With the sun beating down in the summer months, it's important to stay hydrated. (Want to know how much water you should really be drinking? Check out our guide.) But don't limit yourself to sucking down glasses of water! There are other ways to stay hydrated and have increased energy to boot.
"Hydrating fruits and vegetables are packed with electrolytes like magnesium and potassium," explains Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com, author of the best-selling books KETO DIET and COLLAGEN DIET, and host of the podcast, The Dr. Axe Show. "The body needs these nutrients to combat electrolyte imbalance, which aids hydration. Although drinking water alone is important, getting water from foods provides the nutrients you need to thrive, so it is also critical."
Lisa Richards, nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet, notes that in cases of dehydration, getting water from food rather than drinking it plain could actually help you fight symptoms more quickly for this very reason.
"Electrolytes are essential to proper hydration as they keep the body's pH balanced and are otherwise lost through sweat along with diarrhea, burns, and even kidney failure," she explains. "Mild dehydration may be remedied through plain drinking water, but moderate dehydration requires potassium and sodium to be replaced. In this way foods can be more hydrating than plain water."
These nine hydrating foods are perfect for summertime; not only will you be adding extra water to your diet, but you'll be getting extra natural sugars for quick energy on draining, humid, hot days.
As its name suggests, watermelon is made up of more than 90 percent water. Refreshing and sweet, watermelon is perfect as a quick cure to the beginnings of dehydration, with a boost of energy from the sugar that will help stave off symptoms as the water is absorbed by your body. It is also rich in potassium, an important electrolyte. Try using watermelon in a fresh watermelon sorbet or freezing individual slices on sticks for the easiest popsicle ever.
Cucumbers are 95 percent water; it's no wonder that so many people place cucumber slices in their pitchers of water for a refreshing summertime beverage (or use them to hydrate tired eyes!) Cucumbers also contain essential vitamins like C, A, B6, and K, making them a healthy and refreshing snack. Try them in homemade fizzy cucumber lemonade for a refreshing, non-alcoholic beverage on a hot summer's day.
Not only are oranges packed full of vitamin C and fiber, but they're also full of water – about 88 percent, in fact. Plain orange slices are perfect on a hot day for a burst of energy and added hydration.
Richards highlights antioxidant quality of oranges, which can help fight inflammation and improve overall health.
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"These plant compounds do more than just fight free radical damage," she says. "For instance, the citric acid content of oranges prevents kidney stones by binding to the calcium oxalate and removing it from the body."
Enjoy oranges in a delicious orange salad with watercress and beets.
Sweet strawberries may taste like pure heaven, but they're actually more than 90 percent water! They're perfect for snacking on in the summertime, when they're in season and widely available at your local farmers markets. Try them in a delicious and refreshing chilled strawberry soup.
Celery is 96 percent water, so if you're really in need of a hydrating snack, this is the right place to turn. Try it in a refreshing mint and celery salad or juice your celery.
6. Iceberg Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce has gotten a bad rap of late. As compared to some of our other favorite salad greens like kale and spinach, it's fairly low in nutrients, but what it lacks in vitamins and minerals, it more than makes up for in water content. Iceberg boasts a whopping 96 percent water; try it tossed with a simple vinaigrette with cucumbers and cubed watermelon for a delicious, refreshing summer salad.
Peaches are rich in flavor – and in water! These summer fruits are made up of 89 percent water, and they're plentiful on farmer's market stands in summer months. Grilled and tossed in a salad, they're a refreshing summer treat. Peaches are a delicious dessert too.
Tomatoes are 95 percent water, so this summertime staple is perfect for hydration. Tomatoes are also rich in antioxidant lycopene, which research shows may protect against sunburns – the perfect added bonus this time of year. Eat them plain or tossed with olive oil for a delicious summertime salad.
Grapefruit is a whopping 88 percent water, and with its juicy texture and subtle sweetness, it couldn't be more refreshing. It is also rich in citric acid, which some research has shown may be effective at preventing kidney stones by increasing the volume and pH of urine. Tossed with thinly sliced fennel, grapefruit makes a delicious salad.
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