With spring in full swing and more warm weather on the way, we’re all looking to make sure we stay hydrated. Conventional wisdom is that we need to drink about 8 glasses of water a day to stay properly hydrated and, while I do believe that’s a great guideline for most, you can also get lots of hydration from food too! In fact about 20% of our hydration comes from the solid food we eat. How you like them apples?
In case you’re wondering why water is so damn important, consider this: we’re made up of about 60-70% water! So, we’re mostly water! We need it for so many things like:
- good circulation
- to carry nutrients through the body
- to remove waste (poo and pee) aka: detoxification
- for good skin
and so much more!
There is NO one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to how much hydration YOU need. It all depends on factors like your:
- physical activity level,
- how much salt or caffeine you’re consuming
- even the weather/climate in your area
But a good way for you to determine your own, unique hydration needs is to check your pee! You heard me. Your urine should be light and straw-coloured throughout the day, not dark and strong smelling.
I know that a lot of people have a hard time drinking water because they’re not in the habit or they don’t like the taste. I suggest setting a timer to remind yourself throughout the day or mixing your water with tasty fruits (infusions) to make it more palatable for you. I even wrote a blog on How to Drink More Water.
AND, now, I’m also going to give you a list of my top 9 hydrating superfoods – all over 90% water and that are also jam-packed with other important nutrients so that you can stay properly hydrated and healthy.
Watch me boast about these water-packed foods on The Social below.
Did you know that on top of being highly anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants, cucumbers are mostly water? In fact they’re 96% water! It’s easy to add them to any meal like sandwiches or salads like my Quinoa Tabuleh Salad or my Mighty Mediterranean Salad. Or, how bout a quick cuke and mango skewer for a fun and easy snack? Cukes have also got loads of silica in them, which is great mineral for skin health.
- Melons (especially watermelon).
They’re not called WATERmelon for nothing! They’re 92% water! Plus, they’re full of minerals, natural sugars and amino acids which all act together to aid its hydrating properties. And, did you know that watermelon also has more lycopene than tomatoes! (Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant and well known for it’s anti-cancer properties). Have you ever tried frozen watermelon cubes? Delish! Check out my Watermelon, Mint Slushie recipe here. So cool and refreshing!
- Salad Greens (especially Romaine lettuce):
All leafy greens are hydrating superfoods but romaine is especially high in water. You can tell because it’s so crisp and crunchy with juicy stems.
With the spotlight on kale, people may not think of romaine of as much of a nutritional powerhouse as it actually is. In fact, the vitamin K in romaine is off the charts! Vitamin K is a great vitamin for bone health as it helps usher calcium into the bones. Another amazing vitamin in leafy greens is B9 or folate (that’s the one you hear of a lot in pregnancy). In general, there’s tons of folate in all leafy greens. An easy way to remember that is to think leaves = “foliage” = folate. . .Among other functions, folate is an important vitamin for cell division, nervous system function, brain development and healthy red blood cells
AND, on op of all that – leafy greens make great vessels for transporting other foods into your mouth if you don’t feel like bread! Boom!
You can make leafy little canoes by using the firm romaine leaves as a base and add whatever filler you’ve got on the go already like some brown rice, beans, and salsa with a drizzle of my dairy-free tzatziki.
Not into romaine boats? Try out my Vegan Caesar Salad recipe. Double yum.
You only need to slice into a ripe one to know how much water is in those bright red balls of goodness. Because of their bright colour you can be sure they’re packed with antioxidant vitamins like A and C and that lycopene (a pigment called a carotenoid that we talked about earlier with watermelons) plus tons of other important vitamins and minerals. Sliced and diced tomatoes will always be a mainstay of salads, sauces, and sandwiches, but don’t forget about sweet cherry and grape varieties, which make an excellent hydrating snack. Also making a quick and simple salsa is a really fun way to get hydrated with tomatoes.
Oh, how I’ve changed. I used to shun grapefruit, but now I love it’s delicious tang. Of all the citrus fruits, grapefruit is one of the highest in water content and also a great food to help lower cholesterol and improve heart health. Just the smell of fresh grapefruit is known to improve mood #Fringe Benefits! So, go ahead, cut into wedges and eat plain. Or, get creative with grapefruit; add to any salad or smoothie as a fun substitution on other citrus like oranges or lemons. In fact, it goes great in smoothies like my Great Grapefruit smoothie!
Not only is it loaded with water – at a healthy 95% – celery also packs a punch of fiber and lots of micronutrients. It’s a great anti-inflammatory food! Eat it plain, fill it with nut butter or get sophisticated and add things like white bean hummus! Take it to go by adding your bean dip to the bottom of a Mason jar and stuffing celery stalk lengthwise into the same jar.
- Bell Peppers
Have you ever been squirted in the eye with bell pepper juices while slicing it? I have. That’s because it’s literally bursting at the seams with water. Green peppers are slightly more hydrating than red or yellow, but they are all over 90% water and so tasty and full of antioxidants. And, fun fact, did you know that a red pepper has more vitamin C than an orange? Slice them in your salads, sandwiches and go great in a veggie platter.
It may not seem like it at first because raw cauliflower is really dense and firm, but cauliflower is about 93% water! You can tell how much water is in it when you bake it because the florets really shrink down. (FYI: roasted cauliflower is one of my favourite things), but cooking does diminish the water content through evaporation. So, if you want to reap the rewards of its full hydrating potential, you’ll want to eat it raw (like any food I’ve mentioned). In terms of nutrition, cauliflower is one a member of the mighty cruciferous family, which means it’s high in sulfuric compounds, which help the liver to detoxify! So, if you want to enjoy it raw, and you don’t like eating it plain, try my Greek Cauliflower “Rice” which is a great substitution for regular rice when you’re in the mood for less starch.
My fridge and freezer are always stocked with berries for quick and easy smoothies. They contain amazing anti-inflammatory nutrients like antioxidants: vitamins A and C, and lots of fibre to help detoxify the system. And berries are also really hydrating; especially strawberries, which are 92% water! Add berries to salads, granola, smoothies and who doesn’t love to just eat them plain like candy! (BTW, I’ve got LOADS of smoothie recipes with berries in my recipe section. So, be sure to check it out!)