Staying Hydrated with Food

Why is hydration important?

Staying hydrated, particularly during the hot summer months or after a strenuous workout, is an important component for keeping your body functioning. Your body is made up of almost 70% water, which is why it is critical to provide your body the amount of fluid it needs. Depending on exercise duration, intensity, and temperature, you can sweat up to 2.5 liters of water per hour of exercise. Therefore, you should be mindful of how much you are sweating and pay attention to your thirst sensations to replenish lost fluids. You should be consuming fluids consistently throughout the day to prevent dehydration from occurring.

Is it dangerous to be dehydrated?

Thirst is a delayed sign of dehydration so often by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated! Other common symptoms of dehydration are dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. If you have a hard time staying hydrated through fluids alone, there are many foods that can also provide fluids and help keep you hydrated.

How do I stay hydrated?

Even though drinking fluids is the best way to stay hydrated, 20% of your fluid intake comes from food. Almost all foods have some water content, but whole foods like fruit and vegetables tend to have the highest amount. Most of these foods are not only a good source of water, but many are lower in calories to help you maintain a healthy weight. If you drink 8-10 ounces of water and eat one or two of these hydrating foods per meal, then you should be good to go!

Water-Rich Foods
Fruits are composed primarily of water. Fruits tend to be low in calories and high in fiber. Fruits vary in water content percentages.

  • Watermelon - 92%
  • Strawberries - 91%
  • Cantaloupe - 90%
  • Peaches - 89%
  • Oranges - 88%

Vegetables are low in calories and fat and high in fiber. Generally, vegetables are lower in calories than fruit. The water content of many vegetables is greater than 90%.

  • Lettuce - 96%
  • Cucumbers 95%
  • Celery - 95%
  • Zucchini - 94%
  • Bell peppers - 92%

Meat, poultry and fish also contribute to fluid intake.

  • Eggs - 75%
  • Light meat chicken - 69%
  • Extra-lean ground beef - 63%

Consuming dairy products supports bone health and are great sources of calcium, potassium, and vitamin D.

  • Skim milk - 91%
  • Plain yogurt - 88%
  • Cottage cheese - 80%

As you can see, many foods are high in water content and will contribute to good hydration. Remember, staying hydrated is important to keep your body functioning and you performing and feeling your best. A great way to incorporate some of these hydrating foods into your day or as a post-workout snack is through smoothies. Pick two or three of your favorite fruits, yogurt, water, and some ice and you’ve got yourself a great hydrating snack!