A guide to daily consumption and better health.
Fruits are an excellent source of water, with many, such as watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit and cantaloupe made up of at least 90 percent H2O. Just below that level are peaches, pineapple, cranberries, oranges, raspberries, apricots, blueberries, plums, apples and pears. Cherries and grapes weigh in at 81 percent water, and a banana’s composition includes 74 percent water.
Vegetables such as cucumber and lettuce top out at 96 percent water, with zucchini, radish and celery close behind at 95 percent. Other veggies containing more than 90 percent water are tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, spinach and broccoli. Crunchy carrots contain 87 percent water, while green peas and white potatoes each hold 79 percent.
Beverages including coffee, tea, juice, and even beer and soda can count toward your total. But keep in mind that while you’re getting water, you may be consuming calories and other not-so-nutritious ingredients like refined sugar. Milk—particularly low- or no-fat—is a good option. Coffee and tea also count in your tally—their role as dehydrators turns out to be a myth. By contrast, alcohol is a big dehydrator. Limit your intake, and aim for at least a one-to-one ratio with water if you tipple.
How much is enough? Eating four servings of fruit and five of vegetables per day may help reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases in addition to providing your body with fluids. After an intense workout, reach for a watermelon or cucumber. Studies indicate they may hydrate your body twice as effectively as a glass of water because they also provide natural sugars, amino acids, mineral salts and vitamins that are lost in exercise.
Getting enough water throughout the day is an easy win. Besides keeping you hydrated, it’s an excellent strategy for warding off disease, maintaining a healthy weight and feeling great.