Author: Lubna Khan-Salim
Most of us think hydration means drinking 2-3 litres of water a day however, hydration is about the water you hold, not the water you drink (& pee out!)
Our body is made up of about 80% water. Each day we lose a good amount of this water from urination, sweat, and simply breathing, so it’s important that we replenish to keep our body running optimally.
Ensuring we get enough water each day becomes even more important as we age. While we start out life with our bodies being about 80% water, by the time we’re 50, it is estimated that we are closer to 50% water. This decrease in water is part of why we see skin lose its plumpness and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
So, we know we need to get enough water into our bodies each day… but just how much water do we really need and what is the best way to get it?
For years health experts told us to drink at least 2-3litres, which equals about a half-gallon of water a day. The truth is, drinking water does not necessarily equal hydration. You can drink a half-gallon of water a day, but how much of it is actually getting into your cells and staying there?
Think of it. How many times have you decided to start drinking more water and you end up running to the bathroom all day because it goes right through you? Water does you no good if you just end up flushing it down the toilet. And that’s the real difference between drinking and eating your water.
The water found in food, especially fruits and vegetables, is surrounded by other molecules that help it get into our cells more easily, and ensure it stays in our system for long enough to be put to good use.
And there’s another problem with drinking large quantities of water in an effort to be hydrated: it tends to deplete the body of important vitamins and minerals because they get flushed out of the body too quickly.
Some studies have found that fruits and vegetables can hydrate the body twice as effectively as a glass of water. Structured water found in fruits and vegetables contains hydrating salts and minerals. And certain plant chemicals like lutein and zeaxanthin help increase hydration even more. This plant fluid closely mimics the natural fluid found in our bodies and so can easily slip into our cells and get to work.
Now that you know you should be eating your water instead of drinking it, let’s look at some fruits and veggies that offer the best hydration:
Well, I mean, come on, it’s got water in the name! And it should because each watermelon contains 92% water. But beyond this, watermelons also contain essential salts, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, along with vitamin C, beta-carotene and lycopene.
Celery boasts 96% water and offers sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc, and all in a natural and readily absorbable form.
Like watermelons, bell peppers are actually 92% water and rich in important nutrients like vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6, beta-carotene, and folic acid.
Other fruits and vegetables high in water and essential nutrients:
• Portobello mushrooms
• Swiss chard
Don’t get me wrong drinking water is good, but to become healthily hydrated, stop focusing on drinking 2-3l of water each day and start focusing on eating more water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. If you do this you will look and feel healthier.