You’ve heard that a good way to ensure proper hydration is to drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day. However, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average person needs to be drinking more—about 15 glasses for men and 11 glasses for women. Although it’s a simple task—drinking more water—for many people, it’s easier said than done. Luckily, water consumption doesn’t have to be strictly drinking from the tap. Beverages like coffee, tea, and juice are mostly water and contribute to one’s daily intake. What you eat is also important. Many foods have high water content and can significantly increase daily water levels, so why not eat more water? Here are nine foods that have superb hydrating properties.
Cucumbers are roughly 96% water and there are plenty of ways to add the crisp vegetable to your daily diet. Slice into rounds and dip in hummus. Add to a salad with other leafy greens, black olives, and feta cheese. Use as a topping on toast or blend into a green smoothie with mint, lime juice, coconut water, and pineapple.
A one-cup serving of plain, unsweetened yogurt is more than 75% water. Adding a cup to your daily diet is easy. Have it at breakfast with berries and granola or enjoy as an afternoon pick me up with agave nectar. Mix into a green smoothie with cucumber, celery, and spinach and you’ve got a hydration-rich drink that is much more flavorful than water.
Cauliflower’s water content is 92% and the trendy ingredient is also packed with vitamins and phytonutrients. Toss florets with curry powder and olive oil then roast until crunchy. Add to salads or enjoy as a finger-licking good snack. Cauliflower rice—coarsely chopped cauliflower that has the same consistency as rice or couscous—can be used as a substitute for grains or pasta. Cauliflower can also be sliced and treated like steak. Grill and serve with a side of herby chimichurri.
All berries are good for hydration, but at 91%, strawberries have the highest water content. Eat a handful of strawberries as a snack, add to your morning cereal or smoothie, or toss into a spinach salad with goat cheese. If you have a sweet tooth, strawberries are a healthy dessert choice. Spoon over frozen yogurt and drizzle with honey. Dip into dark chocolate and let set until cold in the fridge.
Watermelon is clearly full of water, however it’s only available in the summer months. When it’s in season, stock up on watermelon and blend into juice or puree and use as ice cubes. Eat out of hand or dice and add a refreshing sweetness to hot weather salads.
Leafy spinach consists of 91% water. The potassium, fiber, and folate-rich green also contains a good amount of vitamin E. Keep a bag of fresh spinach in your fridge at all times and throw a handful into everything that you make. Add a cup to your morning smoothie, layer into a sandwich with cucumber and cream cheese, and stir into hearty soups and pasta dishes. Sneak spinach into picky eater’s diets by finely chopping it and mixing it secretly into unexpected dishes. Place on top of pizza dough before adding tomato sauce and cheese. Kids won’t notice it’s there! When making burritos or quesadillas, layer on tortillas before adding beans and cheese.
Slice into a tomato and the juicy liquid of the red fruit oozes out. This is mostly water! Like watermelon, tomatoes are best in the summer, so when they are in season, slice and add to sandwiches and salads or enjoy on their own. During the winter, tomatoes are still readily available, but they can taste bland, so be creative in the kitchen. Puree them into fresh salsa, cook down to make a pasta sauce, or roast until they are sweet and soft.
Bone broth is simply water that’s been flavored with bones, vegetables, and aromatics. Purchase quarts of it from Whole Foods or make your own batch (from leftover roast chicken bones) and keep it in the freezer at all times. Sip a hot glass when you’re feeling under the weather or use it as the base for soups. Bonus points: Bone broth has incredible healing qualities and can improve sleep.
Celery is high in water and low in calories meaning it’s a great snack for curbing an appetite. Celery stalks are ideal dippers, so savor with hummus, nut butter, or other vegan spreads like baba ganoush. Celery is also a versatile vegetable that can be used as an aromatic to season sauces and soups and add crunch to leafy green salads.
Looking for more healthy eating tips? Check out these seven foods that pack a protein punch and learn three ways to preserve your favorite winter citrus.