When temperatures rise, staying hydrated can be especially difficult. Getting enough water is one of the smartest things you can do for your daily comfort and overall good health. Our bodies need water to supply our cells with nutrients, regulate body temperature, prevent infections, lubricate our joints, and keep our organs in top working order. Staying hydrated also helps with mood, sleep, and cognition.
Dehydration is the reverse: the body does not have enough water to function properly. It doesn’t take a lot of dehydration for you to feel the effect. Losing as little as 1.5% of your body water can lead to symptoms like headaches, muscle cramps, or a dry or sticky mouth. Some less common indicators that you might be dehydrated include bad breath (when you don’t make enough saliva bacteria can proliferate) or cravings, especially for sweets. Our bodies use water to release glycogen from our energy stores. When you’re dehydrated, you also lose salt and potassium, AKA electrolytes, which help your body do everything: talking, walking, breathing, thinking, and moving.
Your body is mostly made up of water. Newborns contain about 78% water; one-year-olds make up about 65%. Adult women contain about 55% water; adult males reach 60%. Your muscles and kidneys are 79% water, your skin 64% … even our bones are 31% water. Water also acts as a shock absorber for your brain and spine.
The Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health recommends 11 cups of water per day for women and 16 cups per day for men. If you are active, you will need to add more, about one cup every 20 minutes of physical activity.
If the idea of drinking water all day sounds like a lot, remember that all of your water doesn’t have to come from cups of plain water. Many foods contain a lot of water and the consumption of these foods counts towards your total water for the day. Sugary drinks don’t count and should be avoided. These drinks can be harmful to our health and also cause us to expect our food and drinks to be too sweet.
Here are 20 foods, many of which are summer favorites, that are at least 80% water, so go ahead and stay hydrated!
Soup. Summer soups, while perhaps less familiar, are just as delicious and filling as their cooler cousins, and the soup is almost 100% water. Try a tomato or watermelon gazpacho, a cold cantaloupe and yogurt soup, or the classic French Vichyssoise.
Cucumbers. These babies are over 96% water! They also contain potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and a little calcium. They contain nutrients called cucurbitacins which may have an anti-diabetic effect, and fisetin, which is an anti-inflammatory substance and can promote brain health.
Apples. Best known perhaps for their dose of healthy fiber (a large apple can contain up to 5 grams), apples also contain over 80% water. A portable and crispy snack, apples are a good source of potassium, vitamins B6 and C, and magnesium.
Watermelon. At 92% water, this summery sweetness is an excellent source of hydration. Nutritionally, watermelon is no slouch either. It provides a good dose of vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as lycopene and antioxidants. Toss the cubed watermelon with a little crumbled feta, olive oil, salt, pepper and grated basil for a satisfying sweet-salty salad.
plain yogurt. One cup of plain yogurt contains about 88% water. It’s also a fantastic choice for a dollop of protein, gut-healthy probiotics, calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. Garnish with a handful of berries for a bit of fiber, extra vitamins, and even more hydration.
Courgette. Your beloved zoodles do double duty when the weather warms up. Zucchini is 95% water and there’s almost no limit to what you can make with it. Slice it raw on a sandwich, mix it with pasta or grate it and bake zucchini bread. Zucchini is also a good source of potassium, vitamins A and C, manganese, and folate.
Peaches. An average peach, 88% water, also has 2 grams of fiber, one gram of protein, and 15% of your vitamin C requirement, all with just 50 calories. A fresh, sweet peach tastes like summer. Peaches are also wonderful additions to salsas and, when grilled, are a fun way to liven up a salad.
Iceberg lettuce. The main nutritional benefit of iceberg lettuce is its 96% water content. It only has 10 calories per cup and can be a source of vitamins A and C. Add a cup of grated iceberg to your other green salads to boost your hydration, or use iceberg leaves as wraps or buns.
Grapefruit. Low in calories, high in nutrients, flavorful, and containing over 90% water, grapefruits are also high in fiber. A whole grapefruit gives you 4 grams of dietary fiber, over 120% of your daily intake of vitamin C, and some calcium, magnesium and protein.
Potatoes. Waxy varieties contain more water, up to 80%. Potatoes are also a good source of potassium, providing 70% of your daily vitamin C, nearly five grams of fiber, and a host of minerals. Eat them baked or roasted with the skin on to retain as much potassium as possible.
Tomatoes. Almost 95% water, many tomatoes taste like summer. Sliced on sandwiches, sautéed in pasta toppings, tossed in a good, fresh gazpacho… tomatoes are as versatile as they are nutritious and delicious. They are an excellent source of cancer-fighting carotenoid lycopene, vitamins A and C, and potassium.
Cantaloupe. 90% water, plus packed with beta carotene (an antioxidant that’s great for the eyes and skin) and vitamin C, cantaloupe is great on its own, chopped in fruit salads or smoothies, or even mixed in chilled soups. It has 1.6 grams of dietary fiber per cup and is deliciously satisfying.
Strawberries. Sweet, meaty, and 92% water, strawberries are wonderful in any way you can get your hands on them. One cup of fresh strawberries contains only 49 calories, about 150% of your daily vitamin C intake, 3 grams of fiber, as well as iron, vitamin B6, folate, and magnesium.
Raspberries. With a water content of 87%, raspberries are small nutritional powerhouses. One cup contains 65 calories, but contains 8 grams of dietary fiber, 53% of your daily vitamin C and 5% of your iron and vitamin B6 and 6% of your magnesium.
Blueberries. A cup of delicious blueberries, 85% water, gives you a healthy dose of dietary fiber, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and even a gram of protein. Mix them into smoothies, sprinkle them on salads, or grab a snack bowl while you watch TV.
Pineapple. At 86% water, pineapple is an excellent moisturizer. It also contains vitamins B and C, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and an anti-inflammatory enzyme called bromelain. A fresh pineapple contains about 2.3 grams of dietary fiber per cup.
Celery. This crunchy favorite is 95% water and contains a flavonoid called luteolin which can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and apigenin, which can stop breast cancer cells from spreading and multiplying. One serving of celery (2 medium stalks) contains just 15 calories and is a good source of vitamin K, folate, potassium, fiber, and a micronutrient called molybdenum.
Broccoli. Roasted, steamed, sautéed or raw, broccoli is a hydration champion, with 91% water. It’s also loaded with phytonutrients (natural chemicals that improve health), antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Versatile and virtuous!
Cauliflower. This versatile vegetable is 92% water and has an excellent 3.5 grams of fiber per cup. Cauliflower is a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and C. Rice, use it to thicken a potato or other creamy soup, or sprinkle a whole head with olive oil. olive, salt and pepper and roast it.
Carrots. High in fiber and 90% water, carrots are good for your eyes because of their high beta-carotene, which our bodies use to make vitamin A. Vitamin A helps our eyes convert light into a signal sent to the brain, allowing us to see better in the dark. Half a cup of carrots gives you 73% of your daily vitamin A, 9% of your vitamin K, 8% of your potassium and fiber, and 2 grams of fiber.
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