We all know that the key to staying hydrated is to drink plenty of water. However, after an intense cardio workout or a long hike in the sun, we often feel like we need something more to replenish the nutrients our bodies have sweated out.
For this reason, many people turn to sports drinks to quench their thirst. However, these beverages are laden with chemical additives and synthetic vitamins, and are not a good choice when it comes to optimal health. Luckily, there is a simple, natural alternative: water-laden fruits and vegetables.
According to Dr. Susan Shirreffs, an exercise physiologist at Loughborough University, “to be properly hydrated, you need to replace fluid lost from the body with one that’s similar to the body’s natural composition. Watery fruits and vegetables often contain levels of minerals and sugar that mirror this, so they can hydrate you more effectively than water alone.”
The following are six great foods to keep you healthy and hydrated this summer:
Celery: Approximately 96 percent water. Along with its large percentage of water, celery is rich in minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc. This veggie also contains vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate, an essential B-vitamin. It is high in fiber, which has the added benefit of satisfying your appetite and reducing cravings for unhealthy foods.
Cucumber: Approximately 96 percent water. Cucumbers contain the minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium, along with a healthy dose of vitamin K. They are rich in polyphenol antioxidants, including lignans, which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Radish: Approximately 96 percent water. Radishes are high in B-vitamins, vitamin C and contain the minerals calcium, copper, iron and magnesium. They also contain a variety of antioxidants, including beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Along with combating free radicals, lutein and zeaxanthin have been found to help aid in hydration.
Radishes also contain sulforaphane, a compound which is linked to halting the growth of certain cancer cells, including breast, colon, ovarian and prostate cancers.
Tomatoes: Approximately 95 percent water. Tomatoes contain vitamin C and vitamin K, as well as copper, potassium and manganese, among other minerals. They also provide the body with beta carotene and zeaxanthin, as well as lycopene, which has been linked to bone health, cardiovascular health and anti-cancer benefits.
Watermelon: Approximately 92 percent water. Along with being watery and refreshing, watermelon contains vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and natural sugars to give the body a burst of energy. This fruit also contains beta carotene, lutein and even more lycopene than tomatoes.
Strawberries: Approximately 91 percent water. Strawberries are filled with protein, fiber, vitamin C, manganese and natural sugars, as well as iodine, which is crucial to thyroid health. Like other red berries, strawberries contain anthocyanins, flavonoid antioxidants which have been associated with heart health, optimal cognitive function, anticarcinogenic properties and longevity.
Add these six hydrating foods to your summer smoothies, or simply snack on them whole. You will find yourself feeling energized and rejuvenated, and you’ll likely find that you don’t miss that sports drink at all.
–The Alternative Daily