by Tayla Holman

Staying hydrated is essential, especially when it’s hot outside. However, it can be a challenge to drink enough water during the day. So, what if you could eat your water instead? Foods with high water content can help you meet your daily hydration goals — and they're yummy, too!

Why it's important to stay hydrated

You might have learned in school that your body is 70 percent water, but that's not exactly true. According to the U.S. Geological Survey's Water Science School, babies are roughly 78 percent water when they're born. That percentage drops to about 65 percent by their first birthday. An adult male is about 60 percent water, and an adult female is about 55 percent water.

Water doesn't just make up the majority of your body. It also supports several essential functions, such as body temperature regulation and joint lubrication. Water also helps protect your brain and spinal cord by acting as a shock absorber. Water delivers nutrients to cells and helps organs function properly, and it helps flush waste from the body through urination.

Staying hydrated can improve brain performance and cognitive function. It can also help regulate your emotions and fight feelings of anxiety. Proper hydration can even help you lose weight or manage your weight, and prevent kidney stones.

To survive and function, an adult male needs to drink about 3 liters (12.7 cups) of water per day. An adult female needs to drink about 2.2 liters (9.3 cups) per day. If you're dehydrated, you may have symptoms such as:

  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive thirst
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Less urine and sweat than usual
  • Dry skin

How to stay hydrated (besides drinking plain water)

Drinking 9 to 12 cups of water per day sounds like a lot, right? But drinking water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. Dairy, soups and broths also contain water. On the flip side, sugary beverages like soda or artificial fruit drinks have little nutritional value, so it’s best to avoid these. If you're not a fan of plain water, you can add berries, lime, lemon or cucumber to boost flavor and nutrients. You can also hydrate by eating water-rich foods, particularly fruits and vegetables.

4 recipes high in water content

Dishes that are high in water content are usually simple to make. This is especially beneficial in the summer when it's not exactly pleasant to stand over a hot stove. These four recipes are refreshing and delicious.

Watermelon and goat cheese salad with citrus vinaigrette

Watermelon has up to 91 percent water content, making it one of the most hydrating fruits out there. It also contains potassium, which helps maintain fluid balance in the body. This salad recipe also includes hydrating watercress and orange juice.

Gazpacho with grapes, honeydew and cucumber

Gazpacho is a cold soup that's perfect to eat in the summer. This particular gazpacho recipe includes several water-rich foods: grapes, honeydew melon and cucumber. Grapes are about 81 percent water, cucumber comes in at around 97 percent and honeydew is about 90 percent water. It also has important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and potassium.

Celery sticks with peanut butter

On its own, celery isn’t very interesting. But it’s high in water content — the stalk is about 95 percent water. Plus, it’s low in calories and contains several important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin K, folate and potassium. To liven it up, try adding peanut butter for flavor and added protein. Although peanut butter isn't water-rich, it's minimally processed and rich in nutrients.

Fruit ice pops

Who doesn’t love an ice pop on a hot day? Not only are they incredibly refreshing, but ice pops are easy to make yourself using your fruit of choice. Try using 1 cup of strawberries, watermelon, pineapple or mango. You can also combine fruits to pack even more of a punch. If you're trying to cut down on sugar, you can use honey or agave as sweeteners if necessary.

You don't have to rely on just plain water to stay hydrated during the summer months — or any time of year. Eating your water can help you get the fluids and nutrients you need. Try these recipes today for a refreshing and delicious way to stay hydrated.