By now you’ve thrown out foods masquerading as “healthy”, have a pre-run breakfast routine down, and know your limits on alcohol and weight loss. But have you taken a serious look at how hydrated you are? While health tips and diet plans crowd every corner of the internet, it’s easy for hydration to take a backseat (meanwhile, nutrition drives and meal-prep calls shotgun).
Think you’re exempt from some improvement in the water department? I bring a large water bottle to the gym. I drink a glass of water first thing upon waking up. Of course, I stay hydrated, I work out/am an athlete/value my life. We know, we do too, but it’s far easier than it seems to fall into the habit of not giving yourself enough H2O— especially when “enough” has become a mystery formula or number (seriously, just how much water is everyone alluding to?). The age-old eight cups a day standby has been debunked over and over.
“Water is the key component of our body,” affirmed Anna Baker, one of the three nutritionists we talked to. “Every, cell, tissue, and organ is dependent on having enough H2O. Our body should be between 50-60 percent water, with at least 30 percent of this water being in our cells.” This isn’t just an empty statistic. “Water is needed to regulate our internal condition, maintain our temperature and pH, lubricate our joints, and is a vital element in waste elimination.” Along with these crucial functions, she also credits staying hydrated to heightened mental clarity, disease prevention, soft skin, and a healthier body weight.
How to Hydrate Without Water
So when every literal fiber of your being needs a steady flow of water, we’re under the impression that we can never be too safe. Does this mean you have to guzzle bottle after bottle or sip straight from the Brita? Absolutely not (thank, God). Those who find it hard to drink a ton of the stuff, rejoice because there’s a better way to stay hydrated throughout the rest of the summer (and, not to mention, your life).
“Drinking water every day is important, especially in the hot summer months. However, it is recommended that you should aim to [get] at least 20 percent of your daily water intake from foods,” Baker noted. Tara Coleman, Clinical Nutritionist, was in agreement. “When it comes to hydrating foods it is important to remember that fruits & vegetables are about 90 percent water. So a cup of chopped fruit almost equals a cup of water!”
Does any fruit or vegetable work? Generally speaking, yes. But if optimal hydration is what you’re after, we’ve got it covered. Here are three nutritionists’ recommended foods to keep you at peak hydration.
Anna Baker is a Certified Nutritionist, as well as Founder and Head of Nutrition at Nutrition Journey in Los Angeles. Her program focuses on a balanced way of life, aiming to make her clients resilient and happy through one-on-one consultations and personalized plans.
Elissa Goodman is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Cleanse Expert, and Bestselling Author. Based in LA, she promotes a blend of conventional and holistic nutrition. Goodman works personally with clients to craft a tailored wellness program that boasts true health from the inside and out for each individual.
Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist that specializes in sports nutrition, weight loss, and binge eating disorder. Besides owning her own private practice in San Diego, she’s also a nutrition expert for the likes of NBC, FOX, Runners World, Prevention, Cosmopolitan, and Dr. Oz Magazine.
With each of their input, we’ve put together the ultimate list of foods that’ll keep you healthy and hydrated. Add them to your grocery/AmazonFresh/FreshDirect/whatever list ASAP.
- Cucumber (96.7% water)
Cucumbers boast the highest water content, are packed with vitamin K and vitamin B, and are a good iron source. Plus they contain no cholesterol.
- Iceberg Lettuce (95.6%)
The leafy green with the highest water content, iceberg is also full of vitamin K and vitamin A for healthy blood, eyes, and skin.
- Celery (95.4% water)
High in water, potassium, vitamin K, and fiber (à la crunch).
- Radishes (95.3%water)
A great source of water, antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Click ‘add to cart’ immediately.
- Green Peppers (93.9% water)
These peppers not only have impressive levels of H2O but a notable amount of vitamin C.
- Strawberries (92% water)
These have the highest water content of all the berries, they’re also high in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
- Watermelon (91.5% water)
Watermelon doesn’t have the highest water content of all foods ever but it’s still way up there. It also contains water, salt, calcium, and magnesium levels that make it a super-hydrator. No wonder it’s a summer staple.
- Cantaloupe (90.2%)
Not only high in water, these melons are enriched with the electrolyte potassium.
Electrolytes are Essential
With all this talk of hydrating, Baker was quick to add, “Hydration is more than just consuming water. It is consuming water [along] with the right nutrients for proper [absorption] to keep the water balanced both inside and outside the cells.” She added that balancing nutrients include sodium, magnesium, potassium, and chloride. Foods that have these can promote hydration on the cellular level from the inside out.
Coleman went on to explain the importance of replenishing electrolytes after exercising, as well as what electrolytes actually are (because, really, who knows?). “Electrolytes are the ions that help our bodies absorb the water that we drink. [They especially] need to be replenished when we are sweating in the hot summer sun.”
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Goodman and Coleman’s solution? Homemade drinks: another not-boring way of not only hydrating but also getting those electrolytes in. “This allows me to know exactly what is going into it, as well as make it suit my own personal taste preferences,” said Coleman. “In [my] recipes the electrolytes come from the Himalayan pink sea salt, naturally occurring in the fruit, raw honey, and the herbs.”
Check out their quick recipes below!
Goodman’s Superfood Electrolyte Drink
1 juiced orange
1 tsp turmeric
Filtered water (to your liking)
Eidon liquid electrolytes
A couple drops of stevia or sweetener
Coleman’s Minty Watermelon Electrolyte Drink
1 ½ cups water
1 cup diced watermelon
4 mint leaves
Juice of 1 lime (1/4 cup juiced)
1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Blend and serve chilled
Coleman’s Sweet Citrus Electrolyte Drink
2 cups water
Juice of 1 orange (1/2 cup juice)
Juice of 1 lemon (1/4 cup juiced)
1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1-2 tbsp organic raw honey (optional)
Blend and served chilled.