Creative Ways to Stay Optimally Hydrated (That Don't Involve Drinking More Water)
Staying optimally hydrated is key for staying optimally healthy. Studies link dehydration to cognitive and physical delays, as well as fatigue, headaches, insomnia, and a slew of other health issues. And that goes for skin, too. Bright, bouncy, dewy skin comes from adequate water consumption. A general rule of thumb is for women to consume about nine eight-ounce glasses of water per day and men several glasses more. But since about 20 percent of our water intake is through food, there are many ways to stay hydrated without having to drink more. Some experts say water consumed via certain vegetables and plants—also referred to as gel or structured water—offers our bodies more efficient hydration.
To stay hydrated this summer—and year round—consider eating the following water-rich, nutrient-dense whole foods:
Avocado: This meaty green fruit is high in mono-unsaturated fats, which raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.
Sweet Corn: High in healthy fats and vitamin B sweet corn is also abundant in trace minerals, which help to balance your body’s water content, flush out toxins, and act as electrolytes.
Cabbage: This water-packed cruciferous vegetable can provide around 20 percent of your daily Vitamin C and K content. It’s also a great source of Vitamin B6, fiber, and folic acid.
Pineapple, Mango, and Papaya: Perfect for summer, each of these juicy tropical fruits are chock full of water, and Vitamin C, which helps balance water circulation in the body by strengthening capillary walls and reducing fluid leakage.
The quality, origins, and preparations of your foods can impact its hydrating power. Buy locally grown, organic produce when possible.(Shipped foods are picked before they are ripe and lose water and nutrients in transport.) And choose fresh produce over frozen or dehydrated varieties. (Thawing and cooking frozen food drives water and valuable nutrients out of it.)
And lastly, try these easy, healthy swaps to up your water intake:
- Wrap a sandwich in kale or another dark leafy green.
- Use tofu to thicken sauces when cooking (so much healthier than dry processed flours).
- Skip the crackers and dip radishes and sweet potato rounds into hummus.
- Eat protein-rich Greek yogurt instead of ice cream for dessert (yogurt is high in water and promotes beneficial bacteria for digestive health).
- Make lean, broth-based soups and pack them with vegetables and protein. They're a satisfying and hydrating way to fill up.