This blog post is written by Illinois State University graduate student and dietetic intern, Jesi Thome.
Have you ever wondered why people say water is so important? We grow up hearing “make sure to drink plenty of water” for everything! If it’s hot outside, drink water. If it’s cold outside, drink water. If you’re sick, better drink water. If you wake up, drink! But why water?
Water provides many advantages for the body. Drinking enough water aids in digestion, helps carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells. Water also assists in cushioning joints, maintaining sodium balance and normalizing blood pressure. It is important to hydrate yourself with enough fluids in order to carry out these essential tasks.
There is not a “one-size fits all” calculation for water needs. Temperature, activity level, current health status, gender, age and weight all need to be factored into the equation. Generally speaking, about 20% of water comes from the food you eat each day. Taking that into consideration, women typically need an additional 9 cups (72 ounces) of fluid per day and men need about 12.5 cups (100 ounces) in order to replenish and stay hydrated. Water is the best and healthiest way to get in your daily fluid needs. However, other beverages such as coffee, tea, sparkling and flavored water, and fat- free milk are options as well.
You may be wondering what foods are high in water. Fruit, such as cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelons, bananas, grapes, oranges, pears and pineapples are all good options for added hydration. Vegetables, such as lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, cooked squash, carrots, cooked broccoli and avocados also contain high water content.
Create habits to drink fluids throughout the day by carrying a reusable water bottle with you or add fruit to your water for flavor. Also, make grocery lists that consist of high content water foods. There are a lot of tricks to stay hydrated, check out the recipe below for a salsa high in water content foods.
Avocado Mango Salsa (Printable PDF)
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
1 lime, juiced
1 mango, pitted, peeled and diced
1 small red onion, chopped
1 habanero pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
¼ teaspoon salt
In a medium bowl, add avocado and lime juice; gently stir. Stir in the mango, onion, habanero pepper, cilantro and salt. Note: Serve with pork, chicken, fish or chips.
Yield: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 60 calories, 3 grams fat, 75 milligrams sodium, 9 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 1 grams protein