Hydrating Foods for Summer Workouts

Houston summers certainly know how to bring the heat. That can be deadly to your workout routine and, in extreme conditions, your well-being. Every single cell in your body depends on water to function, and according to Runner's World, as little as 2 percent dehydration can have a negative effect on performance.

However, sometimes gulping down glass after glass of water just isn't practical. Fortunately, supplementing your water intake with water-rich foods is totally cool and, in many cases, better than just water alone. Here are a few foods (and a drink) to help you stay hydrated and fuel up as you work to keep that swimsuit body in check.

5. Veggies What? Did you think I was going to say fried chicken? Sorry, but the healthy stuff is healthy for a reason, and vegetables are overachievers when it comes to water-richness. Load up on hydrating options that also provide plenty of other nutrients like cucumbers, eggplant, romaine lettuce and zucchini. However, the most overachieving, highly hydrating veggie is probably celery as it's 96 percent water and provides an optimal combination of salts (to retain fluids), amino acids and vitamins that may hydrate your body twice as effectively as a glass of water.

4. Watermelon Made up of 92 percent water, watermelon will definitely help replenish your fluids in a more delicious way. However, because this fruit also provides a good amount of carbs and potassium to help maintain fluids, watermelon will not only hydrate you, but help speed your recovery time after a tough workout. Other great picks are cantaloupe or strawberries, which have just slightly lower water content, but similar benefits.

3. Chicken Noodle Soup The broth is clearly where you're getting your water from, but this and most other broth-based soups also have a good dose of sodium on their side. Though salt has become enemy No. 1 in this country, sodium is vital, especially to the athlete, as it helps retain necessary fluids. In addition to salt, chicken noodle soup provides a good source of lean protein, veggies and carbs, which help the body absorb all that hydrating broth and refuel after a touch gym session or long run.

2. Skim Milk According to Nancy Clark, M.D., skim milk hydrates better than Gatorade due to sodium content. As mentioned above, sodium is very necessary when exercising and the sodium content ensures you absorb plenty of the main ingredient, water. Just make sure you go with skim as fat can actually hinder absorption. For a great way to refuel, promote recovery and add some deliciousness, make it a chocolate milk.

1. Rice Though not something that would typically be described as refreshing, rice is a great, substantial food that will aid in your rehydration. Not only is rice cooked in water, it's also super-absorbent, acting like a bunch of tiny, life-saving water balloons. Whip up some sautéed veggies from the list mentioned above, cook up some rice and use romaine to make lettuce wraps for a light, hydrating summer meal.

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Kristen Majewski
Contact: Kristen Majewski