With the fourth of July Summer celebrations behind us, we are now in the heart of Summer, which is often the hottest time of the year. The kids are out of school for only a few more weeks so of course, many of us like to soak up the last bit of sunshine before school begins again. Being outdoors can do a lot of good for the body and the soul. Just being in nature brings a multitude of peace and contentment into one’s day.
As you spend time outside, be sure to remember to stay hydrated! Throughout July and August, many of us spend our time camping, hiking, or fishing. Even when you drink plenty of water throughout your day, you may dehydrate quickly as you exercise and sweat. If you are having a hard time drinking enough water or are looking for other ways to hydrate, there are many food options that help balance fluid levels in your body. Aside from being hydrating, they also carry numerous other health benefits! Let’s explore these foods, their many wholesome properties, and simple ways to incorporate them into your diet.
We all love a good watermelon on a hot summer day! Watermelon is 92% water; it’s no wonder it is such a refreshing snack! But did you know that watermelon is also an immune system booster? Watermelon is packed with vitamin C, an essential nutrient for immune system function. It has high levels of lycopene. Lycopene is what gives the watermelon its red pigment and is linked to heart and bone health. Watermelon is fat-free, low sodium, and only 40 calories per cup. So, eat it up!
Berries are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. They are a good source of soluble fiber, which slows down the digestive tract, helping you to feel full for longer. Berries are an easy and delicious mix in with your morning yogurt, smoothies, or oatmeal. They also make a great snack plain. You can’t go wrong with berries!
One cup of sliced, fresh apricots provides almost 2/3 cup of water, making them an easy way to replenish water and electrolyte loss after exercise in the hot summer sun. Apricots are also good for your skin. They are full of many vitamins, including C and E, which protect your skin from UV damage and help to build collagen, or skin elasticity. Apricots, fresh or dried, are easy to add to your daily diet. They taste great with trail mix, granola, yogurt, salad, and jam. They are also delicious stewed in a slow cooker with chicken or beef.
Peaches are a tasty way to re-hydrate, as they are made up of over 85% water. They are also high in vitamin C and fiber. One medium sized peach provides almost 10% of the daily minimum fiber recommendation, making peaches a great natural way to aid your digestive health. If you like to eat this delightful fruit plain, keep in mind that the skin of the fruit has a multitude of nutrients. One perk to adding more peaches to your diet is that they taste so delicious in both sweet and savory foods. It is so easy to add peaches to smoothies, oatmeal, cobblers, or pies. If you are in the mood for something savory, on the other hand, try adding them to your salads, sandwiches, or salsa.
Although many believe cucumbers to be a vegetable, they are in fact a very low-calorie fruit. They are low in calories but high in water and many other important nutrients. Water makes up about 96% of this fruit. One serving of cucumber is only 45 calories. They are jam packed with carbs, protein, fiber, vitamins C and K, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. Cucumbers make a great snack fresh or pickled. If you want to add a kick of flavor to your cucumbers, you can pair them with hummus or salad dressing. Next time you make your salad or sandwich, remember to add cucumbers for extra crunch and nutrition!
Celery has a high water content, close to 95%. Since one stock of celery contains only 10 calories, it has grown to be a popular diet food. But aside from being a low-calorie food, it is also full of many other essential vitamins including vitamins A, K, and C. It also contains a fair amount of potassium, which is responsible for many body functions, including helping your heartbeat to stay regular. Celery is a nutritious snack plain, with peanut butter, or dressing. It is perfect to chop up and put in dishes and soups for an extra crunch. Just remember to chop and use immediately. Celery that has been pre-chopped and stored, even for a few hours, can begin losing nutrients. Another important note is to remember the leaves at the top of the celery! Most of celery’s calcium, potassium, and vitamin C is found there. They taste great added to soups, stews, or broths.
Their name says it all. Water chestnuts are 74% water. They are vegetables that grow in marshes, ponds, paddy fields, and shallow lakes. Since they are grown in such watery areas, they retain large amounts of moisture after they are harvested. Water chestnuts are high in fiber, protein, potassium, manganese, copper, vitamin B6, and riboflavin. Water chestnuts are considered a high-volume food, meaning they are full of water, helping you to feel full for longer on fewer calories. Since water chestnuts are high in starch, they are sometimes used as a healthy alternative to flour when thickening sauces or gravies. They are a wonderful addition to salads, stir fries, and omelets.
So, there you have it-some of my favorite hydrating and nutritious foods for summertime. My hope is that when you are relishing in the sunshine, you will utilize these healthful fruits and vegetables to aid in hydration, find creative ways to incorporate them into your diet, and discover all they have to offer for you and your health.
What are some of your favorite ways to eat these healthy hydrating foods? Let us know in the comments below!