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Stay Hydrated with Fruits and Veggies

Fruit and OJ

photo © Getty

If drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day sounds like mission impossible, don’t worry. You can eat your way to good hydration as part of a cancer-preventive diet.

Mouthwatering summer fruits and vegetables are overflowing with water. These nutritious foods also supply vitamins and minerals along with a boost to hydration plus cancer-fighting fiber and phytochemicals.

Bread may be the staff of life, but water literally makes up our lifeblood – about 60 percent of our body is composed of water. That’s why not having enough water (becoming dehydrated) results in mild to life-threatening symptoms ranging from a dry sticky mouth, headache and tiredness to mental confusion and heart and kidney failure.

Risk of dehydration gets higher after age 50. One reason is that the sensation of thirst decreases with age. Other causes include age-related changes in body composition and medication use. In fact, if you feel thirsty, that’s one of your best signals that you need more water.

How Much Water do You Need?

There is no one-size-fits-all reference. That’s because exercise, illness and weather all play a role in fluid needs. However, the Institute of Medicine has determined that 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women is an adequate daily intake for beverages, including drinking water.

It’s easy to make plain or sparkling water taste more flavorful by adding slices of lemon, lime, cucumbers or watermelon. And if you consume enough foods with high water content, you may not need to drink quite as much to get the fluid you need. In fact, studies have shown that not eating enough fruits and vegetables can be a risk factor for dehydration.

Water makes up over 90 percent of the weight of many fruits and vegetables. These include cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries and watermelon as well as broccoli, green and red cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, sweet peppers, radishes, spinach, zucchini and tomatoes.

For example, 1 cup of cubed watermelon and 3/4 cup of blueberries provides the same amount of fluid as 1 cup of water. So does a salad made with 1/2 cup of lettuce, 1 cup sliced cucumbers and 1 tomato. Eat a fruit salad for breakfast, or try our Watermelon Berry Cooler recipe, below.

Watermelon Berry Cooler

Watermellon Berry Cooler

photo © Veer

  • 2¼ cups water, almost boiling
  • 2 green tea bags
  • 1 Tbsp. packed spearmint leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. wildflower or orange blossom honey
  • 1 cup bite-size watermelon chunks
  • 1 cup thawed frozen unsweetened raspberries
  • Lime slices for garnish (optional)
  • Spearmint sprigs for garnish (optional)

Steep tea and spearmint leaves 3-5 minutes in hot water. Add honey and set aside. In blender, purée melon and raspberries. Add tea to fruit mixture and purée for 1 minute. Strain tea and fruit mixture to remove seeds and bits of spearmint leaves. Refrigerate until cold. In 4 tall glasses with ice, pour beverage and garnish with lime and spearmint, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 60 calories, 0 g total fat (0 g saturated fat),
15 g carbohydrates,<1 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 1 mg sodium.


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Ann Wrenshall Worley

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