Happy Summertime! It’s my favorite time of the year! The garden is doing well, the days are longer and activities abound! Of course, the days are getting hot, and we can usually plan on at least a few days with temperatures over 100-degrees Fahrenheit! But regardless of where you are in the world, it’s vitally important to stay hydrated regardless of the season and temperature!
Approximately 57-60% of our bodies are water, and as such, in my opinion, water should be considered one of the primary macronutrients (along with fats, proteins, carbohydrates).
The old “rule of thumb” of consuming at least eight, 8-oz glasses of water a day (1.9 liters) really doesn’t, uh… “hold water” because there are many factors which play a part in our hydration! This includes gender, age, diet and activity level. Regarding age, most elderly people who have a more sedentary life, will not require as much water—perhaps only 4-6 glasses a day. But regardless of age, a person’s size and physical activity level will be a big factor in dictating hydration needs. And from a dietary standpoint, we can become dehydrated by drinks such as alcohol, coffee and any sugary drinks. As a general “rule of thumb,” if you are feeling thirsty, then it’s too late—you are beginning to get dehydrated and should consume water as soon as possible. Even mild to moderate dehydration can cause headaches, irritability, dizziness, tiredness and impaired concentration. So it’s very important to listen to your body, and if you’re out and about, be sure to carry water with you!
For this article, I would also like to focus on diet, as the foods we consume are often not considered as a part of water intake. But typically, about 20% of our daily hydration comes from food. Foods high in water content not only provide hydration, but also much-needed vitamins, minerals and fiber.
For your reference, I have provided a list of vegetables, fruits and berries with the highest water content by weight:
95.6%: iceberg lettuce (followed closely by the leafy green varieties)
95%: zucchini, radishes, celery
94%: tomatoes, green bell peppers
93%: green cabbage
92%: watermelon, cauliflower, eggplant, red cabbage, red and yellow bell peppers
91%: broccoli, strawberries, grapefruit, spinach
90%: baby carrots, cantaloupe
88%: carrots (full size), peaches, blackberries
87%: pineapples, cranberries, oranges
85%: raspberries, blueberries, plums
84%: apples, pears
81%: cherries, grapes
79%: green peas, white potatoes
By the way, I do NOT recommend any of the so-called sports drinks. They contain ingredients that are not good for you, which in most cases, includes way more grams of sugar than what a person should have in a day! Stick with plain water. Add a bit of lemon or lime juice if you wish, or even some slices of apple or cucumber for flavor and a bit of a nutritional boost!
So don’t skimp on eating plenty of fresh veggies, berries and fruits along with plenty of clean water for healthy hydration!
Here is a great link with further details on water intake for men, women and children: