Staying hydrated is important for your health because your body needs water, or other fluids, to be able to function properly. From sluggishness to headaches to reduced metabolism, the slightest degree of water deprivation can cause some pretty significant damage. It’s easy to underestimate how essential hydration is. A 2% dip in hydration levels can impair body processes and performance levels. Staying hydrated helps flush toxins, reduce bloat and strengthens your muscles. Plus, it supports glowing skin and mood.
The importance of water
The average person should aim to drink at least eight glasses of water in order to remain hydrated. Regular intake of water helps keep the body hydrated and rid it body of harmful chemicals which build-up. It also boost the metabolism rate.
However, water is not the only way to stay hydrated. There are foods which you can eat which not only ensure you are consuming lots of fluids and water, but which actually deliver a range of other health benefits as well.
Here are 20 foods you should consider.
At 95 % water content, a cup of cucumber slices is nearly as thirst-quenching as a glass of water. Cucumbers also provide a little fibre and some vitamin C (about 6 % of the Daily Value per cup). Do not limit your cucumber consumption to tossing slices into green salads; get inspired to make refreshing cucumber recipes: dips, soups and even pickles. Cucumbers deliver the same hydration levels as twice the volume of water, thanks to the salad vegetable’s mineral salts and sugars, which mimic the body’s natural electrolyte balance. Peeling the fibrous skin will further boost the cucumber’s hydrating effects.
Strawberries deliver the most vitamin C of all berries and also provide folate, a B vitamin that’s essential for the healthy growth of new cells. And, since they’re 91 % water, they help contribute significantly towards your overall fluid intake. Eat them straight up or try them in a new strawberry recipe: they’re special in everything from salads to baked goods.
Ninety-two % water (hence the name), watermelon is a good source of vitamin C and, when it’s red (some are orange or yellow), also has lycopene, an antioxidant that may help protect against heart disease and some types of cancer. Watermelons also contain 8% sugar and a variety of mineral salts that are essential for optimum hydration, including sodium, magnesium and potassium.
4. Salad Greens
Salad greens are more than 90% water, which means that two cups contain less than 15 calories. They are also packed with nutrients, such as folate, vitamin C, fibre and the antioxidant beta carotene, which helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.
Spinach is the richest dietary source weight for weight of magnesium, an essential electrolyte like potassium and sodium. Along with its 92% water content, this makes it a very useful hydrating food.
6. Iceberg Lettuce
Iceberg Lettuce is 96% water, and eating a bowl should help replenish the body’s hydration levels.
Depending on your preferred type, regular plain yogurt is 85 to 88% water (surprisingly, there’s more water in fuller-fat yogurt). You will also get calcium, some B vitamins (namely B12 and riboflavin) and good-for-you probiotics.
At 88 percent water, this fruit will help you stay hydrated. Better yet, 1 cup delivers 3 grams of fibre for just 55 calories.
9. Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash is 88% water. A cup of cooked butternut squash also boasts over 400 percent of your Daily Value for vitamin A—a key nutrient for eye health—as well as healthy doses of vitamin C, potassium and manganese.
Milk may actually be better at hydrating the body than water or sports drinks. A 2011 study from McMaster University in the Canada found that milk is more effective than the usual rehydration drinks, thanks to its combination of high quality high quality protein, carbs, calcium and electrolytes.
As well as being very nutritious, tomatoes can help the body stay nice and hydrated. Tomatoes contain up to 94% water. Again, peeling the fibrous skin will help boost the tomato’s hydrating powers. Blanching in boiling water, then placing the tomato in ice-cold water should help the skin come off easily.
Radishes are comprised of 95% water, almost as much as iceberg lettuce. The radish is considered a cooling food in folk medicine and many people swear by its heat-dissipating properties. For maximum hydrating effects, peel the radish to remove some of the fibre.
Drinking soup is a good way to increase hydration levels in the body, although it is recommended that consumers stick to vegetable soups, and do not put too much salt in it.
14. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are 92 % water, yet they are still rich sources of some of the best nutrients available, including vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6, beta carotene, and folic acid.
Carrots contain about 87 percent water and more of the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene than any other vegetable or fruit. Studies have found that compounds in carrots help protect again skin, lung and oral cavity cancers.
Crunchy celery is 96 percent water, but it also provides a combination of mineral salts, amino acids and vitamins that research shows may hydrate your body twice as effectively as a glass of water.
Oranges are juicy, comprising 87% water, and packed with more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value for vitamin C.
The Zucchini, or Courgette as it is known in Europe, consists of 95% water by weight. A healthy serving has less than 25 calories and is an excellent source of folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
19. Tomato Sauce
It may vary depending on the brand, but most store-bought tomato sauces are about 90 percent water. Plus, one half-cup serving of tomato sauce has only 50 calories and zero grams of fat,
Eggplants are high in fibre and water but low in calories, although recipes that involve frying should be avoided.