Especially on hot summer days, it’s important to keep hydrated. In addition to drinking the recommended 6-8 glasses of water daily, here are 8 foods you can turn to that’ll help do the trick.
Strawberries are comprised of 91% water, and are chockfull of flavonoids—antioxidants linked to enhanced brain function. In one study, consuming berries delayed cognitive aging for more than 2 years. To increase the hydration effect of strawberries, try pureeing them.
Watermelon is the quintessential summer fruit, and for good reason: it contains 91% water. It is also a rich source of lycopene, which offers protection from the sun. Although sweet, watermelon is only 8% sugar. It is also rich in the electrolytes sodium, magnesium, and potassium.
Popeye ate spinach to increase his strength, but he could just as well have consumed it for its ability to hydrate. Spinach is 92% water. Pound for pound, it is also the richest dietary source for magnesium, which is an electrolyte.
4. Iceberg lettuce
Although not as nutritious as dark leafy greens like spinach, iceberg lettuce is much higher in water content. Iceberg lettuce is made up of 96% water, with the rest mostly fiber. The fiber content may reverse some of iceberg lettuce’s hydration properties, but iceberg lettuce is still an excellent source of fluids. Just don’t drown your lettuce in high-calorie salad dressing—a fluid that won’t hydrate you to say the least.
Celery is 95% water by weight, which makes it a very low-calorie food. In addition to lots of water, celery also contains key nutrients, such as vitamin K, folate, and potassium. Furthermore, celery will give you a crunch that can serve as a cravings substitute for chips and crackers.
A cucumber’s composition includes 96% water. Researchers from the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, have shown that, after a workout, cucumbers can deliver the same hydration levels as twice the same volume of water. Cucumbers’ extra punch is due to their electrolyte content, which helps the body retain water. Moreover, if you peel the skin, you can get even more water into your system.
These fruits are made up of 74% water. In addition, they contain potassium, an electrolyte that is depleted during dehydration. Electrolytes, like potassium, are responsible for a great many functions. For example, they help our bodies produce energy, and even enable our muscles—like the heart—to contract. Electrolyte imbalances can cause serious problems, and can be caused by things as simple as not drinking enough. It’s no wonder that bananas, along with their travel-friendly design, are a darling food of exercisers the world over.
8. Skim Milk
Unlike many of the other items on this list, this one’s not a fresh fruit or vegetable. Skim milk gets its low calorie count from the high amount of water that’s added to literally “water down” the milk fat. Studies have shown that low-fat milk helps to keep us hydrated after exercise as well (compared to plain water and functional beverages). This is due, in part, to the electrolytes and protein in milk, which may help replace fluid loss in our bodies.
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