Are you eating plenty of hydrating foods this summer? These foods are healthy, and help you get enough water too! When talking about nutrition, water often gets overlooked. Yet, it plays a much more critical role in our daily lives than many other elements. Without it, life as we know it would not exist. The human body is approximately 75 percent water.
Every system in the body depends on water. It’s important for healthy skin, hair, and nails, energy, and clear thinking. It is also important for controlling body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Water is arguably the most valuable essential nutrient for a body. According to the experts, water is ranked second only to air as an essential for life. A person can survive about two months without food, but only a few days without water.
Dangers of Dehydration
While most people know perfectly well that water is necessary for good health, up to 75 percent of the American population falls short of their daily required intake. In medical terms that means most people in the U.S are functioning in a chronic state of dehydration.
Your body is 75 percent water, your muscles are 75 percent, and your brain is 85 percent water. Since the body cannot store water for future use, it must be continually replenished. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to meet optimal functional requirements. Even mild dehydration – as little as a 1 percent to 2 percent loss of your body weight – can zap your energy and cause fatigue.
And now, temperatures are rising across the US as summer approaches. The summer promises plenty of cookouts, pool time, vacations, and outdoor activities. More time outdoors in the sun and heat increase the risk of dehydration. According to the CDC, most adults only drink an average of 39 ounces of water a day. Chronic dehydration is a growing problem. And even mild chronic dehydration can impact your health!
Some of the symptoms of dehydration include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry or chapped lips
- Body temperature that is elevated
- Dry skin
- Joint pain
- Muscle cramping
- Brain fog
- Dark colored urine
- Loss of energy
If you are working on improving your health, then getting adequate amounts of water daily can help! The current recommendation is to drink 8-12 glasses of water daily. During the heat of the summer, that number should be higher. It should also be increased on days when you are physically active or when you are consuming caffeinated beverages or alcohol.
The good news is that there are plenty of water-rich, hydrating foods that you can eat that can help to hydrate you! Adding these foods will boost hydration levels as well as providing your body with vital nutrients.
Top hydrating foods
All of these fruits and vegetables not only provide you with additional water but also vital nutrients that can help support your body’s needs. Dehydration can derail any progress you are making to improve your health. Make a conscious effort to include more of these foods into your diet, not just during the summer months, but all year long!
- Cucumbers are one of the best hydrating foods! They are 96% water and are relatively low in calories. They are also rich in vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium.
- Iceberg lettuce is 96% water and while it holds very few nutrients, eating a fresh salad with one cup of iceberg lettuce will give you the equivalent of a quarter cup of water.
- Radishes are 95% water and are low in calories. But they are high in vitamin C, potassium and folate.
- Celery is 95% water and is rich is vitamin K and potassium.
- Zucchini is 94% water is high in fiber and rich in vitamin C.
- Tomatoes are 94% water and are high in vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin K.
- Green cabbage is 93% water and is high in vitamin C, vitamin K and folate.
- Cauliflower is 92% water and is a nutritionally dense food. One cup provides the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. It is also high in vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6 and potassium. It also contains smaller amounts of manganese, pathothenic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, magnesium, and phosphorus.
- Bell peppers are 92% water and are extremely high in antioxidants. One medium red bell pepper contains more than 250% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. And it contains 75% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A (much higher than other colors of bell peppers). It is also high in vitamin B6 and folate.
- Watermelon is 92% water and is one of the most hydrating fruits. A one cup serving contains half a cup of water. But it is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A and magnesium
- Spinach is 91% water and is also a nutritional powerhouse! It is high in antioxidants and contains more than 180% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K per serving. It is also rich in vitamin A, folate, manganese and vitamin C.
- Strawberries are 91% water and will give you 141% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in one serving. They are also antioxidant rich, as well as being rich in manganese.
Here’s one great salad you can make this summer that includes some great hydrating foods!