Health tip: How much water does your body need?
The summer is on the doorstep and the temperatures are soaring in the UAE. There is no better time to emphasise the importance of drinking enough water.
This week the Dubai Health Authority discussed the importance of drinking water in its weekly Twitter clinic, where health experts interact with the public to bring health topics under the attention. Simultanusouly, a campaign across hospitals and primary healthcare centres to educate people about the importance of consuming sufficient amounts of water has kicked off.
It may be difficult to say how much water each person needs per day, as it depends on the daily activities of each person, said Wafa Ayesh, director of clinical nutrition at the DHA. However, a good rule of thumb is every person should drink 30 to 35 ml of water per kilo of body weight. For example, when a person weighs 60 kilos, (s)he should drink 1.8 litres to 2.1 per day, she explained.
“Almost 80 per cent of patients we see, do not drink sufficient water and many of them are surprised to see how dehydrated they are after we show them their body analysis results,” she added.
“People should understand that they must drink water even when they are not thirsty. Thirst means the person is already dehydrated.”
Water is needed for essential body functions. It is a carrier, distributing essential nutrients such as minerals, vitamins and glucose to the cells, while it removes waste products including toxins that the organs’ cells reject. Water participates in the biochemical break-down of what we eat, and it helps to control body temperature, the nutritionist explained.
But if these facts sound too scientific to convince you, there are many other reasons to step up the consumption of the cheapest drink on the market. Drinking water will improve your looks, for example.
“Despite whatever skin and hair routine we have externally including moisturizers, conditions etc., if we do not drink enough water, our skin will age prematurely and we will be prone to hair fall. Water helps maintain skin elasticity and aids supply enough proteins to the scalp,” explained Maitha Al Owais, Clinical Dietician at Dubai Hospital.
Furthermore, replacing a sugary drink with a cup of water will help to manage a healthy weight, points out Wafa. “In today’s time with expanding waist lines and the problem of obesity,it is important to educate the community, especially children, that sugary drinks are not a substitute for water. It is best to consider a sugary drink as an occasional indulgence, while on a daily basis water should be the main source of liquids a person consumes.”
Furthermore, drinking plenty of water can help control blood sugar levels, explained Alya Al Shamsi, clinical dietician at Rashid Hospital.
In a study of 3,615 men and women with normal blood sugar levels at the start of the study, those who reported that they drank more than 34 ounces of water a day were 21% less likely to develop hyperglycemia over the next nine years than those who said they drank 16 ounces or less daily. The analysis took into account other factors that can affect the risk of high blood sugar, including sex, age, weight, and physical activity, as well as consumption of sugary drinks.
“Studies have shown that drinking sufficient water can help prevent high blood sugar, but of course this has to be followed by a healthy diet as well. Diet, exercise and drinking enough water per day go hand-in-hand, there are no short-cuts,” said Alya.
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