Because our bodies are made up of roughly two-thirds water, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids to help us stay well hydrated during Florida’s sweltering temps. Although there’s no substitute for chugging down a glass of actual water, chomping down on certain fruits and vegetables can also be a great source of water.
Heat forces the body to sweat to reduce the temperature, which can dry out your body’s water supply rapidly if you don’t replenish it. Seniors are particularly at risk if they have underlying conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep hydrated in the summer heat. Aside from the obvious solutions of drinking plenty of water and electrolyte drinks, make sure your diet includes plenty of vegetables and fruits with high water content.
Water-rich fruits and vegetables not only fill you up, but help you stay hydrated after a long day in the sun. They also contain many essential vitamins and nutrients, making them nutritional as well as hydrating. Take a look at the Hernando Sun’s top choices of most water-rich fruits and vegetables.
MANGOES (83 percent water)
Mangoes are not only our favorite fruit but are also used in a lot of desserts. Known as the King of fruits, mangoes are ideal for aiding digestion. They are loaded with antioxidants and can boost your immunity. They lower cholesterol and promote eye health.
APPLES (86 percent water)
An all-season fruit, apples are delicious and nutritious and can be eaten in a variety of ways. Add them in your salads, smoothies, pies desserts, or eat them as a snack, apples never disappoint you. Apples boost metabolic levels, improve heart health, and regulate blood sugar levels. They are loaded with ample vitamins and minerals to promote healthy bones, teeth, and skin.
PINEAPPLES (86 percent water)
This delicious and juicy fruit is loved for its rich flavorsome taste. Pineapples are a great source of Vitamin C — essential to fight against cell damage and for boosting your immune system. The high manganese content of pineapple improves bone health. It also has high fiber content and is loaded with antioxidants.
ORANGES (87 percent water)
Oranges are for those who love working out. This fruit hydrates and energizes your body which is a must during workouts. Oranges help reduce cholesterol, improve heart function, and their rich source of Vitamin C enhances skin health.
PAPAYA (88 percent water)
This fruit is extremely rich in Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Adding papaya to your diet can prevent cholesterol buildup in your arteries, boost immunity, and can be an excellent source of vitamins for people with diabetes or someone who wants to manage their weight.
WATERMELON (92 percent water)
Watermelon is one of the most hydrating foods you can consume. Sweet, tasty and cooling, there’s nothing better than having watermelon on a hot summer day. Loaded with fiber, vitamin C, Vitamin A, magnesium and potassium. It also contains the antioxidant lycopene which can prevent you from developing cancer and stroke. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
MELON (91 percent water)
Melons, like the honeydew variety – are low in calories and sugar, and a good source of potassium. Potassium helps to keep your blood pressure healthy and your nerves and muscles in good working order. Cut a melon into triangles and top with berries to make melon pizza slices, or make colourful fruit kebabs using different colors of melons.
CUCUMBERS (96 percent water)
Cucumbers are very high in water content and therefore one of the water-rich vegetables one can eat. They’re also low in calories, and a source of vitamins and and fibre. Add cucumber to your salads, snack on cucumber vegetable sticks with hummus or blend cucumber with mint and lime to make a refreshing drink.
TOMATOES (95 percent water)
Tomatoes are a major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. If you’re looking for a more filling summer snack, pick tomatoes.
SPINACH (93 percent water)
Spinach is excellent for hydration as well as being a rich source of iron, essential for transporting oxygen around your body, and keeping your immune system healthy. Use spinach as the base of a fresh summer salad or add a handful to your smoothies.
MUSHROOMS (92 percent water)
Mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), which is important for your skin and nervous system. Vitamin B2 also helps to reduce tiredness and releases energy from the food you eat. Top large portobello mushrooms with chopped tomatoes and some low-fat cheese and brown in the oven to create a delicious pizza alternative with a rich flavor. Always add chopped mushrooms to bolognese, chilis, soups, stews and casseroles.
Sue Quigley can be reached at 727.247.6308.