Fruits, veggies keep you hydrated

We need 11-15 cups of water a day

Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionJuly 31, 2012 

FOOD SUMMERSALADS 2 DE

Cucumbers, tomatoes and broccoli are high in water content and keep you hydrated.

SUSAN TUSA — MCT

  • Watch your water Fruits and vegetables are foods with especially high water content. So, when you choose gazpacho or a peach cobbler, you’re helping to hydrate your body. Here’s how the percentage of water plays out: • Iceberg lettuce, cucumbers – 96 percent •  Cabbage, celery – 95 percent • Tomatoes – 94 percent • Watermelon, strawberries, spinach, eggplant – 92 percent • Broccoli, citrus – 91 percent •  Carrots, pineapple, peaches, raspberries – 87 percent •  Yogurt, blueberries, plums – 85 percent • Apples – 84 percent • Bananas – 74 percent

When the mercury tops 90, tempers can get pretty fired up, too. But another glass of water or a slice of watermelon might help, because irritability is a classic side effect of dehydration.

The first physical sign is thirst, of course. But other symptoms are more subtle. You might get a headache. You can become cranky, forgetful, tired and dizzy, and your skin appears dry and wrinkly.

Remember the old adage to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day? The Institute of Medicine issued new general fluid recommendations in 2004 indicating women should drink 11 cups per day and men 15 cups.

These amounts include the water in all food and beverages we consume. Iced tea, fruit juice and even hot coffee and soups all count. It turns out that 80 percent of our water intake is from drinking water and other beverages, and the other 20 percent is from food.

Watermelon, a summertime favorite, is made up of more than 90 percent water. Other high water content foods include lettuce, peaches, broccoli and citrus fruit.

It’s worth noting that iceberg lettuce, often dismissed as having little nutritional value as compared with its dark-green leafy cousins, is a better source of water. Just go easy on the blue cheese dressing.

Sports fitness experts say it’s best to drink small amounts at a time throughout the day, because the body is better able to absorb the fluids.

Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks and sweetened ice tea, because they come with a hefty calorie price tag.

Count 150 calories for a 12-ounce soft drink. Studies show that Americans are consuming 220 more calories a day from sugar-sweetened beverages than they did in the 1960s.

If you want the bubbles, choose zero-calorie flavored sparkling waters or good old club soda.

Fruit juices provide nutritional benefits, too, including anti-oxidants and vitamins needed to help keep summer bodies at their best.

“Drinking water – either sparkling or flat and perhaps with a twist of citrus – is a great, noncaloric way to satisfy your thirst. But if you prefer 100 percent fruit juice, low-fat milk, coffee or other flavored beverages, they, too, can keep you well-hydrated,” said Kathleen Zelman, nutrition director for WebMD. “Bottom line, make your beverage choices work to satisfy your nutritional needs, fluid preferences and hydration needs.”

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