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Eat More Water! Try These 8 Hydrating Foods

watermelon slices on a table
The key to proper hydration is to drink water and have a diet rich in these eight fruits and veggies.

by Cheryl S. Grant

You've probably heard it time and again: In order to stay hydrated, you have to fit in those eight glasses of water per day! The importance of drinking water cannot be downplayed, but did you know you that some solid foods — especially fruits and vegetables — can also be a source of hydration? It's true.

In fact, the average person gets about 20 percent of their daily fluid intake from hydrating foods (and 80 percent from drinks), according to Mayo Clinic. If you're exercising in the gym on a hot day, or simply want to increase your water consumption, consider snacking on these eight hydrating foods.

1. Iceberg Lettuce

Water content: 96 percent. Even though this leafy vegetable sometimes gets criticized for being low in vitamins and minerals, you would be hard-pressed to find any other solid food that has a higher water content than iceberg lettuce. This variety actually has the highest water content of any lettuce, followed by butterhead and green leaf.

The best part? Iceberg lettuce can be a fun and refreshing replacement for hamburger buns, wraps, and tortillas — effectively lightening your carb load.

2. Celery

Water content: 95 percent. In addition to being one of the most hydrating foods, celery also contains fiber, vitamin K, and potassium. Try pairing a few stalks with peanut butter and raisins when you are in need of a sweet, salty, and crunchy treat. It sure beats a bag of chips!

3. Cucumbers

Water content: 95 percent. Cucumbers are pretty much all water, with a smattering of vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium. You can slice them up and combine them with chopped tomatoes and sliced red onions — then toss with olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper — for the perfect summer salad.

4. Radishes

Water content: 95 percent. This spicy root vegetable can add bursts of color and flavor to your favorite slaw or salad. Additionally, radishes are filled with the same antioxidant found in green tea (catechin), which has been found to lower the risk of prostate cancer in high-risk men.

5. Tomatoes

Water content: 94 percent. Whether you consider it a fruit or a vegetable, there is no denying the nutritional value of tomatoes. They are packed with water, nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants, which can protect you from diseases all while keeping you hydrated. As an added benefit, cooking tomatoes (to make dishes such as spaghetti sauce) canincrease the presence of phytochemicals, and thus, enhance the fruit's cancer-fighting ability.

6. Watermelon

Water content: 92 percent. It's all in the name! Not only is watermelon one of the most hydrating foods you can consume, it contains potassium — an important electrolyte that can help you get through your workouts without cramping.

Watermelon is rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which may help to prevent some forms of cancerlower your risk of stroke, and enhance your immune system. It is also a low-calorie food (and you'll feel fuller longer after eating it). You can have it as a refreshing snack, you can juice it, or even add it to a salad.

7. Strawberries

Water content: 91 percent. This delicious berry can be a great post-workout recovery snack. Try adding some to a cup of plain Greek yogurt and top it off with a little granola for a sweet — and guilt-free — treat. The combo of carbs, fiber, and protein can help to mitigate workout fatigue.

8. Cantaloupe

Water content: 90 percent. Melons provide a significant amount of nutrients and can offer many health benefits. For instance, one cup of cantaloupe contains about a half a cup of water per serving and two grams of fiber. It is also rich in vitamins A and C, both of which have been shown to improve immune system functions. You can start your day on the right foot by blending some into your morning smoothie!