When it comes to taking care of your health and fitness, it doesn’t have to be tough. Adding simple things such as high-intensity incidental physical activity and drinking more water can help support your overall health and fitness.
As summer approaches and the days become hotter, it will become more important to your health to ensure you are properly hydrated. If you don’t want to just throw back more water, you can keep hydrated by eating these 7 foods.
Melons like watermelons and cantaloupe are 90% water, sometimes a bit more, making them some of the best sources of dietary hydration. Along with their high levels of hydration, melons also have a decent amount of fiber, helping to fill you up with healthy nutrition.
You can also get other nutrients from melons such as vitamin A, antioxidants, magnesium, and vitamin C. Also, as melons are low calorie, you can enjoy a cup of watermelon or cantaloupe for under 50 calories, making it an excellent snack for someone looking to lose weight.
Along with eating the melons fresh, here are some ideas of how to prepare melons:
- Use them as fruit bowls then eat the bowl
- Add to a smoothie
- Experiment with melon on pizza
Almost completely made of water, cucumbers are excellent hydrating food. While they aren’t overly rich in nutrient, they do have some like potassium, vitamin K, and magnesium.
Also, cucumbers are even lower in calories than melons, allowing you to enjoy a cup of cucumbers for only 16 calories. As lowering your calorie intake is a key part of losing weight, this refreshing vegetable is a great addition to any weight loss meal plan.
Cucumbers can be easily eaten raw, either on their own or dipped in various sauces. A couple of other ideas to help you incorporate cucumbers into your diet are:
- Throw some chopped cucumber into a stir-fry
- Add it into sandwiches for a satisfying crunch
- Incorporate into a poke bowl
It may seem funny, but soup with a broth base can be an easy way to bring more hydrating food into your life. As broths are generally water-based flavoring, you can just consume that by itself if you like. However, you can also beef it up with various dense foods such as beans, lentils, rice, carrots, and other high-fiber foods to help add you feel more full after eating.
Another reason to add greater hydration with soups is if you are working out and need to replace your sodium levels. During workouts, you lose a large amount of salt as you sweat and it needs to be replaced to maintain the fluid balance in your body.
Some soup recipes you may want to try are:
Now, I’m not talking about pasta or potato salads. While those are delicious, if you are looking for a hydrating salad, then you will need a lettuce-based salad. Most lettuces, from romaine to butter lettuce, have a water content of 92-96%, making them incredibly hydrating as well as fiber-rich.
You can also mix in other leafy vegetables such as spinach, dandelion greens, arugula, kale, and others to boost the nutrient density of any salad. That way, you can pick up both vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, folate, and other nutrients.
Also, the leafy base of salads is very low in calories, though if you use calorie-dense dressings and toppings, that can bring up the number of calories you consume. Some low-calorie toppings you may want to put on your salad are:
- Fresh fruit for extra hydration or dried fruit for more texture
- Beans for additional fiber and protein
- A ¼ cup of seeds or nuts for texture, protein, and healthy fat
Funny enough, out of the hydrating foods I have talked about, citrus fruits have some of the lowest water content, even though they are 88% made of water. Citruses such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes have a great deal of fiber, along with potassium and vitamin C.
These water-rich fruits can also help in reducing inflammation, assist with feeling full, boost your immune system, and help prevent kidney stones. Some tasty ways to incorporate citrus are:
- Throw slices on a salad
- Add them to smoothies
- Use citrus in a fresh salsa
Okay, out of this list of hydrating foods, cooked grains like rice, quinoa, and oatmeal aren’t as high in water content as the fruits and vegetable. However, cooked grains do absorb a good deal of water as they are cooked so they can be a great addition to your overall diet.
Also, cooked grains can be an excellent source of slow-burning carbohydrates. This type of carbs can provide long-lasting fuel whether you are going to work out or just need the energy to make it through your day.
Some tasty and hydrating cooked grain recipes you may want to try are:
One of the lowest calorie, hydrating foods you can eat, celery has just 16 calories per cup. And since celery is so high in fiber, it takes more energy to digest, making it a particularly effective addition to any weight loss meal plan.
Made up of 95% water, this vegetable also has a high amount of potassium and vitamin K, which can help support your heart health and bones. However, due to being mostly water and fiber, celery isn’t the most exciting food to eat.
To spice up your celery intake, try these ideas:
- Eat it with healthy dips such as Greek yogurt or hummus
- Top celery with peanut butter for a protein-rich snack
- Incorporate chopped celery into salads and soups
Improving your health and wellness can be as simple as adding these foods to your regular diet. So, instead of hunting for flavoring packets for water, you can enjoy more hydration by simply eating these highly hydrating foods.