Stay Hydrated with Water-Rich Foods this Summer

The scorching summer temperatures have resulted in a number of deaths in the United States which is why healthcare providers are urging people to stay hydrated.

Drinking water can have a number of benefits.  In fact, experts say staying hydrated can help you live a longer, healthier life. The National Academy of Medicine recommends men consume 13 8-ounce glasses of water per day and women consume nine, more if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Still, health experts say drinking more water can help cool you down this summer but eating certain foods can help as well. Experts say hydration does not just come from drinking multiple glasses of water, but you can turn to foods for hydration instead. In fact, at least 19 percent of a U.S. adult’s water intake typically comes from water-rich foods that are not hard to find.

“The important thing is to stay hydrated, regardless of where the water comes from,” Penny Kris-Etherton, a university professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania.

“A lot of foods are high in water content, especially fruits and vegetables,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, Evan Pugh University Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania. “Eating these foods is a way of helping to maintain good hydration status.”

Water-rich foods can be found mainly in the produce department, said Georgia Jones, an associate professor in the nutrition department at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

“Aim for fruits and vegetables that contain at least 85 percent water,” Kris-Etherton said. “Cucumbers top the list, at about 95 percent water, They’re also low in calories while high in fiber and vitamins K and A,” she said.

Health experts say, tomatoes can be another good source for hydration, along with cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon. Celery, peaches, zucchini, radishes and asparagus are also water-rich. Lettuce can also provide a good amount of water, according to experts.

This is particularly important in the Black community, as according to a study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, nearly a third of U.S. adults are not hydrated enough, and poorer adults as well as Black and Hispanic adults are at higher risk for poor hydration than wealthier and white adults.

The authors of the study suggest that a lack of access to clean, safe drinking water is attributing to the dehydration of the Black community, as well as the lack of access to healthy water-rich foods, which can impact your overall health. Researchers say hydration is essential for maintaining proper physiological functioning, and extreme dehydration can lead to health complications that require immediate attention.

According to the Harvard study, inadequate hydration impairs daily functioning and well being with symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, reduced cognitive functioning, poorer physical performance, and headaches.

This summer’s record-breaking temperatures, worsened by the human-caused climate crisis, have led to fears a new annual high death toll will be set in 2023.  The CDC says the average annual heat-related deaths are up to 95 percent in the U.S. form 2010-2022.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heat can be a silent killer and is the leading weather-related cause of mortalities in the U.S. In fact, it outpaced deaths from hurricanes by a factor of eight to one.


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