Top Hydrating Foods
Can we “drink” our food or can certain foods take the place of water? There are many foods that can help quench our thirst and hydrate our bodies. While they should not be a replacement for drinking water, they do contain important nutrients that make an important contribution to our bodies’ nutrient needs. Make an effort to include these foods in your daily diet, especially during the summer months when you are likely losing more moisture than usual simply due to the climate.
Cucumbers have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They are a good source of vitamin K and also silica (trace mineral), both of which are great for bone strength and healthy connective tissue. Cucumber is approximately 95% water by weight. Look for organic cucumbers since they can be heavily pesticided and/or heavily waxed.
Watermelon is approximately 92% water by weight. Watermelon also packs powerful antioxidants, including lycopene, which has been studied for its anticancer protective benefits. Watermelon contains potassium, an important electrolyte that is often lost through excessive perspiration. It also contains magnesium, which is beneficial for the muscles (including your heart muscle!) and bones.
3. Citrus Fruits
Oranges range from about 80% to 90% water. They are known for their awesome vitamin C content as well as their antioxidant status. The same is true for other citrus fruits including grapefruit, lemons and limes. They also contain needed electrolytes including potassium.
4. Cantaloupe and Honeydew
A cantaloupe averages 95% water, while honeydew averages 95%. Both are awesome during the summer. Both are rich in antioxidants including vitamin C, zeaxanthin, and the vital electrolyte, potassium.
Peaches average around 87% water. They are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and iron.
6. Cherries and Berries
Berries and cherries range between 82 and 92% water with cherries being on the lower end of the range and strawberries on the higher end. Both contain wonderful antioxidants, anticancer properties and fiber that make cherries and berries a great addition to the daily diet.
7. Celery and Carrots
Celery is about 95% water and carrots about 87%. Try not to get bored with carrots and celery. They are the go-to, stand-by veggie of choice for a quick snack, at potlucks and picnics and they will help you stay hydrated as well. Both contain fiber and electrolytes and are naturally low calorie so feel free to indulge. You’ll know if you’ve gone too far if your skin begins to turn a little bit orange from too many carrots – that’s the beta carotene going to work. Both celery and carrots contain some sodium – but not enough if you are exercising more than 90 minutes a day. You’ll need to replace your sodium with actual salt or salted foods or beverages.
8. Coconut Water
Coconut water seems to be all the rage right now and it’s a personal choice as to weather or not the price you pay for the water is worth it. Coconut water a small amount of vitamin C and riboflavin (vitamin B2). It also contains a small amount of thiamine (B1) and smaller amount of vitamin B6. There is a trace of niacin and pantothenic acid (B5) in coconut water. Coconut water also contains potassium.
9. Apples and Pears
Apples and pears both come in around 84% water. An apple wears in around 130 calories and a pear comes in around 100 calories. Both are a great source of fiber and vitamins, especially vitamin C and both are a good source for potassium.
Romaine lettuce is packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that makes this mostly water food a great stand out on a hot summer day. Fill your salad with other water-dense veggies like cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes and bell peppers and you are sure to feel refreshed afterwards. Romaine lettuce is a very good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, folic acid and beta carotene, all of which contribute to a happy and healthy heart.
11. Bell peppers
Bell peppers are over 90% water and loaded with vitamin C, vitamin E and mixed carotenoids like lutein, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. They also contain heart healthy vitamins B6 and folate. Indulge during the summer months when they are in season and aim for organic peppers since conventional bell peppers consistently land in the “dirty dozen” of produce for pesticide residue.
12. Broccoli, Kale and Cabbage
Surprisingly these cabbage family relatives all come in at over 90% water content. These crucifers make up our favorite food family, rich in so many important nutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They help prevent against certain cancers, and help keep our bones and minds strong.
If you read the last sentence under celery and carrots you’ll notice the remark about sodium. While many of these wonderfully hydrating foods contain the electrolyte potassium, they are not high in sodium. So for athletes and those sweating and losing a lot of fluid during the day, you may need an actual electrolyte replacement drink to recover what you lost through your sweat.
Remember to continue to drink plenty of water and fuel up on these hydrating foods. They’ll certainly help with your energy and your recovery throughout the day.