Hydration Beyond Water – Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables

This is a guest blog post by Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, CSSD.

As we transition from those early spring time months of warm beverages and apples galore, we enter a world transformed by summer heat and an abundance of sun-doused produce.  Our disposition to spend more time in the heated outdoors, be it a trail run, time spent gardening or picnicking with friends, makes staying hydrated of the utmost importance!

Now for the long-disputed question: Do we really need 8 glasses of water to maintain hydration?

The female human body is roughly 50-60 percent water and the male body is 60-65 percent!  While it’s imperative to drink a healthy dose of fluid each day to maintain hydration, the quintessential recommendation of 8-10 glasses per day can come from a variety of sources, and is variable to one’s activity level and environment.  Whereas water is the most pure form of hydration, we often rely on more flavorful sources like sports drinks, sodas, juices and coffee beverages.  Although these items contain water, they are often high in calories and sugar.  Therefore, the trick to maintaining good hydration while keeping calories at a minimum, aside from drinking water, is to eat fruits and vegetables of high water content.

Drinking water is a great way to quench thirst, however, when you eat a piece of juicy fruit, the water along with other nutrients and electrolytes present in the fruit, get absorbed together thus hydrating and maintaining water balance in every cell of the body.

Go ahead, give it a try!  Use lettuce leaves as taco shells, muddle watermelon into your lemonade, eat berries for a snack, and add red cabbage to your salads for some extra crunch, color, nutrition and hydration!

Fruits and Vegetables  Percent Water Calories Serving
Bibb Lettuce 96% 7 kcal 1 cup raw
Cucumber 95% 16 kcal 1 cup raw
Zucchini 95% 17 kcal 1 cup raw
Bell Pepper 94% 18 kcal 1 cup raw
Watermelon 91% 23 kcal 1/2 cup raw
Strawberries 91% 25 kcal 1/2 cup raw
Red Cabbage 90% 28 kcal 1 cup raw
Peach 89% 30 kcal 1/2 cup raw
Raspberries 86% 32 kcal 1/2 cup raw
Apricot 86% 37 kcal 1/2 cup raw
Blueberries 84% 42 kcal 1/2 cup raw
Pichuberries 84% 43 kcal 1/2 cup raw

Manuel Villacorta is a registered dietitian in private practice, MV Nutrition, award winning nutrition center in San Francisco. He is the founder of Eating Free, an international weight management and wellness program and author of Eating Free: The Carb Friendly Way to Lose Inches, Embrace Your Hunger, and Keep Weight Off for Good and  his new book Peruvian Power Foods: 18 Superfoods, 101 Recipes, and Anti-Aging Secrets from the Amazon to the Andes (October 2013)

  • DarrylM

    Thanks for the chart, it’ll be very helpful.

  • Fairfield Easton

    I think the 8 glasses of water is no longer recommended by most medical authorities. Staying hydrated is, however.

  • Joan

    Thank you for the timely post. Gong to Colorado and I need to stay hydrated so I don’t suffer from altitude sickness.

  • priya

    how are oranges? eating onne now!