Beat the heat with hydrating foods this summer

Beat the heat with hydrating foods this summer

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Staying hydrated can help you live a longer, healthier life. But drinking several glasses of water throughout the day is not suitable for everyone.

Health experts say that’s a good thing. Although fluids are important, hydration doesn’t just come in a bottle or from the tap. In fact, at least 19% of water intake for adults in the United States typically comes from water-rich foods. They are not difficult to find.

“A lot of foods are high in water, especially fruits and vegetables,” said Penny Chris-Etherton, the Evan Pugh Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania. “Eating these foods is a way to help maintain good hydration status.”

Although it does not contain calories, water plays a vital role in maintaining human health. It prevents dehydration, helps rid the body of waste, lubricates joints, protects the spinal cord, helps maintain body temperature in the normal range, helps manage body weight and can help reduce calories when replaced with sweetened beverages such as soda or iced tea. .

The National Academy of Medicine recommends that men consume 13 8-ounce cups of water daily, and women consume nine cups, more if they are pregnant or breastfeeding. Dehydration occurs when people do not consume enough water, and symptoms may appear with water deficiency of up to 2% less than the recommended amount. Symptoms may include fatigue, confusion or short-term memory loss, and mood changes such as irritability or depression.

The important thing is to stay hydrated, regardless of the water source, Chris Etherton said.

When you’re looking for water-rich foods, go straight to the produce section, said Georgia Jones, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

“Aim for fruits and vegetables that are at least 85% water,” she said.

Chris Etherton said cucumbers top the list, as they contain about 95% water. They are also low in calories while high in fiber and vitamins K and A.

“The great thing about fruits and vegetables is that they bring with them some important nutrients in addition to water,” she said.

Tomatoes are another good source of hydration, along with cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon. Celery, peaches, zucchini, radishes and asparagus are also rich in water. “Lettuce can also provide a good amount of water,” Jones said.

Chris Etherton said snacking on fruit is a good way to get the extra hydration needed after exercise or other activities that cause a lot of sweat. But don’t forget to drink water.

When choosing foods for hydration — or for any other purpose — Jones said it’s important to look for a wide variety of foods. “Don’t stick to just one genre. Be willing to try new things.”

What’s not good for hydration are drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine, including many popular energy drinks, Chris Etherton said. “It can worsen dehydration. Sports drinks often contain a lot of sugar. They’re really not a good source of fluid to stay hydrated. You need to read labels.”

But remember, fruits and vegetables can’t completely replace your daily fluids, says Chris Etherton. If 100 grams of cucumber is 95% water, that’s 95 grams or 3.3 of the recommended daily water intake for women of 72 ounces.

“You’re going to eat a lot of cucumbers,” she said.

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