I have a confession. I never drink enough water, and quite honestly to get the recommended amount of 64 ounces daily, I would need a water bottle in my hand all day long.
But more importantly, last summer was the biggest reminder for me to stay hydrated and drink more water than I could ever imagine – yep, that is what getting not one, but TWO kidney stones will do to you!
Since last summer, I have tried my very hardest to drink as many fluids as I can. Kidney stones are very common, and unfortunately are not always caused because of the lack of water in your diet. However, drinking water can easily reduce the size of them so I learned that I needed to drink more water, FAST. Sadly, I quickly learned that drinking 8 cups of water a day is more of a chore than I realized, and making it a habit even after the excruciating pain of having two kidney stones was still not enough for me to make drinking what seemed like gallons of water a day a permanent ritual of mine.
But here’s a secret: Water is not the only way to hydrate! In fact, you should be eating 20% of your daily hydration intake. WHAT?
It’s true though! Some foods are over 90% water in composition. Adding these foods to your diet will help decrease your reliance on plain water to stay hydrated.
Is that a salad you’re eating or a nice tall glass of water in disguise? Iceberg lettuce and cucumbers are 96% water by weight. Celery and radishes weigh in at 95% and spinach and sweet peppers are 92% water. Tomatoes and cabbages are also over 90% water composition.
Sitting down to a big garden salad for lunch or dinner is a great start to proper hydration. If you’re considering a chef’s salad, steer clear of cured or highly salted meats, as too much sodium leads to dehydration. However, for some people, staying hydrated at home is much easier for them than while traveling on vacation. Let’s be honest, at some resorts, theme parks, or any other place you may be traveling to, ordering or finding a bottle of water may be more of a task than you bargained for, and can become quite the investment financially. Therefor, to save money, cure your hunger AND stay hydrated all at the same time, make your life simple while traveling or being away from home by eating a salad. This is a trick that can be done at home or while being away, making your life easier no matter where you are – it is like hitting three birds with one stone!
When you’re done with your vegetable salad, go ahead and dive into a big bowl of fruit salad for dessert. Cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries and — of course — watermelon all contain 90% or more water content. Oranges, pineapples and raspberries are only a disappointing 87% water, but go ahead and add them to your fruit salad anyway.
Not only will fruits contribute to your daily hydration, they offer a wide array of vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants that your body needs for optimal health. Talk about multi-tasking!
Tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, onions, bell peppers and mushrooms are the main ingredients in ratatouille and all have over 90% water content by weight. To retain the most water in each vegetable, try steaming or sautéing this dish. Grilling or roasting will reduce the water content.
Crudité is not just a fancy word for a vegetable platter — it’s also a good source of hydrating food. Broccoli, cauliflower and baby carrots all fall into the 90% or higher water weight category. If carrying around a large platter of veggies all day doesn’t suit your lifestyle, aim for a deconstructed crudité. It’s a baggie of veggies you can toss in your lunch bag or keep in your desk at work.
You’re probably getting full by now, so let’s talk about some things you can drink that aren’t water but will add to your hydration quota.
Coffee and Tea
Wait, what? Don’t coffee and tea cause dehydration because of their diuretic properties? The answer is no. That belief has been debunked as an old wives tale by recent studies. Yes, drinking coffee and tea will eventually send you to the bathroom, but only as often as drinking water will.
For optimal health impact, avoid sugar-laden artificially flavored coffee drinks — I’m looking at you, Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino.
With more flavor than plain water and less sodium than sports drinks, coconut water is gaining popularity by leaps and bounds. The potassium content of coconut water surpasses that of four bananas, making it a go-to replenishment for athletes. It is also naturally low in fat and cholesterol free. Several companies have jumped on the coconut water bandwagon and offer many flavor varieties, including coffee-infused versions.
Traditional Sport Drinks
If you are a hard-core athlete, you may need to replenish with traditional sports drinks that contain electrolytes and carbohydrates. Most people won’t fall into this category and regular water will suffice, but if you are practicing for or participating in an endurance event longer than 90 minutes you will need the added benefits of a sports drink.
With all these great options, staying hydrated should be easy and convenient. You will be treating your body with the kindness it deserves and allowing yourself to stay fresh, full and healthy throughout your day!
Keep in mind that you should still drink about 80% of your hydration as water. But now you know: You can break the monotony with tasty foods and other beverages!
Kacey Mya is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective. Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, continuously building her strong love for style while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Connect with Kacey on Twitter.