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Whether your active hobbies include all-day hikes or an afternoon on the tennis court in the summer heat, you know your body needs to stay hydrated to perform at it’s best.

You’ve probably read dozens of articles and rolled your eyes as you heard over and over again, “make sure you drink 8 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated!” As you know, the human body is made up of approximately two thirds water, and the effects of even mild dehydration range from annoying to seriously hazardous for your health.

But focusing only on water consumption levels neglects the other important element of healthy hydration: the food that we eat.

What if the food that you eat throughout each day could help you not only satisfy your hunger, but also give you a way higher rate of hydration?

What if you could “eat your water?”

Elite-level endurance athletes – such as ultra-marathoners and long distance trail runners – use specific superfoods to boost their water retention by nearly 200% in order to stay hydrated when they have to run for miles without any water in sight.

Today, you can use this article to swipe the secrets of those athletes and learn which superfoods you can eat every day to boost your hydration naturally.

Chia Seeds

No, we’re not suggesting that you go pick up a Presidential Chia Pet as a joke for your mantle.

Chia seeds are actually rapidly gaining popularity as a superfood that can help relieve conditions ranging from diabetes to heart disease naturally. But equally important to their health boosting properties is chia seed’s ability to transport water.

Because chia seeds can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, they make for a naturally hydrating food if you soak them in water before consuming them. You can simple place chia seeds in a glass or water bottle at a 1 to 10 ratio with your water, and allow it to sit overnight or at least for a couple of hours to allow the chia seeds to really soak up all the moisture they can. They then form a viscous, jelly-like consistency and you can drink them or eat them with a spoon.

Athletes will eat soaked chia seeds before endurance races to take advantage of the slowly released water that he soaked seeds provide.

Cucumber

At nearly 96% water content, cucumbers have the highest water content of any solid food.

And lucky for you, cucumbers are in abundance during the summertime. You should be able to find fresh cucumbers at your local farmer’s market, and they can easily be served diced up with some tzatziki sauce, pickled, or even eaten on their own.

Watermelon

A 2009 study by the University of Aberdeen Medical School found that certain fruits and vegetables that have a high water content can actually be twice as hydrating as drinking water in the same portion.

At the top of the list for these extremely hydrating foods was watermelon (couldn’t have guessed that one from the name, could you?) Made up 92% water, it also contains many minerals – like sodium – that are essential for proper fluid movement throughout the body. Cube up your watermelon and toss it with basil and lettuce for a summer salad, or eat it by the slice.

Spinach

We’ve covered seeds, fruits, and crunchy veggies, so now it’s time to move on to the leafy greens. The body needs electrolytes – in addition to the water itself – to push the fluid throughout the body and into the cells that need the hydration to survive. Spinach is chock-full of the electrolyte magnesium, which is essential for proper fluid balance in the body.

Add to that it’s 91% water content, and spinach is a clear winner for a hydrating food. Now you can add that spinach to your salad bowl knowing that it’s not only full of healthy vitamins and minerals, but it’s keeping you hydrated, as well.

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