Did you know you can hydrate with what’s on your plate – not just what’s in your cup? The following foods are heavy on the water content, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrient database. In several cases, they’re also full of nutrients that will help you fight disease. Feel free to load up on:
1. Cucumbers Hydrate and replenish your skin with fresh cucumbers. In addition to containing 95 percent water, cucumbers are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds that help remove waste from the body and reduce skin irritation. Preliminary research also suggests cucumbers promote anti-wrinkling and anti-aging activity.
2. Celery Celery will satisfy your craving for crunch. It’s also tied with cucumbers and iceberg lettuce at 95 percent water by weight. You can feel good about eating celery because of its low calorie count and high value in vitamin K, folate and potassium.
3. Iceberg lettuce This popular type of lettuce contains a whopping 95 percent water. However, if you prefer the heart-healthy benefits of leafy greens instead, spinach is a good alternative at 91 percent water by weight.
4. Zucchini Like its relatives in the cucumber and melon families, this popular squash has a high water content – almost 95 percent. Better yet, zucchini packs in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Those last two are especially important for eye health.
5. Watermelon No surprise here: Watermelon flesh contains 91 percent water. This sweet treat also contains abundant lycopene, which can help protect your cells from sun damage and improve your complexion.
6. Strawberries The benefits of strawberries go beyond fabulous flavor and 91 percent water content. They’re a rich source of flavonoids, compounds associated with improved cognitive function. One study associated eating more berries with delayed cognitive aging of up to 2.5 years.
7. Cauliflower Surprised? Well, cauliflower is actually 92 percent water by weight. It’s rich in vitamin C, vitamin K and other key essentials. Cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables contain nutrients that may help lower cholesterol and lower cancer risk. Try this veggie mashed as a substitute for potatoes.
Kristin Kirkpatrick and Brigid Titgemeier are registered dietitians at the Cleveland Clinic.