Our bodies rely on H2O. Water protects and hydrates our organs, stabilizes our body temperature, filters waste products, transports nutrients to our cells, balances levels of electrolytes, and helps us stay energized and mentally sharp—just to name a few! That’s why it’s so important to stay hydrated, especially as summer approaches.
A 2004 report from the Food and Nutrition Board suggests that women should aim for about 2.7 liters of water a day, but that recommendation may change in different environments. The hot and humid weather of the summer (and high altitudes if you’ll be taking a trip) can necessitate additional intake, so stay in tune with your body to make sure you’re getting all that you need.
To give your body the hydration it needs, incorporate the following food and beverages into your diet, especially if you’re sick and tired of drinking (boring) water all summer long.
Drink better-tasting water
Throw lemons, strawberries, cucumber slices, mint and whatever else sounds good in the glass to make your glass of H2O more exciting. Bonus: If these additions are hydrating themselves, like strawberries or cucumbers, your drink will be even more hydrating.
Get water through fruit
Luckily, a ton of the perfect summer foods are not only juicy but also super hydrating. Consider adding more watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupes and peaches to your diet, all of which have a high water content.
And pack on the veggies
Don’t fret if you’re more into veggies than fruit! Vegetables can contain just as much H2O as the juiciest fruits. Try cucumbers and lettuce, which are filled with 96 percent water. Next are celery and radishes, with 95 percent water. Other good choices include tomatoes (94 percent water) and cauliflower, bell peppers and spinach (92 percent water).
Have a glass of seltzer
If you’ve tried the water above with delicious additions, and you’re looking to spice your drink up even more, switch out the base of plain water for some seltzer. You can even add bitters or a mixer to make it a mocktail.
Which brings me to my next point: alcohol can dehydrate you quickly. Alcoholic beverages are diuretics, which will send the water (that you’ve worked so hard to get!) straight out of the body. Limit alcohol intake in the middle of the hottest days: Your body will thank you!
Include raw foods in your diet
Heat removes a significant amount of water, so sometimes cooking can take away some important nutrients from water-dense foods. Instead, include raw foods into your diet—eat them straight or put them in smoothies and salads.
Try coconut water
Because it’s packed with electrolytes, coconut water can be very refreshing on hot summer days. Just be wary of added sugars and opt for the most natural coconut water products you can find.