Taking enough fluids is the basis for keeping our body working optimally. We begin to get dehydrated and our performance drops-off with just as little as a two per cent water loss. To keep ourselves hydrated, we should drink plenty of water and other liquids. Women need about two and half litres or nine cups of fluid daily while men require about 12 cups, to replace what's naturally lost to perspiration, exhalation, respiration and excretion.
But if you have a difficult time gulping down litres of water to meet your fluid needs, I have another option for you - eat. Opt for juicy fruits and vegetables as they contain 90-95 per cent water. They fill you up without adding to the pounds.
Here's a list of few high water-contents foods:
Water makes for 96 per cent of a cucumber's weight. It is one of the best ways to keep oneself hydrated. Cucumber juice is nourishing for the skin. Besides being a rejuvenator, it makes us look and feel young.
Iceberg lettuce is usually consumed cold and raw, in salads, hamburgers, tacos and a number of other dishes. 100gm of lettuce contain almost 96gm of water. It is believed that consumption of lettuce might help one get over nervous insomnia and improve liver health.
Watermelons are great thirst-quenchers in summer. Water content of this fruit is approx 92 per cent. Therefore it can be a good filler for people looking to loose weight. It is also considered a rich source of vitamin B6.This vitamin is important to have in a healthy diet because it helps people to cope with anxiety and panic. Blending chunks of watermelon with a little ice cubes and some lime juice makes such a refreshing drink.
91 per cent of a tomato is water. It is a concentrated source of carotenoid and lycopene. Studies show that lycopene reduces the risk of prostate cancer and heart disease. People who eat a diet high in lycopene are less likely to suffer a heart attack than those who don't.
Bottle gourd and zucchini
These vegetables can be hefty and substantial and are composed of 95 per cent water. They therefore could be a refreshing raw addition to salads. Zucchini is a member of the gourd family. It contains vitamin C and lutein, which promotes eye health. While bottle gourd is a valuable medicine for excessive thirst due to severe diarrhoea and diabetes, the cooked vegetable is cooling, diuretic, and antibilious [removes excess bile from the body].
Leafy veggies like watercress and spinach
85-90gm of water is present in 100gm of greens. Besides being the best friend of obese people, leafy veggies are also known for other health benefits. Watercress acts as a mild stimulant, a diuretic, and an expectorant. It also has cancer-suppressing properties. Include at least 50gm of leafy greens daily in your diet.
Citrus fruits like oranges, sweet lime and grapefruit
The water content of these fruits are not less than 88 per cent. They are an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital for the proper functioning of a healthy immune system, is good for preventing colds and may be helpful in preventing recurrent ear infections. In short, these colourful fruits help to increase the resistance power of the body. Always eat fresh fruit instead of drinking their juices as juices are often sweetened with refined sugars while fresh fruits have natural sugars and fibres which are essential for our body.
Peaches are more than 85 per cent water and are a good source of dietary fibre and vitamins A and C. This combination makes them a perfect remedy for constipation. Peaches are diuretic, depurative and detoxifying.
This fruit not only has high water content [85 per cent] but is also rich in fibre, that keep blood sugar levels under control. It is a very healthy snack for people with diabetes.
Strawberries and cranberries are highly rated as skin cleansing food, even though skin eruptions may appear at first in some cases. Their moisture content is 87 per cent. If you have a craving for sweets then you can replace the calorie-rich sweets with these low cal hydrating fruits having natural sugars.
Celery is not only rich in fluid but also electrolytes like potassium and sodium, the minerals most important for regulating fluid balance, stimulating urine production and thus helping to rid the body of excess fluid.
Curd qualifies as a rich source of water as its moisture content is not less than 88gm in 100gm of curds. It is rich in calcium, therefore good for the health of bones and teeth. Infact eating yogurt on a regular basis can help you absorb the nutrients in other foods as well. One should try including curds in every meal. It can be in any form, like buttermilk, salad dip, khadi and raita.
There are also some relatively "dry" ingredients which are considered as a good source of fluid. These are the foods that act like sponges as they cook, such as beans, grains and pasta. A cup of red kidney beans is 77 per cent water - that's more than three-fourth cup of liquid while canned mushrooms have 88 per cent water
There are various ways to include the above foods in our diet. They can be used in salads, soups and stews to help satisfy our body's thirst. For dessert, try sorbets, custards or fresh fruit. But make sure to include these foods in your daily diet to meet your fluid needs.
Questions to ask yourself
How do you know if you are not getting enough water? Check your answer to the following questions:
- Is your skin dry? If you wrinkle or pinch it, does it take a while to "bounce "back"?
- Is your urine dark? [It should ideally be a light yellow in colour]
- Are you frequently constipated?
- Do you get groggy often during the day?
A "yes" to any one of these questions can mean you're not getting enough water. Any of them could be lessened by taking in more fluids or having high water containing foods.
However, don't kid yourself - every one of these problems or complaints can also be caused by something other than dehydration - sometimes by something very serious. Till then you can feel safe prescribing "extra water" for yourself and get your body to perform its best.
Water Content of Selected Foods
Water requirements are most effectively met by consumption of plain water or beverages which are more than 90 per cent water by volume. Water may also be obtained from solid foods such as fruits and vegetables which have high water content. See table below for a listing of food and beverage sources of water.
|91-100 per cent water||80-90 per cent water||70-79 per cent water|
|Water [any type]||Soda Fruit juices||Peas|
|Milk||Non-carbonated fruit drinks||Popsicle|
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