The human body is made up of about 70 percent water, and water is essential to our survival. But, when you stop to look at all of the critical parts that make up the human body, you will see why staying hydrated is of even more importance.
All of your major organs are largely made up of water. Your brain and heart are composed of 73 percent water; the lungs around 83 percent; skin, 64 percent; and your muscles and kidneys around 79 percent. Even your bones contain 31 percent water.1
H2O is Anything But Boring
Water is vital to regulate your internal body temperature and to transport carbohydrates and proteins in your bloodstream. It helps your body flush out waste products and lubricate joints, and it acts as a shock absorber for your brain and spinal cord.2
So, NOW do you think you’re drinking enough water?
Before you get too alarmed, it’s important to note that though you should try to drink water consistently throughout the day, your daily requirement of water need not only come from drinking water – you can also eat it! Which is good news, especially if you’ve been struggling with the whole “eight glasses a day” concept.
Some foods are easily identified as being water-heavy, like juicy watermelon, for example. But several other hydrating foods also contain massive amounts of water.
Here are eight of the most water-drenched fruits and vegetables to help you keep up your daily fluid intake.
1. Cucumber: 96 percent water
Boasting the highest water content of almost any food, is it any wonder that cucumber can be so refreshing? Cucumber is even used to soothe the eye area because its high water content turns a slice into a cold compress.
Cucumber has a light flavor that can be used in so many ways. Add it to salads and sandwiches, dip it in hummus, create a cooling tzatziki sauce for your meats, or try your hand at a cold summertime cucumber soup. Or you can just eat it like an apple! Just be sure you wash your cucumbers thoroughly beforehand.
2. Iceberg Lettuce: 96 percent water
It may not be as hip (or nutritionally dense) as kale, but iceberg lettuce is here to stay, and it’s an immensely hydrating food. The crisp, watery freshness you get from biting into iceberg lettuce is also perfect for soaring summer temperatures. Use it as a salad base, a healthy “bread” alternative for burgers, wrap up your taco contents in a leaf, or juice it with your usual veggies to add more water weight.
3. Celery: 95 percent water
Celery is high in water content and rich in nutrients. It’s a good source of vitamins A, C, B6, as well as potassium, magnesium, and folate. It’s an exceptional source of vitamin K.3
The great thing about celery is that it’s an incredibly easy snack food that delivers both a hefty fiber kick and beneficial hydration. Fiber-filled snacks are the best kinds of snacks, as fiber keeps you feeling full. Celery can be cut into sticks and dipped into hummus, almond butter, or guacamole. Or, you can slice up celery and easily add it to salads and stir-fries.
4. Radish: 95 percent water
Radishes provide a good punch of water, as well as a spicier flavor compared to the more subtle-flavored veggies on this list. You can munch on radishes raw, thinly slice them and add to pasta or risotto, or roast them whole. You can also pep up the flavor of peas, beans, or carrots by pairing them with radishes, or you can double down and try a hydrating cucumber and radish sandwich.
5. Tomato: 94 percent water
The famed La Tomatina Festival in Spain is only successful because the water content of tomatoes allows them to splatter so wonderfully when they’re pelted at people! Even if you don’t have plans for a tomato fight, the water content in tomatoes will at least turn your meals into a hydration festival in your kitchen. Tomatoes are so versatile, you can truly sneak them into any meal. For snacking, try buying tiny cherry or grape tomatoes, which are less messy, packed with flavor, and easy to munch on.
6. Green Bell Pepper: 92 percent water
All bell peppers are a pretty good source of water but it’s actually the green bell pepper which wins out over its more brightly-colored brothers and sisters. Peppers are also bursting at the seams with vitamin C, with one cup of chopped green bell pepper containing a whopping 200 percent of your recommended daily allowance!4
You can roast peppers, eat them raw in salads, add them to tacos, or slice and use as snacking sticks. Their deliciously sweet flavor is perfect if you’re tired of eating celery sticks.
7. Cauliflower: 92 percent water
Another surprising vegetable that’s brimming with water, cauliflower is enjoying quite the renaissance in popularity. Gluten-free and vegan chefs have turned to the trusty cauliflower as a substitute for everything from pizza bases to chicken wings. It’s even being finely ground down for use as “rice.” You now have more uses for cauliflower than you ever dreamed possible, which is great for your daily water intake.
8. Watermelon: 92 percent water
Someone had some inkling when they named the watermelon. As one of the juiciest fruits you can get your hands on, and with a sweetly delicious flavor that keeps you coming back for more, watermelon has always been a great thirst quencher. It’s also one of the richest sources of lycopene, an antioxidant that’s shown to have major health benefits.5
Cold watermelon is a perfect summertime snack, but it also makes a really tasty juice. You can rub watermelon slices with red pepper flakes and grill them on the barbecue. Watermelon is also a tasty option when added to salads (it pairs wonderfully with balsamic vinegar, feta cheese, and strawberries), and you can use it in place of tomato in a salsa.
A Final Thought
Often, we mistake dehydration for hunger. And instead of filling up on water, we snack on salty, high-calorie foods – the worst possible choice. The beauty of these hydrating foods is that they’re not only low calorie, but they also contain a nice helping of antioxidants, which help to fight the aging effects of free radicals on your skin. Eat up!
Next time you’re feeling dehydrated reach for one of these high water content foods instead. And, a glass of water won’t hurt either.