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19 fruits and vegetables to help keep you hydrated

These water-packed foods can lend a helpful assist for meeting your daily hydration needs.

We all know how much water we’re supposed to drink: Eight 8-ounce glasses a day, right? Well actually, wrong. The 8X8 rule appears to one of the more persistent myths out there. And at this point, the wellness-through-water craze has people drinking water by the gallons. This can A) be unhealthy and B) lead to a lot of waste as people justify purchasing single-use water bottles because they think they need copious amounts of the stuff.

The thing is, no governing agency ever recommended drinking so much water. As the BBC noted, in 1945 the US Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council advised adults to consume one milliliter of liquid for every recommended calorie of food, which equates to two liters (67 ounces) for someone on a 2,000-calorie diet; two-and-a-half liters (84 ounces) for someone eating 2,500 calories. BUT, that’s not just water – it includes most kinds of drinks as well as the water consumed from eating fruits and vegetables.

And in fact, current guidelines aren’t much different. The Food and Nutrition Board says that most healthy people meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide. They set general recommendations for women at approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water – each day, and men an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water, again, from all beverages (including caffeinated beverages*) and foods.

*Despite another popular myth, coffee and tea do not appear to dehydrate the body.

So, with all that in mind, what kind of foods are they talking about? Mostly fruits and vegetables. Soups and yogurt are good sources too, but since it’s summer and most of us want to eat refreshing produce anyway, we will focus on fresh plant foods here. There is a very popular chart on the Internet showing water values, but since I couldn’t fact-check the source, I went with data from to University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.

Fruits and vegetables with a high percentage of water

1. Cucumbers (96 percent)
2. Celery (95 percent)
3. Lettuce (95 percent)
4. Peppers (94 percent)
5. Tomatoes (94 percent)
6. Summer squash (94 percent)
7. Asparagus (93 percent)
8. Watermelon (92 percent)
9. Mushrooms (92 percent)
10. Strawberries (91 percent)
11. Spinach (91 percent)
12. Cantaloupe (90 percent)
13. Broccoli (89 percent)
14. Peaches (89 percent)
15. Carrots (88 percent)
16. Grapefruit (88 percent)
17. Oranges (87 percent)
18. Apples (86 percent)
19. Grapes (80 percent)

All of this said, getting enough water is obviously important. And I know health advisers and supermodels who swear by drinking a lake a day. Water needs vary from person to person and are dependent on a wide array of factors; and watching for signs of dehydration is of course a smart thing to do. (See the Mayo Clinic’s list of signs and symptoms here.) But do not worry that you are already close to becoming dangerously dehydrated upon that first pang of thirst.

As Irwin Rosenburg, senior scientist at the Neuroscience and Ageing Laboratory at Tufts University in Massachusetts, told the BBC: “The control of hydration is some of most sophisticated things we’ve developed in evolution, ever since ancestors crawled out of sea onto land. We have a huge number of sophisticated techniques we use to maintain adequate hydration.” And on that note, I’m going to go eat some cucumbers.

These water-packed foods can lend a helpful assist for meeting your daily hydration needs.

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