Do I need to drink water to stay hydrated?

Am I the only person who thought that eight glasses of water was quite a lot to try and drink growing up? Not to mention I always questioned that no matter your gender, size, physical appearance etc. you were always expected to drink the same amount. The idea of keeping hydrated always made perfect sense, it was just this idea of simply having to hit a certain number of millilitres every single day and then you’re done that baffled me. 

I mean, what about people who just don’t like the taste of water? Or those that find it just a bit boring? Then you have the people that struggle to drink the recommended amount and those that just forget. But we all know that water doesn’t just come out of the tap. Almost everything that we eat, drink and even breathe will contain a certain amount of water. Luckily for us, that means that you can indirectly stay hydrated without actually drinking pint after pint of water.

So first we have food. What you want to be looking out for is the percentage water content. Some of the foods with the highest water content will be fairly obvious but there will be some that might just surprise you. You might have also noticed that foods with higher water content have been getting some bad press recently because if they are packed full of water the argument is that they aren’t packed full of nutrients, which is why so many people have moved from lettuce to more nutritious greens like kale and spinach.

But we are talking about hydration, so the higher the water content the better. Fruits and vegetables are unsurprisingly excellent sources of hydration, with the watermelon being an obvious one given the name. With over 90% water content you are essentially just drinking glass after glass of water when you eat them. But the watermelon doesn’t sit alone in the 90% club. Here are a few of the other select few:

  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Green peppers
  • Radishes
  • Grapefruit

Just be careful though. That other 10% in your favourite fruits in particular might be high in fructose. And even though it is a naturally forming sugar, you still don’t want to be eating unlimited amounts of it.

Your other option is to drink your water, without drinking water. I know, that sounds strange but loads of other drinks still contain large quantities of water. Milk for example has been proven to be a superb source of hydration but the problem is it is also quite high in fat.

You could always take the fruits and vegetables from above and make yourself a smoothie of course. They’re quick, convenient and they taste great. Sports drinks are a great way to stay hydrated and make sure that your electrolyte levels don’t run down too low. Just remember though, both smoothies and sports drinks can be surprisingly high in sugar so read your labels where you can and make sure you keep on top of your sugar intake.

Newer methods of hydration have also become increasingly popular in recent years. Coconut water is a perfect example of this. You probably will have struggled to find it ten years ago and now it is stocked by every decent retailer in the country.

So there you have it, you don’t have to rely solely on water to stay hydrated. But all these alternatives won’t stop a traditional glass of water being a source of hydration that is second to none.


Ollie Lawrence
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