A study found some fruit and vegetables may hydrate the body twice as effectively as a glass of water – making them a refreshing snack option. Water-rich fruit and vegetables act like a two-in-one meal and drink, providing the mineral salts, natural sugars, amino acids and vitamins that are lost in exercise. The research, carried out at the University of Aberdeen Medical School, found this combination helped hydrate people more effectively than water or even sports drinks.
Although the amount needed varies from person to person, the Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume roughly 16 cups and women drink 11 cups of water daily.
While 11 cups of water or more may sound like an overwhelming amount of fluid, a University of Naples study found that plant chemicals lutein and zeaxanthin – found in fruit such as watermelon and papaya – help boost hydration even further.
According to Jonny Bowden, PhD, author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, eating foods with high water content tends to be even more filling than chugging water with your meal.
So you can eat your way to better health and hydration while you treat your taste buds and enjoy all those beautiful colours.
Eating organic fruit and vegetables are the best to use. The USDA’s own tests show that most non-organic produce contain residual pesticides even after washing.
Watermelons are top of the list; with one wedge containing just over a cup of water.
Making it a wonderful paradox for the calorie conscious.
Watermelons are rich in beta carotene and one of the few dietary sources of lycopene, an antioxidant that provides support against free radicals. Watermelons are 92 per cent water, eight per cent sugar and contain essential rehydration salts, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and rich in Vitamin C.
Cantaloupe flesh is 90 percent water; making it really low in calories: An entire large cantaloupe has only 277 calories. What’s in that other 10 percent? Loads of good stuff, like blood-pressure-friendly potassium (427 milligrams per cup of cubed cantaloupe) and cancer-fighting beta carotene (3,000 micrograms).
Strawberries are composed of more than 75 percent water. Strawberries are also packed full of phytonutrients, vitamin C, and soluble fiber, an incredibly heart-healthy benefit.
Grapefruit is one of the most popular weight loss fruits; found in white and red colour. Contains a fat burning enzyme and also lowers insulin levels and controls blood sugar. The pectin is also a great form of soluble fiber. Grapefruit is an excellent source of potassium and calcium, magnesium, copper and phosphorous. It also contains small amounts of manganese.
Pineapple is an excellent source of manganese and a very good source of copper, iron and potassium. It also contains small amounts of calcium, phosphorous, zinc and selenium, a rich source of all vitamins and particularly Vitamin C. Pineapple also contains vitamins B1, B6, folate, B3 and traces of vitamin K. It is also believed that pineapples are good for digestion, due to the presence of certain enzymes. Pineapples have diuretic, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Reported to be good for diarrhoea, digestion, cancer, heart problems, detoxifying the body, intestinal infections, arthritis, wounds, sore throat, sinusitis and gout.
Orange is another good source of minerals such as calcium, iron, sodium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and sulphur. It also contains traces of chlorine.
Blueberries are deep in colour, ranging from blue, maroon and purple. There are around 30 different species of this wonder food! Blueberries possess antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, which give blueberries their blue-red pigment, helping the entire vascular system and enhance the effects of Vitamin C. Blueberries have been shown to be more protective of the heart than either red or white wine. They can protect the brain from oxidative stress and may help reduce the effects of dementia. Blueberries are high in the soluble fibre pectin, which can help lower cholesterol.
Apricots are high in dietary fiber, potassium, Vitamin A and C.
Plums have a very important health benefit in that, it acts as a laxative and improves performance of the digestive system. Further, the presence of phenols and Vitamin C ensures good antioxidant protection. Prevents your eyesight from any deterioration and enhances immunity against cancer related diseases. Iron absorption in the body is increased by eating plums and heart related risks are minimised.
Papaya is a wholesome fruit. Christopher Columbus called papaya the “fruit of the angels”. He noticed that the Caribbean natives ate the fruit after huge meals and never encountered any digestive distress. Papayas have 33% more vitamin C and 50% more potassium than oranges with fewer calories. It is a rich source of anti-oxidant nutrients such as beta-carotene (which is what gives it the orange colour; green papaya does not contain this carotene), vitamin A, C and flavonoids, B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid. Also contains small amounts of of the minerals calcium, chlorine, iron, phosphorus, potassium, silicon and sodium.
The carbohydrate content in papaya is mainly of invert sugar which is a form of pre-digested food. The ripe papaya is endowed with an abundance of energy-boosting natural sugars. Papaw / papaya can be eaten as it is, with its skin cut. Cut the papaya length-wise, and then into smaller pieces. A nice addition to your papaya is a sprinkle of fresh lime juice. Or, blend it with other hydrating fruits like strawberry, mango and banana to make a smoothie.
Apple We have all been told – An apple a day keeps the doctor away. The health benefits of apple are enormous making it one of the most valuable and savoured fruits throughout the world. The nutritional value of apple makes it useful for digestion, stomach disorders, anaemia, dental care, diarrhoea, heart disease, rheumatism, eye disorders, cancer, gout, and skin care.
Pomegranate contains antioxidants like polyphenols, tannins and anthocyannins which effects in removal of free radicals from our body cells. It also helps in repair of cells and boosts the immune system. Pomegranate juice is known to be among the super healthy drinks of today. It is helpful in osteoarthritis and keeping the skin and heart healthy.
The fresh green coconut especially will help with hydration if you are not a big drinker, however unless you live in the tropics, coconuts are not always easy to find, in season.
Vegetables, especially green varieties that are fresh provide many nutrients that help your body to stay hydrated. It is better for hydration purposes to eat vegetables raw. Cooking can take out the natural moisture. Here are some great vegetables that can help you to stay hydrated; Bok choy, cucumber, carrots, eggplant, celery, escarole, green salad, spinach, cabbage, tomato, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, peas and peppers are some great choices.
Celery is 96 per cent water – but is also rich in minerals.Two or three mineral-rich celery sticks replenish levels of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium,phosphorus, iron and zinc. These salts help carry the 96 per cent water in which they are dissolved around the body.
Cucumbers have around 95% of water content making them a great way to increase your fibre and water intake. There is a high content of vitamins A, B6 and C present in the flesh of the cucumber. Due to water content and mineral balance, a cucumber can produce similar hydration levels to twice the volume of water. It also contains almost ideal levels of calcium and magnesium, along with potassium and silica.
Bok choy is an Asian vegetable that is considered a cabbage. It is highly hydrating and can be steamed or added to a stir-fry or put in salads.
The third group of food that will help you to stay hydrated if you are not a big drinker is soup, a cold soup or a vegetable broth soup will help curb the munchies, too!
Last but not least – our fermented treasures – especially the fermented vegetable brines