Eat Your Water: 5 Foods with Nutrition and Hydration
By Staci Amend
October 22, 2014
The “drink eight glasses of water a day” rule has been drilled into us for years. We know it’s good for our bodies, and essential to maintaining healthy, youthful-looking skin—but it can be difficult to make the 64-ounce minimum a daily habit. Well, here’s the good news: many of the foods you’re already eating are actually better than drinking plain water, because they’re delivering nutrition along with hydration.
Well, this one’s a no-brainer—water’s right there in the name! Even though it’s 92% water, watermelon is a great source vitamin C and lycopene, an antioxidant that can help protect against heart disease and some types of cancer. Its high water content means it also has less sugar than most fruits, making it a great snack. For an amazing savory-sweet snack, start with a small bowl of one-inch watermelon cubes; toss in a tablespoon of feta cheese, a few chopped purple onions and a few mint leaves.
These have an even higher water content than watermelon. And, at just 16 calories per cup, they’re an excellent free food choice. Use sliced cucumber in place of chips for enjoying hummus or your favorite low-fat creamy dip. For an easy throw-together salad, chop one medium-sized cucumber into half-inch pieces—then toss with a splash of apple cider vinegar, a dash of salt and pepper and a half-packet of stevia. Top with chopped chives if you have them on hand. This one is even tastier the next day!
Most salad greens are more than 90 percent water and extremely low in calories—about 15 for two full cups! Typically, darker greens are higher in nutrients; spinach and baby romaine are high in vitamin C, folate and the antioxidant beta carotene, which helps support healthy eyes and skin. Greens are a free food on our weight loss program, so you can enjoy all the hydrating nutrition you want! Just be sure to watch your portions for dressing (about 2 tablespoons) and use a low-fat or fat-free variety if possible.
On hot days or following exercise, eat cantaloupe, peaches and strawberries. These fruits contain water PLUS potassium, an electrolyte that helps your body maintain fluid levels. For water PLUS vitamin C, choose kiwi or citrus; C’s antioxidant properties help counteract the aging effects of UV rays, pollution and other environmental contaminants.
Beans are also an unlikely source of water; one cup of cooked kidney, pinto or garbanzo beans is literally HALF water! They’re also a great balance of carbs, fiber and protein, which helps support balanced blood sugar and avoid the unwanted inflammatory response that accompanies a blood sugar spike.