For many of us, summertime is the best time of the year to enjoy being outdoors; whether it is going to the beach, ball games, cookouts or waterparks. While enjoying these activities it’s key to keep in mind the importance of staying properly hydrated. Hydration is always necessary, but as we tend to lose a lot of our body fluids through sweat in hot and humid weather it is important to pay extra attention to your hydration needs. The reason dehydration becomes a hazard to our bodies is due to the fact that the body is made up of more than 60 percent water!
When most of us think about hydration, we immediately think about drinking water. There is no standard recommendation for how much plain water we should be drinking daily. This is because there are many different beverages and foods that can be consumed to ensure proper hydration. Not all beverages will help with hydration, in other words not all beverages are created equally. Water is the best fluid to ensure hydration, as it keeps the body cool. Beverages to limit when you are trying to hydrate include: alcohol and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, teas and sodas. These beverages will actually place you at greater risk of dehydration because they pull fluids from your body.
Certain foods can also help with hydration because they contain high amounts of water. These foods include cucumber, tomatoes, green peppers, cauliflower, iceberg lettuce, watermelon, star fruit, strawberries, and cantaloupe. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season is more flavorful and nutritious because the fruits and vegetables are not processed or preserved. Fruits and vegetables that are out of season are usually less flavorful because once they have been harvested they begin to lose their nutritional value.
Top 5 In- SeasonFruits and vegetables that have high hydration percentages!
1.Watermelon : water content; 92%
One cup serving contains over a half cup of water, (118mg to be exact) in addition to fiber and several other nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A and magnesium. Watermelon is rich in powerful antioxidants, including lycopene. Lycopene gives watermelon its red color and has been studied for its ability to reduce oxidative damage to cells, which has been linked to diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
2. Strawberries: Water content: 91%
Furthermore, strawberries provide lots of fiber, disease-fighting antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate and manganese. Strawberries are also packed with antioxidants such as pelargonidin, ellagic acid, ellagitannins, and procyanidins. Eating strawberries on a regular basis has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can help protect against heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and various types of cancer.
3. Cantaloupe: Water content 90%
One cup of cantaloupe also contains 2 g of fiber per cup and vitamin A, providing 120% of your daily needs in a 1-cup serving. Studies have shown that vitamin A may boost immune health by protecting against infection. The two major antioxidants found in cantaloupe are Beta carotene and tocopherol which may help prevent cell damage caused by oxidative stress. There is evidence that eating foods high in these antioxidants may reduce the risk of lung, prostate, and other types of cancer.
4. Tomatoes: Water content: 94%
One medium tomato alone provides about a half cup (118 ml) of water.It also provides a significant amount of vitamins and minerals, including immune-boosting vitamins A and C. Tomatoes are rich in fiber and some disease-fighting antioxidants, including lycopene, which again give tomatoes their red color. Lycopene has been studied for its potential to lower the risk of heart disease and may help prevent the development of prostate cancer.
5. Cucumbers: Water content: 95%
Cucumbers are made up almost entirely of water and also provide a small amount of some nutrients, such as vitamin K, potassium and magnesium.Cucumbers contain several antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta-carotene and manganese, as well as flavonoids, triterpenes and lignans that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Need ideas on how to eat the foods above?
Fruits are always a great dessert
replacement. Fruit is often lower in
calories than cookies, cakes, pastries, etc
and contains fiber to slow your spike in
To conclude, stay safe, don’t go outside unless it is an emergency, eat healthy food and don’t forget the exercise piece.
Happy Nourishing Simple Living
Lavanya Kethamukkala, RDN, LDN, CLT