Water-rich foods to keep you hydrated
With increased summertime temperatures and sunshine, now is the ideal time for enjoying the outdoors. But whether you’re spending time walking through your neighbourhood, playing at the park, or enjoying a meal on the deck, it’s important to keep your body hydrated for optimal physical and mental performance.
If you are doing outdoor physical activity or spending long periods of time in the sun, dehydration can occur if you’re not drinking enough or losing fluids via sweat. Dehydration can cause fatigue and headaches, impact mood and memory, and increase the likelihood of cramps and dizziness.
Fluid needs vary from person to person, and depend on a number of factors such as your age, gender, activity level, and overall health. As a general rule, most adults need six to eight cups (1.5 – 2 litres) of water a day. But you don’t have to get caught up in tracking how much water you’re drinking. Instead, you can help meet your fluid needs by consuming water-rich foods to keep your body hydrated and refreshed throughout the day:
Soups and broths
Choosing water-based soups and broths makes for a hydrating and nutritious combination. Soups are generally low in calories and can help you feel full. In fact, research shows that consuming soup before a main meal can help reduce food intake. You can boost the nutrition content of any soup or broth by adding water-rich vegetables such as carrots, onions, celery, broccoli, and tomatoes.
Summertime tip: Try gazpacho, a cold soup that makes a perfect summertime dish. This hearty vegetable soup is rich in fibre and bursting with flavour and freshness.
A summertime classic, watermelon is a low calorie, hydrating fruit. Each one cup serving of watermelon contains only 46 calories and provides more than half a cup of water – plus, it’s a ZeroPoint food on most plans. Watermelon’s deep pink hue is due to its rich content of lycopene, an antioxidant that is important for overall good health. It is also a good source of fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium.
Summertime tip: For a refreshing appetizer, thread pieces of watermelon and cucumber onto skewers, followed by a chunk of feta cheese and a mint leaf. Store in the fridge and drizzle with balsamic vinegar or olive oil before serving.
Summertime salads are a healthy mealtime option that can easily boost your hydration levels. Although lettuce isn’t packed with the same level of nutrients as its dark leafy green counterparts (think spinach, kale, and Swiss chard), it is a good source of water. It also contains fibre, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K, which supports bone health.
Summertime tip: To further boost the hydrating power of lettuce, toss it with a variety of water-rich vegetables, such as cucumbers and capsicum. You can also add some dark leafy greens such as spinach for additional nutrients.
A tomato’s weight is made up of almost 94 percent water, so now is a great time to enjoy the ripe and juicy ones found in the shops, growing in your garden, or at the local farmer’s market. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as the mineral potassium which is important for heart health and fluid balance. They make a great snack on their own or can be incorporated into a variety of light summer dishes.
Summertime tip: You can make a basic salsa fresca (pico de gallo) by combining freshly chopped and seeded tomatoes with garlic, onion, jalapenos, cumin, and coriander. Serve with fresh vegetables or baked pita chips.
Yoghurt contains a high content of water, along with important nutrients such as protein and calcium. Opt for plain yoghurt more often than fruit-flavoured options, as it will contain less sugar and be a more hydrating option.
Summertime tip: Mix plain yoghurt with water-rich berries, such as strawberries or blueberries, and blend with ice for a refreshing summer smoothie. You can also pour the smoothie mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for a refreshing treat.
While your hydration needs increase in the warm summer months, you don’t have to rely solely on water or other beverages to meet your fluid needs. Filling your plate with lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, and some dairy products is an easy and delicious way to get the water your body needs.