Water is a vital nutrient, the importance of which has remained elusive among the nutrition fraternity due to its ubiquitous nature. In the current scenario, increase in water intake is being pressed on, as its usage has dropped considerably among urban Indians due to hectic lifestyles & erratic work routines. Decreased water intake contributes to increasing incidences of obesity, renal stone disorders, cancers, etc. Often the busy working Indians or someone socialising at parties or events opt for sweetened, caffeinated, carbonated or synthetic beverages over plain water.
Despite its numerous health benefits, plain water has never been appealing enough to convince people of increasing its intake. Unfortunately, it is often the case with most of us & drinking water simply skips the mind. In fact, when we diligently count the number of glasses we drink per day, we may be amazed to find that most of the time it never exceeds beyond 4-5 glasses!
Is there a healthy, appealing alternative to this? Is there a way by which we can ensure that we can fill ourselves with an adequate amount of fluids at the same time provide nutrition to our body?
There is a novel way to induce people to boost their fluid intake, apart from drinking plain water. There are several foods called water-rich foods that have water as the major component.
Water-rich foods consist mainly of fruits & vegetables, which are oozing with antioxidants, vitamins & mineral-rich juices. Staying hydrated doesn't just have to mean drinking a lot of water— try eating some of these water-rich fruits & veggies! They are nature's unique gifts that provide the dual benefit of hydration as well as nutrition to the body, which only few other foods do.
With summer around the corner, dehydration is not an uncommon phenomenon in a tropical country like India. The human body is about 66 percent water, & therefore, it is easy to see water & hydration play such a crucial role in a healthy lifestyle. Hydration is the replacement of body fluids lost through sweating, exhaling, & elimination. It’s just as important at the office or home as it is at the gym.
The ideal water intake varies based on a person's age & level of activity. An approximate calculation of water intake is estimated as being 1 liter for every 25 kgs of weight. Considering this, it is 2.5 to 3 liters for people weighing around 60-70 kgs leading a sedentary lifestyle.
It differs to 3 to 3.5 liters for the same age group leading a moderately active lifestyle.
Here is a list of fruits & vegetables which are loaded with fluids as well as vitamins & antioxidants:
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- Water-rich foods also function as detox agents, which help in cleansing the body from the accumulated toxins produced through various metabolic processes.
- Foods low in water, mainly protein & fat-rich foods like meat & meat products, cheese, nuts & oilseeds, etc.require high amounts of water to be metabolised & excreted which can be done effectively by incorporating fruits & vegetables in the diet.
- Water rich foods also help prevent tiredness & fatigue as they contain a good amount of fructose & fibre which maintains a steady flow of sugar in the bloodstream.
- They help a great deal in controlling insulin secretion diabetics, hence preventing the occurrence of hyperinsulinemia.
Ways of Incorporating Water-Rich Foods in the Diet:
• Excellent as a mid-meal snack or as brunch (especially fruits).
• Appetizer as salads or soups before main meals.
• A good ingredient for evening snacks of chaats or bhels.
• As an accompaniment with breakfast or as a bedtime meal.
• Refreshing chilled juices during summers.
REFRESHING LEMONY MELON (SERVES 4):
- 3 slices of watermelon
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 4 sprigs of mint leaves
- 1 cinnamon powder
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
Step 1 Place the watermelon & mint leaves in a blender & puree until smooth.
Step 2 Then strain through a fine mesh strainer. Transfer this to a pitcher or bowl, add lemon juice, cinnamon powder & cold water.
Step 3 Stir well to combine & pour into a serving glass, top it with ice cubes & garnish with a lemon slice.
Step 4 Serve immediately.
COOL CUCUMBER SAGA (SERVES 4):
- 3 large cucumbers
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
- 1 cup water
- 2 large (or 3 medium) lemons
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
Step 1 Slice the lemons very thin and, in a bowl, mix with sugar. Mash with a potato masher until a thick syrup forms.
Step 2 Strain into a pitcher, pressing the lemons to extract as much juice as possible.
Step 3 Peel & chop the cucumbers & puree with mint leaves.
Step 4 Add water & sugar to taste.
Step 5 Serve over ice with cucumber slices or rosemary sprigs as garnish.