Eight ounces of water, eight times a day… That’s the guideline we have been taught to keep our bodies well-hydrated. The hotter the day, and the more vigorous your workout, the more important good hydration is to your health. Sounds reasonable, right? But, it’s not always as easy as it sounds. If you struggle to choke down 64 ounces of water a day, maybe you should look at another way to “feed” your body’s thirst – by eating water-rich foods.
You certainly can’t replace all of your body’s water with food. In fact, only about 20% of your intake of water should come from food, with the other 80% coming from water and other fluids. However, knowing which foods are high in water content, can help you meet your hydration goals, with a healthy side effect…the addition of nutrients simply not found in water and many other beverages. Water-rich fruits and vegetables act as a two-in-one meal and drink, providing mineral salts, natural sugars, amino acids and vitamins that are lost in exercise, while quieting your hunger, the way water can’t.
As an example, let’s look at just a few water-rich foods and what they provide from a nutritional standpoint.
rich in potassium and sodium, and a great source of antioxidants
rich in sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, iron and zinc
rich in calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium
rich in Vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene.
Note the high percentage of water found in some common fruits and vegetables.
Cucumber – 96%
Lettuce (iceberg) – 96%
Celery – 95%
Tomato – 94%
Strawberries – 92%
Watermelon – 92%
Cabbage – 92%
Broccoli – 91%
Grapefruit – 91%
Oranges – 87%
Apple – 84%
Grapes – 81%
Source: University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Bowes & Church’s Food Values, 1994.
We all know that during exercise our bodies lose electrolytes through sweat. Replenishing lost electrolytes is the whole premise behind sports drinks. But fresh fruits and veggies like the ones on the previous page can replenish our bodies, too – without all of the artificial colors and flavors.
By consciously including more water-rich fruits and vegetables along with our daily intake of water, we can hydrate our bodies and add the vital nutrients and fiber to our diet – a winning combination, whether we are training for a marathon, or just trying to keep the family hydrated after a day of activity in the heat of summer.
Weight Loss Benefits of Water-Rich Foods
• Foods that incorporate water tend to look larger, giving you the impression that you have consumed more.
• The higher volume of these foods provides greater oral stimulation, enhancing satisfaction with the amount of food eaten.
• When water is bound to food, it slows down absorption and lasts longer in the body.