Hydrate Your Body with High Water Content Fruits and Vegetables

| In Nutrition For The Equestrian Athlete

hydrating-foodsWater makes up about 60% of the body’s weight. For the body to function properly, we need to consume about two quarts of water (or liquid) per day. Every system in your body depends on water.

Water regulates body temperatures, eliminates toxins, carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells, and provides a moist environment for body tissues and joints.  Water needs vary but depend on the food a person eats, environmental temperature and humidity, a person’s activity level and other factors. Fruits and vegetables contain large quantities of water in proportion to their weight. When these foods are eaten, the water can be absorbed by the body.

Hydrating Potassium Foods

Potassium is the predominant positively charged electrolyte in body cells.  The flow of potassium and sodium in and out of cells maintains the normal functioning of the heart, brain, kidney and skeletal muscles.  Potassium is important for muscle contraction and the rhythm of the heart. The majority of potassium in the body is stored within the cells, so small changes in the concentration of potassium in the bloodstream can have serious health consequences.

Cantaloupe provides 29 calories and is made up of 89 percent water is an exceptionally good fruit for supporting energy production through its efficient carbohydrate metabolism and ability to keep the blood sugar stable.

Strawberries contain 23 calories and are made up of approximately 92 percent water. Strawberries rank as the fourth strongest antioxidant rich fruit.  The polyphenols found in strawberries aid in regulating the blood sugar response in active individuals.

Hydrating Sodium Foods

Sodium is a required element for normal body functions. It is lost in sweat and urine and is replaced by diet. The body has a remarkable ability to maintain sodium and water balance throughout a variety of conditions. During exercise, especially in hot weather, more salt is lost in sweat per hour than can be replaced by food or even sport drinks. The body can tolerate a slight degree of imbalance, but only for a short period of time. Hydrating through sodium-rich foods such as celery can be a powerful addition to diet.

Celery is considered to be a powerful electrolyte food. As little as two to three mineral-rich stalks of celery can replenish an athlete’s sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc levels after intense exercise.

Hydrating Magnesium Foods

Magnesium is an essential mineral which acts as a co-factor for over 300 enzyme systems, including those that control the metabolism of glucose.  Magnesium has a strong independent role in controlling blood pressure and is thought to be an important factor in preventing heart attacks. The most hydrating magnesium rich food is broccoli.

Broccoli is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. It contains 90 percent water and many health supporting compounds which are anti-inflammatory.

Add High Water Content Fruits and Vegetables to Your Day

Eat fresh fruit instead of drinking fruit juice. Juice is often sweetened but fresh fruits have natural sugars. When you eat fruit, you are taking in a lot of fiber, which is needed by the body, and fruits of course are an excellent source of vitamins.

If you do have a craving for fruit juice then go for fresh fruit juice instead of those containing artificial flavours and colors.

Choose fresh fruit over canned. Canned fruits do not have as much fiber as fresh fruit and contain added sugar.

Eating fruits and vegetables with high water content can help satisfy nutrient recommendations and keep you hydrated. If you don’t drink the recommended amount of water in a day, fruits and vegetables can provide you with supplemental fluid, keeping you nourished and healthy. Water-rich fruits and vegetables are popular choices for juicing, smoothies and snacking.

Water Content of Fruits

For example, fruits such as apricots, blueberries, oranges, peaches, pineapples, plums and raspberries contain over eighty percent water. Melons such as cantaloupe and watermelon have some of the highest water content, at more than 90 percent.

Water Content of Vegetable

For example, vegetables such as celery, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, tomato and zucchini contain over ninety percent water. Other nutrient-rich vegetables with high water content include broccoli, green cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant and spinach. Vegetables are also an excellent source of antioxidants, minerals and fiber.

 

“Achieve Peak Performance Through Optimum Nutrition!” – Ian Harris

Ian can be reached at ian@ianharris.ca. You can also follow his nutrition tips on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nutritionequestrianathlete or visit http://www.ianharris.ca/