We all know that water is the most vital nutrient in our bodies. And, while there’s no doubt that a tall glass of H2O is the best way to hydrate, there are plenty of other options if you’re struggling to drink the recommended three liters a day. Of course, water should be your go-to tonic all summer long – it’s cheap and calorie-free – but many people find guzzling gallons of the clear stuff a bit of a challenge. So, if you’re struggling to hit the recommended allowance, use these tips to quench that summer thirst.
Studies suggest that around 20% of our daily H2O intake should come from foods. And, while soup and yogurt are all brilliant fluid-filled foods, these summer-friendly fruits and veggies steal the limelight. So, next time you’re thirsty, try piling these on your plate.
• Watermelon – The clue is in the name. This refreshing fruit is made up of 92% water, so it’s a brilliant source of hydration. Plus, the summer staple is packed with salt, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C, calcium and magnesium, making it ideal for rehydration. This juicy melon is also a brilliant source of lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant. Top tip? Mix watermelon with water and keep a water pitcher in the fridge for a refreshing treat.
• Celery – We all know celery boasts minimal calories (about 6 per stalk) but it also tops the charts with massive 95% water content. This crunchy green is also high in fiber and rich in minerals like potassium and vitamins A, C, and K, but it isn't packed with nutrients. However, due to its high water content, it can neutralize stomach acid and is often recommended as a remedy for acid reflux or heartburn.
• Iceberg Lettuce – While this crispy salad staple boasts 96% water, unfortunately, it’s not known for much else. Butterhead lettuce, romaine and spinach all contain higher amounts of fiber and nutrients such as folic acid and vitamin K, but, when temperatures rise iceberg can take center stage. Stuff your salad with it, or pile it onto a sandwich. If you’re having a BBQ, ditch the buns and use the leaves to wrap your burger.
• Cucumbers – We’ve all heard the saying: As cool as a cucumber. But did you know that this green veggie steals the number one spot on the list of water-packed foods? At 96% water, it’s perfect in salads or served with a tasty dip. Cucumbers also boast zero saturated fat or cholesterol and are full of vitamin K, vitamin B6, and iron. Want to exploit the cucumber's hydrating power even more? Try blending it with nonfat yogurt, as a refreshing accompaniment to any meal. Or add slices of English cucumber, which are seedless, to a jug of water for the perfect refreshment.
• Strawberries - Even without the cream, strawberries are a sweet treat; the fact that they are 92% water is just a bonus. Plus, these berries are brimming with fiber and vitamin C. Use these tasty treats in a smoothie or just graze on a bowl as you relax in the afternoon – we know we do.
• Radishes - These refreshing root vegetables should have a permanent pace on your summer menu. Perfect for salads, they give a kick of spicy-sweet flavor, and more importantly they're filled with antioxidants. At 95% water, radishes made a crunchy and hydrating addition to your healthy summer coleslaw.
• Tomatoes – This red salad staple is a mainstay all year round but make more use of it in summer since it is full of water. Sweet cherry and grape tomatoes also make a hydrating snack. Hosting a summer soiree? Skewer grape tomatoes, basil leaves, and mozzarella on toothpicks for an easy and nutritious appetizer.
• Grapefruit – At 90% water content, this fruit is less hydrating than some other fruits, but this juicy, tangy food can also help lower cholesterol and shrink your waistline. Researchers say that this citrus fruit helps burn fat and stabilize blood sugar.
While most beverages will help contribute to your daily water intake, there are a few which also boast some extra benefits.
• Fat-free or skimmed milk – We all know milk is an excellent source of calcium, especially for kids. But research also suggests that milk is better than sports drinks for rehydration and recovery after exercise. Just remember to choose a low-fat version.
• Coconut water – We all love it, and many of us already buy it and devour it regularly. But, now there’s a healthy and hydrating reason to go nuts for this tropical beverage. Unlike sports drinks, coconut water isn’t full of carbohydrates! However, it is still packed with potassium goodness. Top tip? Look out for the unsweetened varieties for the best hydrating qualities.
• Smoothies – Slurping a homemade smoothie stuffed with fruits and veggies is a great way to combine your favorite flavors and pack in loads of nutrients for a healthy, quick and delicious snack. What more could you want?
• Sports drinks – As well as the electrolytes and protein included in most sports drinks, the sugar and sodium can help your body recover after a grueling workout lasting over 90 minutes. But be warned, don’t slurp these down after works that clock in at under 90 minutes, because it means a lot of extra carbs and calories you don’t need.
OK, we get it, water can get pretty boring – especially if you are drinking your recommended daily allowance. But instead of ruining this pure resource with artificial flavorings, opt to go "au natur
al". Give your H2O a makeover and drop in some tasty watermelon chunks, or squeeze in some lemon and mint. Even better? Why not add some tangy orange slices to your pitcher? To let the taste develop put it in the fridge for a few hours.
Foods that have been processed, and lack nutrition are highly acidic to the body and create water retention to thin out toxicity. This cycle dehydrates the body as it strives to flush out the waste.
Feeling thirsty? Well, that means you're dehydrated! We know it’s easy to forget about hydrating until you begin to feel a little parched, but by that time, its already too late. Set a reminder once an hour to refill your glass and replenish your snack bowl.
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