19 Water-Rich Foods That Help You Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is extremely important for your health. In fact, not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, which can cause fatigue, headaches, skin problems, muscle cramps, low blood pressure and a rapid heart rate (1). What’s more, prolonged dehydration can lead to serious complications like organ failure (1). Experts generally recommend drinking several glasses of water per day to meet your hydration needs.

But while drinking water is very important, you can also get it from foods. There are many healthy foods that can contribute a large amount of water to your diet.

This article discussed 19 water-rich foods that will help you stay hydrated.

1. Watermelon
Water content: 92%

Watermelon is very healthy and one of the most hydrating foods you can eat. A 1-cup (154-gram) serving contains over a half cup (118 ml) of water, in addition to some fiber and several important nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A and magnesium. It is also quite low in calories, providing only 46 calories per cup (2).

Because of their high water content, watermelons have a very low calorie density. That means that a relatively large portion of watermelon contains very few calories. Foods with low calorie densities have been shown to help with weight loss by promoting fullness and reducing appetite (3, 4).

Furthermore, watermelon is rich in powerful antioxidants, including lycopene. This compound has been studied for its ability to reduce oxidative damage to cells, which has been linked to diseases such as heart disease and diabetes (5).

2. Strawberries
Water content: 91%

Strawberries have a high water content, making them a very hydrating food. Because about 91% of strawberries’ weight comes from water, eating them will contribute to your daily water intake.

Furthermore, strawberries provide lots of fiber, disease-fighting antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate and manganese (6, 7, 8).

Eating strawberries on a regular basis has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can help protect against heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and various types of cancer (9, 10).

3. Cantaloupe
Water content: 90%

Cantaloupe is a melon that’s extremely nutritious and may boost your health in several ways.

One cup (177 grams) of cantaloupe is composed of about 90% water and delivers more than a half cup (118 ml) of water per serving (11).

One cup of cantaloupe also contains 2 grams of fiber, which works together with water to promote fullness and reduce your appetite (11, 12, 13, 14).

Additionally, cantaloupe is rich in vitamin A, providing 120% of your daily needs in a 1-cup (177-gram) serving. Studies have shown that vitamin A may boost immune health by protecting against infection (11, 15).

You can consume cantaloupe plain or add it to salads, smoothies, yogurt or salsa. It also makes a great side at breakfast.

4. Peaches
Water content: 89%

Peaches are a very nutrient-dense and hydrating fruit. Close to 90% of their weight is water. They also provide several important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins and potassium (16).

Furthermore, eating peaches with the skin on may also contribute disease-fighting antioxidants like chlorogenic acid to your diet (17).

Peaches’ water and fiber contents are why they are so filling and low in calories, with only 60 calories in a medium peach (16).

5. Oranges
Water content: 88%

Oranges are incredibly healthy and may provide a number of health benefits. There is almost a half cup (118 ml) of water in one orange, along with fiber and several nutrients (18). These include vitamin C and potassium, which may boost your immune function and heart health (19, 20).

Oranges are also rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, including flavonoids, which may prevent cell damage by reducing inflammation (21, 22).

The water and fiber in oranges may promote feelings of fullness, which is helpful for keeping your appetite under control (4, 12, 23).

Additionally, regularly eating citrus fruits like oranges may protect against kidney stones. This is because the citric acid they contain can bind with stone-forming calcium oxalate, helping flush it out of the body (24). Proper hydration is another important factor in preventing kidney stones, which the high water content of oranges can help promote (24).

6. Skim Milk
Water content: 91%

Skim milk is very nutritious. It’s made up of mostly water and provides a considerable amount of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B12, phosphorus and potassium (25).

Not only does milk help with overall hydration, but it may also help you rehydrate after strenuous exercise (26). A few studies have shown that low-fat milk helped people stay hydrated after a workout, compared to sports drinks or plain water (26, 27). This is partly due to milk’s electrolytes and protein content, which may help replace body fluid losses (27).

Because milk is widely available and quite cheap, it’s easy to incorporate into your diet.

7. Cucumber
Water content: 95%

Cucumbers are another healthy and hydrating food to include in your diet. They are made up almost entirely of water and also provide a small amount of some nutrients, such as vitamin K, potassium and magnesium (28).

Compared to other water-rich vegetables, cucumbers are one of the lowest in calories. There are only 8 calories in a half-cup (52-gram) serving, and their water content makes them very refreshing (28). You can eat a relatively large portion of cucumbers without adding a significant number of calories to your diet, which is helpful for maintaining your weight (12).

8. Lettuce
Water content: 96%

Lettuce has several health-promoting properties. One cup (72 grams) of lettuce provides more than a quarter cup (59 ml) of water, in addition to 1 gram of fiber. It also provides 5% of your daily needs for folate (29). Folate is important for pregnant women, as it can help prevent neural tube birth defects (30).

Additionally, lettuce is high in vitamins K and A, both of which have been studied for their roles in keeping your bones and immune system healthy (29, 31, 32). Furthermore, the combination of water and fiber in lettuce makes it very filling for a low number of calories. There are only 10 calories in a 1-cup (72-gram) serving (29).

9. Broths and Soups
Water content: 92%

Broths and soups are usually water-based and have the potential to be very hydrating and nutritious. For example, 1 cup (240 grams) of chicken broth is made almost entirely of water, which contributes a decent amount to your daily hydration needs (33).

Consuming water-rich foods like broths and soups regularly may also promote weight loss due to their low calorie content. Many studies have found that those who consume soup before the main course of a meal eat fewer calories and therefore end up with a lower daily calorie intake (34).

In one study, participants who ate two servings of low-calorie soups per day ended up losing 50% more weight than those who consumed the same number of calories from snack foods (35).

10. Zucchini
Water content: 94%

Zucchini is a nutritious vegetable that may provide several health benefits. A 1-cup (124-gram) serving of chopped zucchini contains more than 90% water and provides 1 gram of fiber. Both these components are great for keeping you full (36).

And as a result of its high water content, zucchini is fairly low in calories by volume, with only 20 calories in 1 cup (124 grams) (36). Eating zucchini will contribute several nutrients to your diet, especially vitamin C, since 1 cup (124 grams) of it contains 35% of your daily needs (36).

Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system and may help protect against a number of diseases (37).

11. Celery
Water content: 95%

Celery is a very healthy and hydrating food to include in your diet. It’s made mostly of water, providing close to a half cup (118 ml) of it in a 1-cup serving.

This contributes to its low calorie content of just 16 calories per cup (38).

Like other water-rich vegetables, celery may be a beneficial weight loss food due to its high water content and low number of calories (3).

In addition, celery contains some fiber and lots of important nutrients.

It’s particularly high in vitamin K and potassium, which may protect against heart disease, certain types of cancer and bone-related diseases like osteoporosis (38, 39, 40).

12. Plain Yogurt
Water content: 88%

Plain yogurt contains lots of water and nutrients that may boost several aspects of your health. A 1-cup (245-gram) serving of plain yogurt is made up of more than 75% water. It also provides several vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium, all of which are known to help promote bone health (19, 41, 42, 43).

Yogurt is also a great source of protein, providing more than 8 grams and about 17% of your daily needs in a 1-cup (245-gram) serving (41).

Eating yogurt on a regular basis has been shown to promote weight loss, an effect that’s largely due to the appetite-reducing effects of its high water and protein contents (44, 45, 46).

To reap the full benefits of yogurt, eat plain rather than flavored yogurt varieties. This is because flavored yogurt is typically high in unhealthy added sugar, which should be limited in your diet due to its role in promoting diseases like obesity, heart disease and diabetes (47, 48, 49). For example, 1 cup (245 grams) of fruit-flavored yogurt contains 47 grams of sugar, which is more than four times the amount found in the same serving size of plain yogurt (41, 50).

13. Tomatoes
Water content: 94%

Tomatoes have an impressive nutrition profile and may provide many health benefits. One medium tomato alone provides about a half cup (118 ml) of water. It also provides a significant amount of vitamins and minerals, including immune-boosting vitamins A and C (51).

The high amount of water in tomatoes contributes to their low calorie content, with only 32 calories in a 1-cup (149-gram) serving (51).

Additionally, tomatoes are rich in fiber and some disease-fighting antioxidants, including lycopene. Lycopene has been studied for its potential to lower the risk of heart disease and may help prevent the development of prostate cancer (52, 53, 54).

14. Bell Peppers
Water content: 92%

Bell peppers are another incredibly healthy vegetable with a variety of health-promoting effects.

More than 90% of the weight of bell peppers comes from water. They are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and potassium. Bell peppers also contain carotenoid antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of certain cancers and eye diseases (55, 56).

What’s more, bell peppers contain the highest amount of vitamin C, compared to other fruits and vegetables, providing 317% of your daily needs in just one cup (149 grams) (55). Not only does vitamin C benefit your immune system, it also helps your body absorb iron more effectively, promotes bone health and protects your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals (37, 57).

Because of their high water content, bell peppers are very low in calories, providing 46 calories per cup (149 grams). That means you can eat large portions of them without feeling like you’ve gone overboard (55).

15. Cauliflower
Water content: 92%

Cauliflower is an excellent vegetable to include in your diet, since it is very nutritious and hydrating. One cup (100 grams) of cauliflower provides more than one-forth cup (59 ml) of water, as well as 3 grams of appetite-reducing fiber.

Its high water content contributes to its low number of calories, with only 25 calories per cup (58).

Additionally, cauliflower consists of more than 15 different vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is not found in many foods. Choline is an essential nutrient for supporting brain health and metabolism (58, 59).

16. Cabbage
Water content: 92%

Cabbage is an impressively healthy cruciferous vegetable (60).

It is quite low in calories but high in fiber and nutrients. It is also rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and several trace minerals that may have a variety of health-promoting effects (3, 60).

For example, vitamin C is well known for its role in reducing inflammation and has been shown to lower the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease (37).

In addition, cabbage provides glucosinolates, which are antioxidants that are thought to help protect against certain types of cancer, such as lung cancer (61, 62).

Furthermore, cabbage is commonly fermented into sauerkraut, which is also rich in water and may benefit digestive health (63, 64).

17. Grapefruit
Water content: 88%

Grapefruit is an exceptionally healthy citrus fruit with many health benefits. In half a grapefruit (123 grams), there is close to a half cup (118 grams) of water, which contributes a decent amount of water to your daily hydration needs (65).

Additionally, grapefruit is rich in fiber, antioxidants and several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, potassium and folate. It’s especially high in immune-boosting vitamin C, providing 120% of your daily needs in half a grapefruit (123 grams) (65).

18. Coconut Water
Water content: 95%

Coconut water is a super healthy beverage that will keep you hydrated. Not only does it have a very high water content, it’s also rich in electrolytes, including potassium, sodium and chloride (69).

Studies have shown that coconut water may be beneficial for rehydrating. And it’s thought to be helpful for exercise recovery due to its electrolyte content (70, 71).

Drinking coconut water after exercise is a much healthier option than drinking a manufactured sports drink, since many sports drinks are loaded with added sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.

19. Cottage Cheese
Water content: 80%

Cottage cheese is another healthy and nutritious dairy product with hydrating properties. About 80% of the weight of cottage cheese comes from water.

It also contains 25 grams of protein per 1-cup (225-gram) serving, which is 50% of your daily needs (73). It’s high water and protein contents are a major reason why it’s such a filling food that may help reduce your appetite (74, 75).

Additionally, cottage cheese has an impressive nutrition profile, providing 36% of your daily needs for phosphorus, 19% for calcium and 31% for selenium in just 1 cup (225 grams) (73).

Furthermore, cottage cheese is a great source of B vitamins, including riboflavin and vitamin B12, which are necessary for brain health, metabolism and keeping your bones healthy (76, 77, 78).

The Bottom Line
Staying hydrated is extremely important for your overall health. Health experts often recommend drinking several glasses of water per day to meet your hydration needs, but the water content of foods is often overlooked.

While drinking water is important, you can consume a significant amount of water by including a variety of water-rich fruits, vegetables and dairy products in your diet. This is why most people don’t necessarily have to drink a lot of water. As long as you’re eating plenty of water-rich foods and drinking water when you feel thirsty, you won’t have a problem staying hydrated.

Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/19-hydrating-foods

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