Drink enough water to avoid dehydration
Air-conditioned environments block perspiration and suppress thirst
Published: 21:00 August 26, 2014 01 Gulf News
By Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary, Senior Reporter

Dubai: Books and newspapers are full of instructions about drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. But do we follow this simple instruction? Staying indoors in air-conditioned environments blocks the heat and perspiration.
So, how many of us really remember to reach out for that bottle of water and take a few sips every now and then? We don’t do this as many of us never really feel thirsty.

However, doctors say you must drink water periodically throughout the day even if your throat is not parched as human beings have more than 60 per cent water as an important constituent of body and it needs to be replaced when lost.

We do drink liquids, but mostly other beverages. Most people in the UAE reach out for their chilled bottle of soft drink or have tea and coffee instead of having plain, delicious water. An informal survey at work revealed that more people have green tea or a cola when they should have reached out for water.
“People think they are hungry and begin gorging on foods when they are actually thirsty and must have a glass of water,” points out Nadine Aoun, dietitian and nutritionist, Medcare Medical Centre, Dubai.

So the outcome is that people living in the cold artificial environs of a desert usually are dehydrated because they simply forget to drink water.

How does long-term dehydration actually affect you?
Dr Sarla Kumari, specialist physician and diabetologist at the Canadian Specialist Hospital, Dubai says: “The immediate after effects of dehydration are muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea and passing of concentrated yellow urine. The normal ideal intake of water for an individual is 3,000ml or 3-4 litres in a day. In hot weather, since we perspire, the need goes up to 4,000ml or 4-5 litres.
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Each individual must reach out for a glass of water every two to three hours. You must begin your day with having a minimum of three glasses of water. It kick-starts your metabolism and hydrates your body that has been fasting for 12 hours or so. However, people do not make it a point to have this amount each day.
In the long term, constant dehydration causes water retention as the body tries to hold on to its depleting reserves, and urinary tract infections, kidney stones and, ultimately, damage to our kidneys as this organ has to work extra hard to flush out toxins.
Besides that, most of us often have two to three soft drinks/juices in a day and several cups of tea or coffee that serve to further dehydrate us. In this weather it is important to not just have water but also have food that is high in water content such as laban, coconut water, watermelon, musk melon and garden-fresh salads to stay hydrated,” she said.
Long-term dehydration not only affects our internal organs but is also a great cosmetic aid. Not having enough water causes premature ageing, says Aoun.
“Our skin needs to be hydrated well to retain moisture. Dehydration dries up the skin, causing wrinkles. Consuming water which is a calorie-free drink helps suppress appetite and lose weight too. It boosts the metabolic rate and improves digestion. You must have your normal requirement of three litres. However, if you work out daily or have to be out in the sun, it is important to increase your consumption of water to keep well hydrated,” she added.

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