April Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine
Water is healthy and necessary, but sometimes it just gets ... boring. Luckily, foods that are high in water are hydrating, too, and there's no better time than summer for sweet, fresh fruits and veggies that help you keep your cool.
Plus, added bonus: "Fruits and vegetables that contain high water content can add volume to your meals without the calories," says Angela Ginn, registered dietician and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "They keep you satisfied!"
Here are Ginn's top picks for what to reach for the next time you need a little water in your life -- but don't want a glass of water!
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Peaches. "Peaches are candy from a tree!" says Ginn. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), peaches are 88 percent water. Ginn says peaches are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, niacin, potassium and dietary fiber. Plus, as SELF has reported, the phenolic acids in peaches destroyed estrogen-independent breast cancer cells in one university study (peaches are good for your peaches!). Ginn says one medium peach contains about 45 calories.
How to eat them: Aside from straight from the tree (or the farmer's market), Ginn says peaches are versatile and can be enjoyed in both sweet and savory dishes. Add slices to your breakfast cereal, mix diced peaches in with salsa or broil peaches to serve with dinner or as dessert. Try SELF's delicious Grilled Chicken and Peach Salad made with arugula for a refreshing, cool dish packed with nutrients.
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Watermelon. Refreshing and sweet, watermelon is packed with ... water! Watermelon is, in fact, 92 percent water, according to the USDA. Rich in vitamin C and the cancer-fighter lycopene, Ginn says watermelon is also great for your skin, and it'll only cost you 45 calories for one cup.
How to eat it: Try this chilled watermelon soup for a low-cal, super hydrating and refreshing dinner option! SELF contributing editors Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh, registered dietitians and co-founders of C&J Nutrition, recommend tossing watermelon cubes with fresh coconut, then drizzling them with hot sauce -- it's a traditional (and delicious) flavor combination in Mexico. Or blend watermelon with a couple sprigs of mint for a cooling summer beverage!
Cucumbers. "Cool and crisp, cucumbers are not only great at treating puffy eyes, but they also contain vitamin K and are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that lower your risk of heart disease and certain cancers," says Ginn. USDA puts the water content of cucumbers at 96 percent; Ginn says a cup of cuke slices contains only 20 calories.
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How to eat them: Eat them straight up for a cool snack, dip them in hummus instead of pita bread or slice them into salad or water for a boost of flavor. Try this yummy Cucumber Gazpacho made with avocado oil and basil for a dreamy green dish.
Cabbage. Yes, cabbage! Red cabbage is 92 percent H20, according to the USDA. Much like salad greens, Ginn says cabbage is a great low-cal filler to any meal, and SELF's nutritional data on cabbage shows it's a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate and manganese, and a good source of other nutrients like calcium and iron.
How to eat it: Add slices to any salad, or whip up this Tofu and Cabbage Salad with Peanut Dressing for a protein-packed meal. Cabbage is also a great garnish for sandwiches and burgers -- here's a mouthwatering recipe for Vietnamese Tuna Burgers.
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