Nothing affects the body and mind quite like dehydration. And some of the obvious signs are dry skin, a headache, or fatigue. While we generally associate dehydration with hot weather it can be just as common during colder months, when we're less likely to consume as much water and hydrating foods.
Thirst - Your Body's First Sign of Dehydration
If you’re feeling thirsty it’s not just a sign that you’re on the verge of becoming dehydrated, it actually means your body is asking to be rehydrated now because it’s already dehydrated.
The best way to avoid dehydration in the first place is to keep those water levels in your body topped up at all times.
While water is your ideal rehydration companion, I know, drinking plain water all day long is quite frankly, pretty boring.
Staying hydrated isn't just about drinking water though - according to the British Nutrition Foundation we get 20% of our fluid from food.
So, including hydrating foods in your diet can make all the difference to both avoiding dehydration and the enjoyment factor from your efforts to staying hydrated.
9 Hydrating Foods And Ways To Enjoy Them
Here are 9 hydrating foods that you can include in your diet to help you avoid dehydration during the summer and winter months.
Strawberries are reminiscent of long, sunny summer days. This sweet fruit is not only hydrating but also a great source of vitamin c, fibre and phyto-nutrients.
Enjoy: Succulent strawberries can be thrown into smoothies, desserts and salads or even a glass of filtered water with mint, lemon and other water-abundant fruits.
If you’ve never had a smoothie bowl before (like the image in this blog), I recommend doing so. They’re such a light, delicious and nourishing meal or snack.
For a recipe idea, check out my Blackberry Smoothie Bowl. You can change the blackberries for another berry, like strawberries.
The radish is considered a cooling food and many people swear by its heat-dissipating properties.
These refreshing root vegetables also provide a burst of spicy-sweet flavour and colour. They contain just as much water as celery, which doesn't offer as much as radish in the way of flavour.
And they're also filled with antioxidants, such as catechin (found in green tea). Catechin has a positive effect on blood sugar and inflammation and studies show IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) too.
Enjoy: Add radishes to your spring and summer salads. Radishes also make a perfect addition to a healthy coleslaw (without the mayonnaise). Slice them up with shredded cabbage and carrots, chopped hazelnuts and parsley and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Cherries have an 80% plus water content together with many other healthy attributes. According to studies, cherries are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin, the chemical that controls the body’s internal clock to regulate sleep.
But sweet cherries are naturally high in sugar, so it's important to watch your consumption. However, fruit is packed with nutrition unlike sugary sweets and snacks, making it always a better food choice if you're craving something sweet.
Enjoy: Have them fresh as a sweet snack. Make a cherry compote out of frozen tart or sweet cherries and spoon on yogurt, oatmeal, or chia pudding. Add halved, pitted cherries to a fruit salad.
Cucumber is super cooling for the body and with a 95% water content, juiced, it’s almost as hydrating as a glass of water.
Enjoy: Put half a cucumber through the juicer (peeled, if it’s not organic). Drink by itself or juice with carrot and celery. Or for hydration heaven, juice a few slices of watermelon with your cucumber juice.
5. Chia seeds
When chia seeds are soaked they absorb 10 times their weight in water, making them a perfect hydrating food.
If you don’t soak chia seeds before you eat them, they will have the opposite effect and cause dehydration as they consume your bodily fluids.
Enjoy: Soak chia seeds in water overnight and add them to your smoothie, yoghurt or fruit dish the next day. You don’t need a lot of chia seeds. In a bowl, soak one tablespoon of chia seeds in three tablespoons of water.
Bananas are not only delicious, but they contain potassium which replaces lost electrolytes post-sweating, as well as magnesium which helps balance and regulate the fluids in your body. They’re also energising, which is an additional bonus if you're low in energy.
Enjoy: Make homemade banana ice-cream by cutting slices of a peeled banana and freezing them in a tub for at least six hours. Then, pulse the frozen slices in a food processor until the banana has reached an ice-cream texture. You can add a little filtered water or coconut water for extra deliciousness.
You can also add slices of banana to porridge, granola and smoothies.
7. Coconut water
Coconut water is a wonderful hydrating drink or addition to smoothies. It contains four times the amount of potassium as a banana, plus B-vitamins, electrolytes and magnesium. Make sure to buy 100% coconut water with no other added ingredients.
Enjoy: On its own, in smoothies or make coconut water ice cubes to add hydration to a glass of water.
8. Cantaloupe Melon
Watermelon is ideal for hydration, but if I’m honest it’s not my favourite melon. If you feel the same or want to mix things up, cantaloupe melon has a 90% water content.
Enjoy: Cut it up and eat it as a snack, or for breakfast, or in a fruit salad
This semi-aquatic plant is full of moisture and nutrient power, making it a perfect hydrating food.
Enjoy: Add this peppery flavoured superfood to all types of salads. Watercress tastes particularly delicious when combined with cucumbers, a touch of fennel and a sweet lime dressing – olive oil, lime, fresh mint and honey.
Consider using sweet fruits, such as pear in a watercress salad to balance watercress’s peppery taste.
Top Tip: Remember to buy all your fruit and veggies as fresh as possible. Your local market probably sells some of the best produce to be found.
For tips on go to: How to Keep your Fruit and Vegetables Fresher for Longer
Feel free to comment below on what foods you find particularly hydrating and how you like to enjoy them.
Hi, I'm an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Pain & Stress Management Therapist, and Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner.
I help people elevate their mind and body health by addressing diet, nutrition and lifestyle symptoms. Let's work together to optimize how you feel and function.
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