Water is the most important nutrient for your body and brain, but it’s also one of the hardest things to get enough of. We all know that drinking water is good for us, but how much should we be drinking? How often do we need to drink water? What are some foods that help you stay hydrated?
We have several different liquids in our bodies: blood, lymphatic fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, and tears. The ones that aren’t water include food, beverages like coffee and tea, and hormones. It takes a lot of work for your organs to convert these fluids into the water, so when they don’t have enough water, they just convert them into other compounds. But this doesn’t mean you should start drinking everything that’s not water! Some drinks contain a lot of sugar or caffeine, both of which dehydrate you. Make sure you consume plenty of H2O by having at least eight glasses of water per day.
- Eat Cucumbers Instead of Chips for a Hydrating Snack
- Get an Antioxidant Boost from Berries
- Drink Green Tea
- Trade Your Bread Bun for Iceberg Lettuce to Increase Your Water Intake
- Bell Peppers Are a LowCarb Hydrating Food
- Importance of Staying Hydrated
- Benefits of Staying Hydrated During Exercise
- Staying Hydrated Helps Prevent Muscle Cramps
- Hydrate Before and After Exercising
- How Much Water Should I Drink?
- Watermelon is juicy and hydrating
- Fruit juices are best enjoyed in moderation
- Celery has a high water content
- Tomatoes are a good source of potassium
- Cottage cheese can be hydrating
- Grapefruit has a high water content as well
- Carrots also have a high water content
- Radishes are water-rich
- Spinach is hydrating
- Parsley is hydrating
- Yogurt is shockingly hydrating
Eat Cucumbers Instead of Chips for a Hydrating Snack
Cucumber slices are a great snack because they’re hydrating and low-calorie. They fill you up with their water content (about 80 percent), while only containing five calories per slice. This means that you can eat four cucumber slices instead of a handful of chips without gaining weight. And since cucumbers are low in sodium, they won’t cause any unnecessary bloat either.
Get an Antioxidant Boost from Berries
Berries like blueberries and strawberries are packed full of antioxidants, which fight free radicals that damage cells. Free radicals are created during exercise, stress, and everyday activities like cooking, cleaning and even sleeping. These antioxidants neutralize free radicals before they can harm your cells.
Drink Green Tea
Green tea contains catechins, which are powerful antioxidants that protect against cancer and heart disease. In fact, green tea has been shown to prevent certain types of cancers. Drinking three cups of green tea every day may reduce your risk of colon cancer by 30 percent. If you enjoy black tea, make sure you buy 100 percent pure organic teas. Black tea leaves are oxidized after processing, and this causes harmful chemicals called polyphenols to form. Polyphenols are linked to increased risks of breast cancer, liver problems, and cardiovascular diseases.
Trade Your Bread Bun for Iceberg Lettuce to Increase Your Water Intake
Bread buns are made mostly of carbs, which will give you energy. However, if you want to increase your daily water intake, try swapping out bread buns for iceberg lettuce. Lettuce is lower in carbohydrates than bread, and it’s also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, it tastes delicious!
Bell Peppers Are a LowCarb Hydrating Food
When you think about bell peppers, you probably think about red, yellow, orange, and green pepper varieties. Bell peppers are actually very low in carbohydrates, making them a perfect choice for increasing your daily water intake. One cup of raw chopped bell peppers contains only 10 grams of carbohydrates. That’s less than half a bagel!
Importance of Staying Hydrated
Your body needs water to function properly. Dehydration can lead to headaches, dizziness, fatigue, constipation, muscle cramps, and more. When you don’t drink enough water, your kidneys remove excess salt from your bloodstream. This leads to dehydration, which makes your muscles feel weak and tired. You might experience dry skin, too.
Benefits of Staying Hydrated During Exercise
Staying hydrated helps you perform better during physical activity. For example, research shows that athletes who drank at least eight glasses of water each day had improved endurance compared to those who didn’t drink as much.
Staying Hydrated Helps Prevent Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramping occurs when the nerves in your muscles send pain signals to the brain. The brain interprets these signals as pain, causing you to tense your muscles. To avoid muscle cramps, stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.
Hydrate Before and After Exercising
If you’re planning on exercising, be sure to drink plenty of water beforehand. It’ll help you avoid getting dehydrated. And when you finish your workout, remember to drink some water to replenish lost electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride that help regulate fluid balance in your body.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
Watermelon is juicy and hydrating
It’s no secret that watermelons are tasty and full of nutrients. But did you know they have even more benefits? They contain 90% water, so they’re an excellent source of hydration. Plus, they’re low in calories and high in vitamin C, B6, folate, potassium, and lycopene. So next time you reach for a slice of watermelon, enjoy it guilt-free. Each half cup of diced watermelon contains about 90 calories and 4 grams of protein.
Fruit juices are best enjoyed in moderation
Juice is often touted as being healthy because it provides all the nutrition found in fruits and vegetables. But fruit juice isn’t always the healthiest option. Some types of fruit juice include apple cider vinegar (ACV), cranberry juice cocktail, grapefruit juice, lemonade, orange juice, pineapple juice, and tomato juice. These juices may not provide the same amount of fiber or other nutrients as whole foods. Also, if you consume large amounts of fruit juice, you could end up with diarrhea.
Juice is also loaded with sugar. A 12-ounce glass of 100 percent juice has approximately 20 teaspoons of added sugars. If you prefer unsweetened beverages, try adding one teaspoon of honey to each cup of juice. Or, make your own homemade juice using fresh fruit and vegetable purees.
Celery has a high water content
Celery contains about 80% water, making it a great snack for staying hydrated. Celery is also rich in vitamins K and C, plus it’s packed with antioxidants. Try celery sticks dipped in hummus or guacamole for dipping. You can also add celery to soups, salads, sandwiches, stews, and casseroles.
Tomatoes are a good source of potassium
Potassium is vital for maintaining proper blood pressure. Potassium is also important for regulating nerve impulses and muscle contractions. Tomatoes are a good source, providing about 70 milligrams of potassium per medium tomato. For comparison, a banana provides only 25 milligrams.
Tomatoes are also a good source of vitamins A and C. Vitamin A helps maintain strong bones and teeth. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption, which promotes energy production.
Cottage cheese can be hydrating
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to stay hydrated, cottage cheese is a great choice. One cup of cottage cheese contains about 200 calories and 7 grams of protein. It also offers 10 grams of carbohydrate and 5 grams of fat. The calcium in cottage cheese helps build strong bones and teeth. And it’s high in sodium, so choose lower-fat varieties when possible.
Grapefruit has a high water content as well
The high water content of grapefruits makes them a great snack for keeping hydrated. Grapefruit is also a great source of vitamin C, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, and potassium.
Carrots also have a high water content
One cup of cooked carrots contains about 140 calories and 8 grams of protein. Carrots are also a good source of both vitamin A and vitamin C. Both these vitamins help promote bone growth and prevent premature aging.
Radishes are water-rich
A single serving of radishes packs more than 50% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Radishes are also an excellent source of folate, a B vitamin that plays a role in cell division and DNA synthesis. They contain no cholesterol, saturated fats, trans fats, or sodium.
Spinach is hydrating
Spinach is another food that’s high in water. One cup of cooked spinach contains about 150 calories and 6 grams of protein. Spinach is also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. All of these nutrients play a role in promoting healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Parsley is hydrating
Parsley is a member of the carrot family. Like other members of this group, parsley is high in water. One tablespoon of chopped parsley contains about 30 calories and 2 grams of protein. It’s also a good source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid.
Yogurt is shockingly hydrating
Yogurt is surprisingly hydrating. One cup of plain yogurt contains about 100 calories and 9 grams of protein. Yogurt is also a good source of calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and zinc. These nutrients all contribute to building strong bones and teeth.
There are many foods that can help you stay hydrated throughout the day. Some are better choices than others, but they all provide some benefit. Try one of these options each day and see how you feel!