Staying hydrated is essential at all times, but especially in the summer months when things get hot. While we continue our healthy diet and exercise routines that serve us well throughout the year, we can sometimes forget that the body needs a little extra attention to keep its thermostat steady as the outside temperatures get higher.
Other than the obvious choice to drink plenty of water, there are certain foods that can keep you hydrated to healthy levels with very little effort. These foods all have large water content and are rich in electrolytes like magnesium and potassium, and are often low in calories.
Here are the top 5 essential summer foods:
- Watermelon- The human body is about 70 percent water, and the watermelon is about 92 percent water. The rest of the watermelon is made up of vitamins A, B6 and C, and includes essential amino acids and antioxidants. Watermelon is also an anti-inflammatory food.
- Cucumbers- They contain about 95 percent water. Not only that, they are so low in calories (about 45 calories for a regular sized cucumber) that you not only are hydrating, but doing it on the skinny. Try adding them to your iced water to stay as cool as a cucumber and then add them to a summer salad.
- Celery- A stalk of celery is about 95 percent water, about six calories and include vitamins A, C and K, B vitamins, folate and potassium.
- Cherries- Bing cherries are about 80 percent water and sweet and tart- perfect for a summer desert. One cup is only about 100 calories. Added bonus is that they also contain melatonin, a natural sleep aid for those shorter nights.
- Tomatoes- Here is another excellent addition to your summer salad. They contain high levels of vitamin C and potassium and lycopene (a strong antioxidant) that helps protect your skin against sun damage.
You may have noticed that potassium is an often mentioned nutrient in these foods. Potassium is essential to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. When we sweat in the summer heat, we lose potassium (and sodium) that depletes glucose stores, which is our source of energy. Potassium is required for proper function of the heart, kidneys, brain and muscular tissues. Other great food sources of potassium that you should include into your summer diet are bananas, raisins, potatoes, sugar free (plain) yogurt, berries, cantaloupe, oranges and peaches.
Nature always creates a balance. It’s no accident that some of the most flavorful fruits and vegetables with the highest water contents are more readily available in the summer months. Make sure to add these to your summer diet and avoid overdoing caffeine and alcohol (these only impede water loss) and you will be gliding properly hydrated until things cool down.