Did you know that a majority of Americans fail to hydrate well — young and old alike?
Julie Bender-Sibbio, RD, LD, of Sarasota Memorial’s Nutrition Counseling & Coaching Program, tells us that drinking enough fluid can be challenging for many reasons, including lack of mindfulness; the aging process, which can lead to a weaker thirst mechanism and bladder; or simply a dislike of water and drinking less healthy beverages.
So how much water do we really need?
“There isn’t one formula that fits everyone,” Julie says. “It depends on many factors, including health, activity level and climate.” The Institute of Medicine, however, determined that an adequate intake of water is roughly 3 liters (13 cups) for men and 2.2 liters (9 cups) for women. Lack of water, or dehydration (even mild), can cause your body to fail to work at its best and carry out normal functions.
In addition to committing to “raising” your drinking glass more often, take a walk down the produce aisle of the grocery or farmer’s market. Adding more water-rich food to your eating style not only helps to meet your fluid needs, but offers a low-calorie option with a plethora of nutrients to keep your body hydrated and healthy this summer! Julie shares the top five hydrating fruits and vegetables and how you can incorporate them into your diet to stay hydrated:
Watermelon: Containing 92 percent water, watermelon is the highest-ranked fruit in water content. According to a 2009 study, this lovely melon may be twice as effective at offering hydrating advantages due its healthy balance of sugars, salts, and minerals such as magnesium, sodium, and calcium. It’s also rich in Vitamin C and lycopene, a phytochemical that may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Tip: Slice an ice-cold wedge, include on a salad or make your own salsa for grilled meats!
Cucumber: This perfect summer vegetable is nearly 95 percent water. It also has potassium, sodium and magnesium, which aid in reducing the risk of electrolyte imbalance with dehydration.
Tip: Toss in pasta salads, garden salads and salsas, or cut out cucumber wheels for dips and appetizers!
Strawberries: Who doesn’t love this sweet, power-packed fruit? It contains 91 percent water, as well as folate, fiber and vitamin C. Look for local or organic strawberries if you can!
Tip: Eat alone or dip in Greek yogurt (mixed with sweetener and almond extract); toss in cereal, smoothies and salads!
Tomatoes: Red tomatoes not only contain 94 percent water, but they also are rich in lycopene (like watermelon) – a cancer-fighting phytochemical. They also are a good source of vitamin C and fiber, so don’t forget to ask for extra on your salads and sandwiches.
Tip: This veggie (although a fruit) is incredibly versatile! It can find its way into almost any salad, entrée or appetizer!
Celery: Don’t write celery off as having no benefit! This crunchy veggie boasts a water content of about 96 percent and offers sodium, phosphorus, calcium, zinc and magnesium. And only has 15 calories for 1 cup!
Tip: Spread some peanut or almond butter on a snack or toss in tuna, chicken salad or stir-frys.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, address a health concern or simply live well, Sarasota Memorial’s nutrition and lifestyle coaches provide the education and support you need to change old habits and meet personal wellness goals. Call our Outpatient Nutrition Counseling Program at (941) 917-7468 to schedule an appointment or click here.