We’ve all heard the saying before: You should drink 8 glasses of water a day. Some doctors even recommend more than that depending on your lifestyle, body size, and general health. In fact, The Institute of Medicine recommends women drink 9 cups (2.2 liters) of water daily. For men, they recommend drinking 13 cups (3 liters) a day. Now let me ask you a very simple question: Do you ever actually drink that much water? Don’t lie. A lot of people struggle with this (myself included).
I have a juicy secret to tell you, though. Staying hydrated isn’t as hard as it sounds. According to the Institute of Medicine, about 80 percent of the water you consume comes from beverages, while the remaining 20 percent actually comes from food. That’s right … along with drinking water, you can also boost your H2O consumption from the foods you eat. A lot of fresh fruits and vegetables have an extremely high water content, which helps keep the body hydrated. There’s actually an added bonus to consuming hydrating foods since many are also rich in antioxidants, vitamins, electrolytes, and fiber that are great for health.
Water Content: 96%
This popular summer vegetable has the highest water content of any solid food, meaning it can help keep you hydrated when you’re doing outdoor activities under the strong sunshine. After taking a look at a cucumber’s nutritional value, though, you’ll definitely want to add them to your diet year-round. Cucumbers are loaded with vitamin C, K, and B. They also contain minerals such as copper, potassium, and manganese. For this reason, cucumbers can also help you to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
Since cucumbers are on the Dirty Dozen list (which means they have a high pesticide content and are ranked one of the most contaminated foods), it’s always a good idea to buy organic cucumbers. If you go organic, you still may be inclined to peel off the skin to get rid of the wax coating. Whether you buy organic or conventional, cucumbers are usually waxed to help them withstand the long journey from the farm to the supermarket. While all waxes are supposed to be food-grade, some are better than others. For example, natural waxes are preferred over petroleum-based wax coatings. Organic produce will not contain petroleum-based wax coatings. When going organic, you may want to simply clean the wax since a cucumber’s skin is one of the most nutrient-dense parts.
Cucumbers are extremely easy to eat. All you have to do is cut them up and you’re ready to go. You can either throw some slices in a salad, make cold cucumber soup, or you can simply munch on it!
Water Content: 95%
While the zucchini looks very similar to the cucumber, they are completely different vegetables. The one thing they do have in common, though, is their high water content and nutritional value. Zucchinis are rich in Vitamins C, B and A. They also contain key minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium. Of course, we can’t forget that zucchinis are 95 percent water, making them the perfect hydrating food. There’s a catch, though. Most of us eat zucchini cooked. When we roast or sauté zucchini, it loses a lot of its water content.
To reap the hydrating benefits, shred some raw zucchini into a salad. If you have a spiralizer this is the perfect time to whip that baby out and start making zucchini noodles. Speaking of zucchini noodles, some people even use raw zucchini as the “pasta” in pasta salads. You can also thinly slice your zucchini to make ribbons and add them to your salad.
Water Content: 94%
According to the Department of Food Sciences at North Carolina State University, “Tomatoes are the second most produced and consumed vegetable nationwide and are a rich source of lycopene, beta-carotene, folate, potassium, vitamin C, flavonoids, and vitamin E.” Along with fighting cancer and improving our heart health, they’re 94 percent water. That means, among their many benefits, tomatoes also help keep us hydrated. If you’ve ever cut into a large tomato, you know how juicy they are. Seriously, liquid fills the etches in the cutting board! Of course, we can’t forget about the little cherry tomatoes. You can just pop those in between your teeth, bite down, and let the delicious juice fill your mouth.
Note: Since cherry tomatoes are another food on the Dirty Dozen list, it’s best to buy organic.
Tomatoes are a staple in salads. If you’re looking for a healthy on-the-go snack, just put a handful of cherry tomatoes into a Ziploc bag and head out the door.
Water Content: 87%
Pineapple is truly mother nature’s candy. Not only is it extremely hydrating, it’s also nutrient dense. Along with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, this delicious fruit is rich in the enzyme Bromelain. Bromelain is known to help fight cancer cells and prevent new cancer cells from forming.
Note: Pineapples are on the Clean Fifteen list, meaning they’re one of the least pesticide-laden crops. That’s mainly because pineapples have a thick layer of skin that protects the part you eat from being sprayed with harmful chemicals. GMOs aside, the crops listed on the Clean Fifteen are considered safe to buy conventional.
Pineapples are another great grab-and-go fruit. Just cut it up into chunks, throw it into a container, and go. Just make sure you don’t toss out the juice! If you’re eating a sit-down meal, you may also enjoy some pineapple chunks in your salad. Speaking of salad, this is the perfect fruit to sweeten up a fruit salad. Plus, don’t forget about smoothies!
Water Content: 92%
Remember back to when you were a little kid during the hot summer months. Did you run barefoot by the pool with watermelon juice dripping down your arm? Back then you were probably only concerned with the delicious and refreshing taste. Today, you may be happy to know that your summer fruit snack helped keep your body hydrated. In fact, a 2009 study from the University of Aberdeen Medical School found that the combination of salts, minerals, and natural sugars in certain fruits and vegetables can actually hydrate people more effectively than water or sports drinks. In that study, watermelon came out on top for being one of the best hydrating foods.
Watermelon is great in slices or in chunks. This is another great fruit that pairs well with salads. Just throw some chunks on a bed of lettuce, drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over it, and you’ve created a delicious lunch! Also, have you tried watermelon juice? Simply put some watermelon in a juicer and drink (yummmmyyyy)!
You may also like: