Keeping hydrated is key to combatting the rising summer temperatures, and there are now myriad ways to maintain optimal hydration levels. As studies and wellness trends have shown over the years, there is more to it than merely drinking water, although gulping down glasses of it is the simplest way to remain hydrated.
It is recommended that adults in the UAE drink up to 3.7 litres of water per day, or 15 glasses, says Dr Nasrullah Jakhrani, an internal medicine specialist at Aster Clinic in Bur Dubai.
“Our body constantly loses water through various means, such as sweating, urine, waste, skin evaporation and even through breathing,” he explains, adding that water loss is higher during summer due to increased perspiration. Water also regulates body temperature and hunger, he says.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the specific time to drink water but Dr Salman Abdul Bari of RAK Hospital, says those going out in the heat should drink two full glasses before doing so and a glass every 15 to 20 minutes to remain hydrated.
The rise of gourmet water
Aqua Water Bar by Luqel, which opened in Dubai Media City this month, offers 30 different types of water, served by sommeliers.
The venue uses a patented filtration system that it says purifies tap water by getting rid of harmful chemicals and toxic metals. The water undergoes reverse osmosis purification and is re-enriched with natural mineral salts.
The recipes are created by altering the mineral composition of the water. For example, one of the dominant elements in the “wake up” drinks is sulphate. The drink's sodium content “awakens your taste buds and gently stimulates the stomach”, according to the bar's menu.
There are also recipes for people with different activity levels. For example, runners can choose water with high magnesium, sodium, potassium and hydrogen carbonate to replenish mineral levels.
The bar also serves water that is mineralised for specific meals and diets. Recipes include “vegan's choice” and “minato”, which the bar claims is the “perfect recipe to go with sushi or any of your seafood dishes”.
The opening of Aqua Water Bar by Luqel comes just weeks after Swedish start-up Wayout announced its entry to the UAE. The drinking water system purifies and remineralises tap water.
These companies are banking on natural minerals and their health benefits to boost people's hydration.
It's a different motivation altogether from the WaterTok trend on TikTok. The hashtag, which has gone viral, with videos having been viewed more than 145 million times, highlights a community of people mixing their water to make drinking it more exciting.
Creative users are turning iced jugs into colourful concoctions, using packets of powder and squirts of syrup, creating everything from pina-colada-flavoured water to a drink called “birthday cake”.
The fruity way
There are healthier ways to make a glass of water exciting, Bari says, such as the classic fruit-infusion method where slices of lemon, cucumber or orange are added for a nutrient boost.
“People who find it difficult to drink water can take coconut water, which is rich in potassium and low in calories. Flavouring water with fresh fruits like lemon, mint and orange is equally hydrating,” he says.
There are also many water-rich fruits and vegetables, and incorporating them into the diet can help to maintain hydration levels.
“Watermelon, strawberries, grapefruits and peaches are excellent sources of hydration, as are cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes, which also have high water content,” says Jakhrani.
Bananas can be a good addition to your summer diet, says fitness coach Adil Dhaloo, because they are rich in electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium. “These electrolytes play a vital role in maintaining hydration and help replenish essential minerals lost through sweating,” he says.
Those who work out can choose from several sports drinks on the market, as they are specifically designed to help replace the essential minerals lost through sweat. But it's important to check the sugar and calorie content, the experts warn.
Hydration requires a balanced diet, consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and protein sources such as meat or plant-based alternatives, Dhaloo adds.
Fizzy and caffeinated drinks are a no-no, says Dr Bari, because they are “diuretics and are therefore dehydrating”.
Milk has recently been proven to have the opposite effect. Because of its lactose, protein and fat content, it reduces urine production and promotes fluid retention in the body. “The presence of milk in the stomach for a longer duration contributes to its hydrating effects,” says Jakhrani.
Other tips and tricks
Here are some pointers from Jakhrani to help you reach the recommended water intake each day:
- Carry a water bottle with you as a visual reminder to drink more water throughout the day
- Listen to your body's signals and drink water whenever you feel thirsty
- The colour of your urine can serve as an indicator of dehydration. Dark yellow urine indicates the need to drink more water, while clear and light-coloured urine suggests reasonable water intake
- Set hydration goals and track your water intake – this can be a fun challenge for yourself and your friends