It’s a fact: When temperatures rise, it’s even more important you get the doctor recommended 9 cups of daily fluids for women and 12 for men. Water is your best choice for hydration. After all, it’s non-caloric, sugar-free, and caffeine-free. It's also a better thirst quencher than sugar-laden drinks.
Does that mean you must float away on a tsunami of liquids? Not at all. Food is another good source of H2O. A typical 2,000 calorie diet, provided it's balanced, provides 2-3 cups of water just in food. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, are 90% or more water. Better yet, water-rich food you eat will satisfy hunger better than water you drink.
The Water Content in Common Foods
Fruits and vegetables: a whopping 80-95%
Hot cereal: a healthy 85%
Egg, boiled: 75% (who knew?)
Fish and seafood: a juicy 60-85%
Meats: 45-65% (meh)
Bread: 35-40% (uh-oh, getting dry…)
Cheese: 35% (parched)
Nuts: 2-5% (could it get any drier?)
Oil: 0% (yes!)
Source: Bowes & Church’s Food Values of Portions Commonly Used
How do you incorporate more water-rich foods into your diet? Simple. The change will shake up your taste buds, too, and possibly slim your waistline. Enjoy fruits with your breakfast, such as a chilled grapefruit half (90% water) or berries as a topping to cereal or pancakes. For lunch, a tossed salad of seasonal lettuces (96% water) can act as a starter or entrée, with the addition of more veggies. For a snack, serve broccoli flowerets (89% water) with a yogurt dip. Later, look for every opportunity to plump up dinner dishes – pizza, pasta, stir fry, or sandwiches – with extra vegetables. Go with your favorites, such as onion, peppers, and yellow squash, but don’t shy away from trying new ones. Keep dessert simple with a refreshing, tart mango-ice. Last, don’t undo all your good work by eating “thirsty” foods such as dried fruits or high-fiber cereal, which siphon water from your intestines.
How are you doing with eating water-rich foods? We want to hear from you!
Jebra Turner is a health reporter and former H.R. director for an ergonomics-focused firm, where she oversaw workplace health and safety training programs for staff and clients. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and you can visit her online at www.jebra.com.