When you think of hydration, you probably think of drinking water. But did you know that approximately 20% of the water in our diet comes from the foods we eat? Not all foods are hydrating, but some — especially fruits and veggies — definitely are.
“Your body depends on water to function and survive,” says Erin Famulare, a wellness education specialist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers. “It helps regulate body temperature, lubricate joints, flush out waste products, and protect our organs and tissue. Eating foods high in water can help you stay hydrated, especially on hot summer days.”
To increase hydration, add these 11 fruits and vegetables with high water content:
- Melons such as watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe
- Bell peppers
- Summer squash such as zucchini and yellow squash (cooked)
Make hydration fun
You can get all the benefits of fresh fruits and veggies just by eating them plain. To make it even more fun, try these healthy ideas:
- 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, such as mint or basil.
- Make fruit kebabs with fresh cut, mixed fruit.
- Grill your veggies and fruits, such as peaches and pineapple.
- Make a tropical green smoothie with mango, pineapple, banana and spinach.
- Use sliced cucumber, carrots or bell peppers instead of chips for dips and salsas.
- Make a refreshing salad topped with fresh berries or peaches.
- Substitute rice with grated or finely chopped cauliflower.
- Puree frozen peaches to make a very simple “nice cream.”
Know your hydration needs
Even if you’re loading up on fruits and veggies, it’s important to continue hydrating by drinking plenty of water or other low-calorie beverages.
“The exact amount of water you need to drink varies based on factors such as age, gender, height and weight,” says Famulare. “Keep in mind, hot weather as well as vigorous exercise can also increase your hydration needs.”
Be aware of the signs and symptoms of dehydration, including thirst, less frequent urination, dark-colored urine, fatigue, dizziness and confusion. To avoid letting your body get to that point, develop a hydration plan. Drink at least 8 cups of noncaloric beverages throughout the day and incorporate hydrating vegetables and fruits into your meals and snacks.