Summer is almost here and it’s going to be a HOT one!
Whether you ‘re aiming to maintain your hot summer bod with some exercise or heading to the beach for a little “r & r,” you are likely to get a little sweaty. When we sweat, we lose fluid and electrolytes- like sodium and potassium that are key for fluid balance, energy and muscle contraction and relaxation; in short, they’re important! So to help prevent dehydration and to help our bodies maintain adequate electrolytes we need to both drink water and consume hydrating foods.
When we think of hydrating foods and fluids we may sometimes think of popular sports drinks but there are plenty of other healthy (er) ways to consume potassium, sodium and other electrolytes like calcium and magnesium. Popular sources of fluids and electrolytes include bananas (as you may already know), and cucumbers (because they contain a good amount of water and other things- see below!), but there are plenty of other great and healthy options too. To help guide you we’ve picked a few of our favorite healthy summer foods and fluids that can help you get more fluids and electrolytes.
7 Hydrating Summer Foods:
Spinach (and other green leafy vegetables):
Green leafy veggies contain electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. One cup of cooked spinach actually contains more potassium than a banana! Use spinach and other greens (raw) in a smoothie or juice, or add greens to your favorite soup or stew for extra electrolytes, or have it as a side to your favorite entrée for extra electrolytes (not to mention fiber, brain healthy nutrients like folate and iron too!).
Watermelon often gets a bad wrap for being too high in sugar but it’s actually a source of the electrolyte magnesium (1 wedge contains about 30 mg of magnesium), its mostly made up of water, and also contains lycopene- a carotenoid that’s an antioxidant and may also be sun protective!
Strawberries are a seasonal summer favorite and contain both water that can help to add to your total fluid intake and also contain electrolytes like potassium and a little bit of magnesium and calcium as well. Strawberries are also a source of skin-healthy vitamins A and C that can help to keep skin healthy and happy in the summer heat. Try this Strawberry Avocado Smoothie!
Cucumbers are mostly composed of water so naturally they can help you reach your daily fluid quota- but in addition they’re also a source of skin-healthy and soothing vitamin C and caffeic acid- a compound that may help with soothing inflammation and may also act as an antioxidant as well. Try this Cucumber Tomato Salad recipe!
Yogurt is also a surprising source of hydrating electrolytes like potassium and sodium- both of which can be lost through sweat. Both dairy-based and non-dairy based yogurts will contain some healthy electrolytes so both make for great choices to help you stay hydrated. Try this Breakfast Yogurt Bowl recipe or add yogurt to your next smoothie.
Avocado is another surprisingly hydrating food- especially because it isn’t a great source of fluid but it does pack a punch when it comes to electrolytes. 1 avocado contains about 950 mg of potassium which is about 20% of the daily recommendation for potassium, and also contains a small amount of magnesium and calcium as well. Avocado is also a source of healthy and satisfying monounsaturated fat as well. Have avocado at your next summer BBQ with this Simple Guacamole Recipe.
Pineapple is a great hydrating food because it’s a source of fluid and also because it’s a source of the electrolyte potassium. Pineapple is also a source of anti-inflammatory bromelain which can help fight inflammation internally and additionally athletes may use it to help with muscle soreness from exercise, and doctors also often use it to help prevent swelling post-surgically. Add pineapple to your summer breakfast fruit platter- or add to your smoothie.
Happy summer, stay cool and stay hydrated!
About the Author!
Meghan Skeehan is a Contributing Writer & Nutrition Intern here at ISN! Meghan is an aspiring Registered Dietitian. She is a graduate student studying for her MPH-Nutrition through the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is also a dietetic intern with Virginia State University’s DI program. Meghan enjoys many aspects of the health and fitness field. For fun, she likes to go rock climbing and hiking (really, she just enjoys being outside), watch movies, and bake. We’re so happy to have her working with us!