If you live in Texas (or a plethora of other US States) you are well aware that this week has been hot! Like 100+ degrees HOT (at least when it comes to the heat index)! With weather like this, even going in the pool can be too much (at least until the sun starts to go down), and doing any other sort of outdoor activity is all but banned until fall starts peeping her head – which sometimes doesn’t happen until late October!
But who really is going to stay inside for the next 4 months waiting for the weather to cool?! Definitely not my kids – or me for that matter!
So how do we bare the heat without permanently overheating?! By staying hydrated, of course!
Staying hydrated is extremely important for your overall health – especially when the temps are high and the sun is blaring! It’s even more important for those extremely young and those who are much older, although pregnant and nursing women, along with those with compromised immunities also need to be hyper-vigilant of keeping their body water in check. (For more about staying hydrated and the importance of drinking water, please see my article: Staying Hydrated This Summer: Especially if Nursing or Pregnant!)
And though health experts often recommend drinking 8+ glasses of water per day to meet your hydration needs, being dehydrated doesn’t just fall on the lack of water you’re consuming – it also includes electrolytes since these water-soluble molecules are what makes your muscles and cells function properly. In fact, water loss of as little as 1.5% can cause an uneven molecular balance and lead to muddy cognitive function.
So, while yes, drinking water is important – it does make up 2/3rds of our overall body content, after all – eating enough fruits and veggies is just as imperative since they can contain both high levels of water and electrolytes (which keep your body [and mind] running seamlessly even on the hottest of days)!
Now you may be wondering: which foods contain the highest water content – and therefore should be eaten more often – especially during these unbearable summer months? Let me quickly break it down:
- Watermelon (Water content: 92%) – Per cup, Watermelon only contains 46 calories. It also contains lots of fiber and several important nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A and magnesium and is rich in powerful antioxidants, including lycopene. This compound has been studied for its ability to reduce oxidative damage to cells, which has been linked to diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
- Strawberries (Water content: 91%) - Provide lots of fiber, disease-fighting antioxidants and vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin C, folate and manganese. Eating strawberries on a regular basis has also been shown to reduce inflammation, which can help protect against heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and various types of cancer.
- Cantaloupe (Water content: 90%) - 1 cup contains 2 grams of fiber. It is also rich in vitamin A, providing 120% of your daily needs (which may boost immune health by protecting against infection).
- Peaches (Water content: 89%) - Provide several important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins and potassium. Furthermore, eating peaches with the skin on may also contribute disease-fighting antioxidants like chlorogenic acid to your diet.
- Oranges (Water content: 88%) – Contain fiber and are rich in vitamin C and potassium, which may boost your immune function and heart health. They are also rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, including flavonoids, which may prevent cell damage by reducing inflammation.
- Cucumber (Water content: 95%) - Made up almost entirely of water, they also provide a small amount of some nutrients, such as vitamin K, potassium and magnesium.
- Lettuce (Water content: 96%) – 1 cup contains 1g of fiber, 5% of your daily folate, and is high in vitamins K and A, both of which have been studied for their roles in keeping your bones and immune system healthy.
- Zucchini (Water content: 94%) - 1-cup provides 1 gram of fiber and 35% of your DV of vitamin C.
- Celery (Water content: 95%) – At just 16 calories per cup, it’s particularly high in vitamin K and potassium, which may protect against heart disease, certain types of cancer, and bone-related diseases like osteoporosis.
- Tomatoes (Water content: 94%) - 1 medium tomato provides about a half cup of water; it also provides a significant amount of vitamins and minerals, including immune-boosting vitamins A and C. They are also rich in fiber and some disease-fighting antioxidants, including lycopene.
- Bell Peppers (Water content: 92%) - Rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and potassium, Bell Peppers also contain carotenoid antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of certain cancers and eye diseases. They also contain the highest amount of vitamin C, compared to other fruits and vegetables, providing 317% of your daily needs in just one cup.
- Cauliflower (Water content: 92%) – 1-cup contains 3 grams of fiber; it also consists of more than 15 different vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is not found in many foods. Choline is an essential nutrient for supporting brain health and metabolism.
- Cabbage (Water content: 92%) - High in fiber and nutrients, cabbage is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and several trace minerals.
- Grapefruit (Water content: 88%) - Rich in fiber, antioxidants and several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, potassium and folate, grapefruit is especially high in immune-boosting vitamin C, providing 120% of your daily needs in half a grapefruit.
- Coconut Water (Water content: 95%) – Rich in electrolytes, including potassium, sodium and chloride, Coconut Water is a great way to stay hydrated during outdoor activities – especially compared to your typical sugar-laden sports drinks.
(Info based upon an article featured on Healthline.)
Now that you know why it’s important to stay hydrated and all of the foods to help you do it, why not dig in?! My favorite way to incorporate more of these foods into my daily intake? Smoothies and Salads, of course! Whether I make them myself or am in a rush and whip up one of the yummy concoctions from Daily Harvest, the mix of healthy nutrients, electrolytes, high-water-content, and hunger-curbing fiber, you really can’t go wrong! Haven’t heard of Daily Harvest yet or tried one of their cups? Simply use my code ~ healthyfitfabmoms ~ and get your first 3 CUPS FREE!