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5 Water-Rich Foods That Help You Stay Hydrated

Living Well

June 21, 2024

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Photography by Pixel Stories/Stocksy United

Photography by Pixel Stories/Stocksy United

by Jessica Migala


Medically Reviewed by:

Amy Richter, RD


by Jessica Migala


Medically Reviewed by:

Amy Richter, RD


Drinking water isn’t the only way to quench your thirst. These water-rich foods can up your hydration this summer.

If the fountain of youth exists, it might just be water. Dehydration can cause fatigue and inflammation, which you certainly don’t need more of when you live with a chronic condition.

Proper hydration can also help regulate your blood pressure, cool down your body, and promote good digestion, among many other benefits.

But a cup of H20 isn’t the only way to quench your thirst — food can be hydrating, too. We’re talking things like soup, oatmeal, and, of course, fruits and vegetables. Think about how some fruits and vegetables are so juicy they run down your hands when cut open.

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5 hydrating foods

Summer is the perfect time to grab hydrating foods to give your body the water boost it needs to feel good, stay well, and help you manage your health condition.

Here are 5 of the most hydrating foods to add to your diet:

1. Watermelon

If you’ve ever cut into a watermelon, you know its juice goes everywhere. And there’s a reason: the summer staple is 91% water. There are only 47 calories per cup of watermelon, making it a low calorie food.

Watermelon contains amino acids like L-citrulline that promote blood vessel dilation. A 2023 research review found that eating watermelon significantly decreased systolic blood pressure (the top number on a blood pressure reading), total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol (the type that brings cholesterol to your arteries).

2. Cucumber

Can you name a more refreshing veggie? Cucumbers are more than 95% water. You can slice an entire cucumber to snack on for just 30 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of fiber.

Bonus benefit: It might help keep your skeleton strong. Cucumber skin contains silicon, an element linked with better bone mineral density. Look for particularly bumpy cucumbers — the bumps contain the most silicon. Clean them well and eat the skin, too.

3. Strawberries

Also ringing in at 91% water, strawberries are incredibly hydrating. One cup has just 53 calories and nearly 3 grams of fiber.

Their fiber content is important — fiber can help improve digestion and promote healthy cholesterol levels. Plus, it’s filling. A bowl of strawberries can be the perfect sweet treat after a meal.

4. Bell peppers

Toss sweet bell peppers into your next salad or stir fry. These veggies are 92% water. They’re also incredibly rich in vitamin C, with one bell pepper containing nearly twice as much C as an orange.

If you eat a cup of red bell peppers, you’ll get 213% of the vitamin C you need in a day. That’s a good thing since vitamin C is a potent disease-fighting antioxidant that also helps your body produce collagen, an essential protein for wound healing.

5. Yogurt

It may surprise you to know that yogurt is 88% water. This hydrating food provides both water and protein for your body, with plain whole milk yogurt containing about 8.5 grams of protein per cup.

Protein is a filling nutrient that won’t spike your blood sugar and can help lower your blood sugar response to carbs.

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5 hacks for adding more hydrating foods into your diet

Not sure where to start? You can turn hydrating foods into fun, enjoyable snacks:

  1. Freeze homemade popsicles: Pour 100% fruit juice into popsicle molds and freeze for a mid-afternoon treat.
  2. Whip up a yummy smoothie: Add your choice of milk, yogurt, fruit, and even veggies like spinach to a blender for a balanced breakfast.
  3. Crunch on pre-dinner crudités: One of the best ways to reap the hydrating benefits of veggies is to eat them raw. Why not slice up cucumbers, bell peppers, and carrots as a snack to munch on while dinner cooks?
  4. Add salad or soup: Both are incredibly hydrating. Have a cup of soup with lunch or a small salad with dinner for a water-rich boost and an extra serving or two of veggies.
  5. Pile veggies onto a sandwich: Adding a slice of juicy tomato, crisp lettuce, red onion, and other fresh veggies (get creative here!) can make your sandwich hydrating and incredibly flavorful.

Why is hydration important?

There are so many benefits of good hydration — one powerful perk is disease prevention.

A 2023 study on middle-aged adults linked lower hydration scores with an increased risk of being biologically older, developing chronic conditions, and dying at a younger age.

Turns out, dehydration may speed up the body’s aging process, potentially making you more likely to develop conditions like heart failure, dementia, and chronic lung disease.

Sipping H20 is critical for managing health conditions. Dehydration can increase fatigue — a common symptom of many conditions like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and more.

If you live with diabetes, proper hydration can help you manage your blood sugar levels, and it’s also good for your kidney and heart health, too.

Medically reviewed on June 21, 2024

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About the author

Jessica Migala

Jessica Migala is a health and wellness journalist based in the Chicago suburbs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from Syracuse University. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including EatingWell, Everyday Health, Real Simple, Oprah Daily, Levels Health, Health Central, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, SELF, and more. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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