One of the most overlooked and most powerful part of staying healthy and beautiful is hydration. Our bodies are mostly water, and water within our systems helps regulate, heal and maintain our bodies. Unfortunately, especially during summer, a lot of people overlook staying hydrated. However, the secret in keeping your body hydrated may lie in more than just consuming x glasses per day.
Sports Drinks are Not The Answer
Sports drinks often do contain electrolytes (which are really just salts) but they also usually contain an arsenal of processed sugars, artificial flavors, colorings and other harmful ingredients. Good examples of those are Gatorade and Vitamin Water.
Take a look at these ingredients in Gatorate, where the drink is packed with hardly recognizable ingredients, artificial flavors, coloring, and over 20 grams of sugar! These sports drinks promise electrolytes and hydration, but you get more than you bargained for.
Secret To Hydration
A study by University of Aberdeen Medical School found that some veggies and fruits may be twice as effective as water in hydrating your body. They not only contain high amounts of water but also minerals, salts, sugars and other key ingredients that are lost or consumed during workouts. Your body depends on an intricate balance of nutrients and those nutrients are not replenished by simply drinking filtered water.
So what’s the best way to hydrate? While you should drink a ton of water, you should not solely rely on filtered water for hydration. Foods can also be a great way to hydrate yourself and also to provide your body key nutrients. Fruit or veggie infused water, smoothies and consuming veggies and fruits high in water content are all great and necessary options. Here are veggies and fruits that have the highest water content and some creative ways to utilize them in your diet through out the day.
H₂O content: 96.7%
Cucumbers contain most water out of any food. It has a high content of Vitamin C and caffeic acid (used by supplements that are made for improving athletic performance), and the combination of these can help smooth the skin. Due to it’s very high water content and great mineral balance, cucumbers can be twice as affective in hydrating as plain water.
2. Iceberg Lettuce
H₂O content: 95.6%
Iceberg lettuce tends to be ditched by the health experts for the darker greens, which have more nutritional value. But when it comes to hydration and water content, iceberg lettuce is number two on the list. Lettuce is a fantastic alternative to gluten-filled wraps.
H₂O content: 95.4%
Celery sticks can help replenish your levels of sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and calcium. Celery is not kids’ favorite snack, but you can turn it into one by adding some organic peanut butter and raisins.
A great addition to any salad, aside from 95% water, radishes provide a good dose of antioxidants as well.
Tomatoes are a summer favorite and are added nearly in everything that says summer – burgers, pizzas, salads and more. Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin c and biotin and are otherwise very nutrient dense fruit. These tomato sliders are one way to hydrate yourself in a delicious way.
6. Green Peppers
While all peppers are relatively good at hydrating, green peppers contain the highest amount of water at nearly 94%. The inside volume of peppers make it an ideal candidate for stuffing. They are perfect for nearly every occasion, as shown by this gluten-free stuffed pepper recipe.
A 2002 study of breast cancer patients showed that eating veggies like broccoli and cauliflower was associated with a lower rate of dying of the disease. While cauliflower is not known for any special taste, it is packed with key phytonutrients and vitamins as well. Cauliflowers are very versatile and can be made into just about anything, even soup.
Watermelon has the reputation of being one of the most delicious hydrators ever. It also contains a good amount of vitamin a, c and lycopene.
Just one cup of spinach per day can contain 15% of your recommended intake of vitamin e, which helps fight free radicals. Pack them in a sandwich for added hydration.
With all the deliciousness of strawberries, we forget that it contains 91% water. Blueberries and blackberries also contain a good amount of water. Strawberry ice cubes are a fantastic idea to add more nutrients and hydrate yourself better. Try to buy strawberries organic as they typically contain a lot of pesticides.
Aside from being fun to say, a full papaya contains 220% of the recommended value of vitamin c. It’s also rich in folate, fiber, vitamin a and magnessium. If your summer is not hot enough, spice it up with some Caribbean style hot sauce that utilized papaya.
Manganese, phosphorus and calcium are all hiding within your broccoli. It is considered one of the world’s healthiest veggies. Add some eggs, curry powder, sea salt and pepper and you got yourself a delicious broccoli-filled breakfast.
Grapefruits are sour and sweet hydrating machines with over 90.5% water content. While they are not commonly used in recipes, you can easily whip up this recipe by grilling a grapefruit with added brown sugar, walnuts, greek yogurt and cinnamon. Find the full recipe here. Just be aware that applying any heat may actually dry out the grapefruit and make it less hydrating.
14. Baby carrots
Carrots boast a long list of vitamins and nutrients like a, k, c, b6 and more. But baby carrots contain the most amount of water at 90.4%.
A quarter of a full cantaloupe can deliver your full recommended serving of vitamin a and c. Prosciutto-wrapped melon balls is one way to utilize this awesome fruit.
Load Up on Electrolytes
Your body needs electrolytes, especially during and after a workout. The best natural sources of electrolytes are:
- Green Beans
- Sweet Potatoes