When you think of hydration, you probably think of drinking water. But did you know that around 20 percent of our water comes from the food we eat?
“Fruits that are high in water content include melons such as watermelon, honeydew or cantaloupe; strawberries; pineapple; peaches; and oranges,” explains Jackson. “Not only are these fruits loaded with vitamins such as vitamin C, minerals like potassium, and fiber, they’re also all between 85 and 95 percent water.”
“Like fruits, many veggies such as cucumbers, celery, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini and lettuce are very high in water, vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals,” she adds.
Many of these foods are in season and at their freshest during the hot summer months.
“Getting lots of high-water fruits and veggies has the added bonus of giving our bodies naturally occurring electrolytes without all the added sugar found in sports drinks,” says Jackson. “In addition, all the water in fresh fruits and veggies combined with their high fiber content makes them really filling and low in calories.”
You can get all the benefits of fresh fruits and veggies just by eating them plain, but here are some other ideas that Jackson suggests:
- Combine a mix of fresh or frozen chopped fruit for a fruit salad
- Add a twist to your fruit salad with lime juice, balsamic vinegar or some fresh herbs like mint or basil
- Make fruit kebabs with fresh cut mixed fruit
- Put just about any veggie — or fruits like peaches or pineapple — on the grill
- Make a tropical green smoothie with mango, pineapple, banana and spinach
- Use sliced cucumber, carrots or bell peppers for dips or salsas instead of chips
- Make a refreshing summer salad topped with fresh berries or peaches
- Substitute rice with grated or finely chopped cauliflower
- Puree frozen bananas to make a very simple "ice cream"
“Hydration is just one of the many health benefits of getting a minimum of five servings of fruits and veggies every day,” Jackson says. “Even if you’re loading up on fruits and veggies, however, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water or other low-calorie beverages is still important, especially in hot weather, if you’re exercising or when you’re sick.”
Not a fan of plain water? Jackson recommends adding some sugar-free flavor drops, or some fresh fruit or cucumber slices to give it a little flavor.