Staying hydrated is essential to staying healthy–water makes up about 60 percent of our body weights, and even just a five percent decrease of water in the body declines muscle strength and endurance significantly. A 20 percent reduction results in death (don’t worry–your body signals to you that it’s thirsty when the water in your body is reduced by just one percent).
So how much water do you need every day? The old “8 glasses adage,” while a good general benchmark, isn’t entirely accurate. Instead divide your weight in pounds in half—that’s much much you should drink in ounces (so, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water a day, about 10 eight-ounce glasses).
Don’t panic if you’re currently drinking way less—we actually get a lot of our water from the foods we eat. One study even claims that eating water-rich fruits or vegetables instead of chugging water after a tough workout can hydrate you twice as effectively, providing your body with amino acids, mineral salts, and vitamins.
So what should you reach for? Check out these fruits and vegetables high in water content:
Watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and peaches top the list, containing between 88 and 92 percent water per volume.
Try: A grapefruit with brown sugar for a mid-day snack, or a watermelon salad for lunch.
Oranges, pineapple, cranberries, and raspberries are also great sources, containing 87 percent water, followed by apricots (86 percent), plums and blueberries (85 percent), and apples and pears (84 percent).
Try: A smoothie packed with berries for a post-workout boost. Adding a spoonful of peanut butter will give you a healthy dose of protein, too.
Cherries and grapes make a great addition to the diet, coming in at 81 percent water. Bananas are 74 percent water.
Try: Dessert! Who knew a slice of cherry pie could be so healthy?
Lettuce and cucumbers consist of 96 percent water, but radish, zucchini, and celery aren’t far behind at 95 percent. Tomatoes (94 percent) and green cabbage (93 percent) are also top choices.
Try: Fresh tomato soup for dinner, packed with plenty of basil and garlic.
Eggplant, red cabbage, peppers, cauliflower, and spinach are great options, with 92 percent water content. Broccoli comes in at 91 percent.
Try: A broccoli and cauliflower salad—both have been shown to fight cancer, as an added bonus.
Carrots are also good options, at 87 percent. Green peas and, surprisingly, white potatoes also make the list, both at 79 percent water.
Try: We don’t have to tell you twice that mashed potatoes are a great comfort food.