We all want to be healthy and stay that way, manage our weight properly and keep our bodies operating with tiptop efficiency. In order to do that, we must stay hydrated. That means drinking plenty of water every day. How many times have we heard it: we should be sipping through at least eight glasses of water daily, no matter how tedious it can seem at times. Why is hydration so important? Our body needs it, period—all the time, not just after working out in the yard or in the gym. Water is a key element for all our bodily functions and processes. That includes digestion and elimination—we need water to help us process the food coming into our bodies and we need it for transporting the resultant waste products out of our bodies (via urine and feces). Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Water transports nutrients, hormones, antibodies and oxygen through the bloodstream and the lymphatic system. As for the weight-loss aspect of drinking all that water, it helps satiate our appetite because it addresses our bodies' need for hydration; water provides this without all those unwanted, pounds-producing calories. Craving something sweet and chewy between meals? Stay strong and do yourself a favor: drink a tall glass of water instead and get back to being busy.
Eat Your Water, One Bite at a TimeIf drinking glass after glass of nothing but water seems like a hassle, here's some good news. Break up the monotony by eating foods that are packed with water and can help you get or stay hydrated. According to health.com, 20 percent of our daily intake of water comes from solid foods, usually fruits and vegetables. Of course, essentially all foods contain at least some H20, but there are those that are high in water content and low in calorie count that make them worthy snacks or parts of a meal. Here are 10 foods great for hydration while breaking up the monotony of water, water everywhere, all the day long:
- Watermelon. In terms of taste, water content, ease of eating and antioxidants, it doesn't get much better than this. In fact, plopping a few cut-up watermelon cubes into a pitcher of refrigerated water is a nice touch to make the water go down the hatch that much easier. Watermelon is also a terrific "recovery food" after a dehydrating bout with the 24-hour stomach bug.
- Broccoli (raw). It is more than 90 percent water in terms of weight, and its hydrating quality makes it a good selling point for anyone who turns their nose up at green vegetables. It's also high in fiber content as well as potassium and vitamins A and C.
- Strawberries. They're 91 percent water and loaded with flavonoids, which are chemicals that help keep us sharp in terms of mental acuity.
- Yogurt. Their water content is at about 85 percent, and, as most of us already know, it goes great with strawberries. Also a good source of protein and electrolytes, which our heart and other body organs really appreciate.
- Oatmeal, when made with water or even milk. Just go easy if adding any sweeteners, such as sugar. Oatmeal is another good landing spot for strawberries, especially if you're looking for a tasty breakfast that helps you feel full longer. It also is known as a good soldier in the fight against high cholesterol, according to webmd.com.
- Cucumbers. If you've ever bitten into one, it should come as no surprise that it's a great source of water—at 95 percent of its weight, no less! Really low in calories, too. Eat up.
- Carrots. At about 90 percent water content, they are not as dry as you might have thought. Also, great to snack on when the afternoon is dragging on. Baby carrots are considered the best.
- Tomatoes. What's not to like, except maybe keeping an eye on your sodium intake? Tomatoes rate at 95 percent for water content and are great for adding to sandwiches and salads. Its many antioxidants include lycopene, which is pegged as a good anti-cancer agent.
- Butternut squash. Mentioned here for the sake of variety. It's sweet with a nutty taste, and is about 88 percent water. Also contains a number of healthy vitamins, but best known for its vitamin A (an important nutrient for eye health).
- Apples. Of course! One apple a day keeps the doctor away. How can anyone argue with that?