Hydration is not only important but is the most critical factor for an athlete as majority of them overlook the power of water & hydration. Good hydration enhances performance and a body that is not well hydrated could impact performance, experience fatigue, muscle cramps & lead to other serious problems.
With every 2% of body weight loss due to fluid loss, an athlete loses 15 – 30% performance.
As we are already aware 70% of our body weight is water & it is required for most of the bodily functions. According to the Institute of Medicine an average, healthy man needs about 13 cups of water per day while the average, healthy woman needs about 9 cups of water per day. If you are into exercising or sports then the demands are more.
Apart from this it is also important to take into account of the total water consumed 70 – 80% should come from beverages (And not only plain water) and 20 – 30% from food. However, this may vary depending upon the food consumed by an individual.
Drinking plain water to meet the hydration demand may be challenging for individuals, especially young athletes. In order to make optimal hydration a little interesting, let’s check out the list of foods & other beverages which can be consumed to maintain proper hydration.
- WATERMELON – It is the least expensive & the freshest fruit providing 92% of the total water. But its salt, calcium and magnesium is what makes it ideal for rehydration, according to a 2009 study at the University of Aberdeen Medical School. It is also low in calories and an excellent source of antioxidant carotenoid lycopene. So you can eat or drink your watermelon year round.
- CUCUMBER – Composed of 96% water, cucumbers have the highest water content compared to any solid food. This summer vegetable is also loaded with Vitamin C, K, B6, minerals like sodium & potassium and several flavonoid antioxidants. The silica in cucumber also keeps muscles healthy. So either slice them up or make a refreshing cucumber water to add some fluid to your meal.
- CELERY – it is the most ignored vegetable but make a note celery stalks provide 95% water along with fiber, Vitamin K, sodium, potassium & magnesium. Research shows it can hydrate your body as much as a glass of water. One stick provides as low as 6 calories. So add this veggie in your diet not only for water but to add some crunch to your meal.
- ZUCCHINI – Similar to cucumber, zucchini is also an excellent source of water providing 95% water & almost same nutritional value but majority of us prefer it in cooked form where it loses most of its water content. So in order to get its hydrating benefits, slice some raw zucchini into your salad or make some noodles (zucchini noodles) or put them into your pasta.
- GREEN SALAD & SPINACH – Mixed greens & spinach provides almost 90% water and only 7 calories per cup. They are also packed with important vitamins & antioxidants which protect from free radical damage.
- STRAWBERRIES – These sweet & tangy fruits contribute significantly to the overall fluid intake as they are 92% water. They are a perfect addition to almost everything. So make a habit of munching on these hydrating berries.
- TOMATOES – Apart from other amazing health benefits of tomatoes, they are 94% water which means it is must in your diet to maintain your fluid intake. According to a new research, tomato juice can also help body to recover better compared to other energy drinks.
- PINEAPPLE – Pineapple can help to recover & rehydrate post an exercise as it contains 87% water & an enzyme Bromelain which helps in muscle recovery & reduces inflammation. So enjoy them into your salad or smoothies or just plain. It will make you full without adding any fat.
- LETTUCE – Iceberg lettuce provides 96% water and would help in replenishing body’s water levels.
- YOGURT – Regular plain yogurt is 85 – 88% water. So it is an excellent way to keep you hydrated and it also helps in replenishing electrolytes as it is a rich source of sodium & potassium.
- GRAPEFRUIT – this pink fruit provides 90% water which can help in increasing the water intake.
- LOW FAT OR SKIM MILK – Milk is good for rehydration & recovery post exercise especially chocolate milk. It is about 87% water.
- COCONUT WATER – It is known as the Mother Nature’s sports drink. It is super hydrating providing fewer calories, less sodium & more potassium compared to any sports drink.
- SMOOTHIES – Smoothies are a great way to keep oneself hydrated provided they are prepared with high water containing fruits like berries, watermelon, oranges, etc. Add some curd or coconut water to make it a perfect blend for good hydration.
- SOUPS – Soup is a great flavourful way to increase fluid intake but try to stick to home-made veggie or chicken soup to avoid too much fat consumption.
The above mentioned foods will satisfy your thirst & hunger both. When you include such healthy fruits & vegetables in your diet, they will not only hydrate you but will also keep you healthy. So stock up on these hydrating foods to further enhance your performance.
Author: Rashmi Cherian
Registered Dietitian (License No 61/08), Certified Sports & Exercise Nutritionist
Founder Wellness Vows
Copyright @ 2017 SwimIndia
SwimIndia does not guarantee results of any sort, before making any changes to your diet plans, please consult an expert