While the summer is flying by, one thing that seems to be sticking around, is the heat. I find it funny that when we have cold summers all we want is the heat but as soon as it gets hot, we can't seem to cool down! We always want what we don't have!
Since we have had this crazy heat wave, the only thing keeping me cool is eating a ton of hydrating foods and drinking lots of water! What foods are the most hydrating you might ask? Let me share my top 5 healthy and hydrating foods for the summer!
- Cucumbers - This summer veggie, which has the highest water content of any solid food and contains many phytonutrients, is perfect in salads, or sliced up and served with some hummus for dipping.
- Watermelon - It's fairly obvious that watermelon is full of…wait for it… water. What is lesser known, is that this juicy melon is also among the richest sources of lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant found in red fruits and vegetables.
- Iceberg lettuce - Iceberg lettuce tends to get a bad rap, nutrition-wise. I normally would recommend darker greens like spinach or romaine, which contain higher amounts of fibre and nutrients such as folate and vitamin K. When it comes to water content however, iceberg has the highest of any lettuce. I wouldn’t replace all your salad greens with iceberg, but it is great to pile onto sandwiches or as a replacement for tortillas and hamburger buns. Iceberg leaves also work as a great a wrap for tacos.
- Radishes - These refreshing root vegetables are great for summer and spring salads as they provide a burst of spicy-sweet flavour in a small package. They get their crunch from their high water content, more importantly, they're filled with lots of antioxidants.
- Strawberries - one of my favourite things about summer is the fresh and local berries we can get from across the province. All berries are good foods for hydration, but juicy red strawberries are easily the best of the bunch. Strawberries contain a ton of vitamin C (almost as much as oranges) and lots of fibre too! We are lucky that in the summer we can take advantage of locally grown strawberries - they taste so much better and will have higher nutrient content than others!
Why is it so important to stay hydrated? When we sweat, we lose a lot of water and important minerals. The recommendation for daily water intake is 2/3 of your body weight in ounces(oz). Therefore, if you weigh 150 lbs. you should be drinking 100 oz. of water a day! If you are working out, then you need to add an extra 8 oz. for every half hour of working out in addition to your daily amount! Hydrating that much can seem like a daunting task on some days, but you don't have to take it all in by drinking water. The water content from your food counts too! It's still important to drink plenty of water—especially in the summertime—but you can also quench your thirst with all of the above hydrating foods!
Try this watermelon and mint salad. So hydrating and refreshing on hot humid summer days!
- 4 cups watermelon, cubed
- half an English cucumber, chopped
- ¼ cup handful fresh mint, finely chopped
- juice from 1 lime
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta (goat is my favourite - and is easier to digest!)
- drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
As mentioned above, watermelon is high in lycopene but this nutrient is absorbed more easily when you eat fat with it, which is why including feta in the salad is not only delicious but important. If you are dairy free, you can still make this salad without the feta but just add some olive oil on top so that you too can reap the delicious and hydrating benefits!