Eat Your Water: Hydrating Foods

You know that water is important. That’s not really any great secret. The truth, though, is that you don’t need to chug tons of the stuff every day to be healthy. In fact, experts aren’t entirely sure how much water the average human actually needs to survive.

But, what about the standard eight 8oz glasses everyday recommendation? Totally arbitrary. Those numbers seemed right and were easy to remember. So they stuck.

And this is good news for a lot of people who have a hard time getting those 64oz ounces of plain water into their systems every single day. With all of this confusion, though, how can you actually stay hydrated and make sure that your body has what it needs to function properly? As it turns out, you don’t have to drink water to get water.

The Caffeine Problem

Often, people are under the impression that only water counts toward their daily water intake. This simply isn’t true.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that soda, sports drinks or other calorie-laden beverages can replace the staple fluid. These drinks do contain some water but they can also easily disrupt your diet and should not be ingested in large amounts.

What about low-to-no-calorie alternatives like coffee or tea? These drinks tend to have a bad reputation because they contain caffeine, which is a diuretic. Although coffee and tea do contain lots of water, the thinking goes, they also make you urinate more frequently and therefore will actually dehydrate you.

“Not so!” Says science.

According to an impressive body of research, the diuretic effect of caffeine is not enough to actually cause dehydration since these beverages are mostly made of water. In fact, one study directly compared the hydration benefits of coffee with plain water. And it found absolutely no difference.

In short, coffee and tea count toward your daily water intake.


Lots of Food

But there are many, many other creative sources of water out there as well. Viewed logically, this really isn’t surprising. Water is, after all, in nearly everything. So, most foods are going to contain water to varying degrees. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), for example, a well-balanced diet could provide you with as much as 20oz of water every day. Following the standard recommendations, then, your diet would take care of almost one-third of daily hydration needs.

So, what foods should you be eating to maximize this effect? Here are just a few:

  • Melon
  • Citrus
  • Green beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Berries
  • Broth

Again, this is by no means a complete list. Still, this list can give you a decent idea of the range of foods that you can eat in order to provide your body with the water that it needs to function its best.