How to Stay Hydrated Without Gulping Water
Certain foods can help you get your fill of fluids, no water bottle required
You know the rule: To keep your body humming along healthfully, you need to drink plenty of fluids every day. “Water comprises approximately 60 percent of the human body,” explains Lara Zamajtuk, MS, RDN, director of clinical nutrition services for St. Joseph’s Healthcare System in Paterson, New Jersey. “Essentially every system and function depends on water to transport oxygen, fat and glucose to working muscles, regulate body temperature, digest food and get rid of waste.”
But if you find it hard (or boring) to down what may feel like gallons of plain H2O — even in spurts and squirts over the span of the day — you’ll be happy to know there are other ways to stay hydrated.
Related: 7 Signs You Need a Drink (of Water)
For one thing, other beverages definitely count. And while those other beverages should be healthy choices (not sugary sodas or even fruit juices), they don’t have to be ho-hum choices. Lemon water may be more interesting to your tastebuds than plain water, and milk, whether in a smoothie or in your cereal (or even a glass of chocolate milk), counts too.
So do coffee and tea — even fully-caffeinated brews, despite the diuretic effects of these beverages. “Beverages with caffeine levels of 200 to 400 milligrams are as hydrating as plain water,” says Zamajtuk. That means you can start your morning with a robust cup of Joe and still end up more hydrated than when you started. If your favorite summer sip is an iced mocha latté or freshly brewed iced tea, drink up and enjoy.
Sports drinks are another hydrating option but they’re high in sodium (and often, sugar and calories) and best saved for rehydrating if you’ve been exercising or sweating heavily.
How to eat your fluids
Women should get approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water, from all beverages and foods, each day. Men should get an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily). Those are the official recommendations from the Institute of Medicine. (You may need more on hot days or when you’re especially active and sweaty, according to the Mayo Clinic.) In other words, other things you drink — as well as what you eat — can count toward your daily fluid intake.
Most people get around 80 percent of their daily fluids from water and other beverages and 20 percent from food, Zamajtuk says.
Fruits and veggies that have a high water content offer some advantages over plain water. “They’re low in calories, can help you feel full and offer vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, as well as fiber.”
Wondering which fruits and veggies have the highest water content? Here are 17 of the juiciest fruits and water-packed veggies. Each is more than 90 percent H20.
Related: Gulp! Your Kid May Be Dehydrated
- Cucumber (96 percent)
- Lettuce (96 percent)
- Radish (95 percent)
- Zucchini (95 percent)
- Celery (95 percent)
- Tomatoes (red) (94 percent)
- Tomatoes (green) (93 percent)
- Cabbage (green) (93 percent)
- Cabbage (red) (92 percent)
- Cauliflower (92 percent)
- Sweet peppers (92 percent)
- Eggplant (92 percent)
- Watermelon (92 percent)
- Strawberries (92 percent)
- Broccoli (91 percent)
- Grapefruit (91 percent)
- Cantaloupe (90 percent)