essential minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium, which reportedly helps dissolve kidney stones. The coconut palm is also often referred to as the "tree of life".


As some people do not like drinking water alone, this can be a great source of fluid, whether by eating or drinking watermelon because of its pure water content, according to Aidarous and Hala Abu Taha, a Dubai-based nutritionist at Right Bite nutrition and catering services.

"Watermelon is one of the fruits that has up to 70 per cent water," says Abu Taha.

Watermelon, which was first cultivated in Egypt, is also rich in potassium, magnesium and is a source of Vitamin C and A and has lower calories than most fruits. According to the non-profit George Mateljan Foundation for the World's Healthiest Foods (WHFoods), one cup of watermelon contains 48 calories.


"Bananas are full of potassium and rich in sodium, which helps hold the water for longer. They also help to balance the water in the body," says Abu Taha.

The potassium in this high-energy fruit, which reportedly originated in Malaysia 4,000 years ago, helps balance fluids and can also lower blood pressure. Compounds such as protease inhibitors also help eliminate bacteria in the stomach that can lead to ulcers.

According to WHFoods, to help fight against kidney disease "moderated consumption of whole fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, can be protective".

Oral rehydration salts

This sodium and glucose solution, first researched in the 1940s, can help towards the rehydration of the body when mixed with safe drinking water and can be found in ready-mixed sachets. It is also often used in cases of severe diarrhoea.

"This is relevant usually in cases of serious states of dehydration," says Aidarous.

Rehydration drinks, she says, can also help, especially for those choosing to walk, cycle or undertake "intense indoor workouts" who should ensure they are getting the right amount of water to prevent serious dehydration.

Salt baths

"If the body's cells are low in water, the concentration of the salt in the cells is higher because of dehydration," says Aidarous.

Indulging in a salt bath, she says, can therefore help neutralise the water flowing into our cells. Salts have, for centuries, been used to help get rid of toxins in the body and natural salts are effective in restoring the mineral balance in the skin. Minerals such as magnesium also aid in water retention.