Top 10 Foods to Hydrate You this Summer
By Caroline Sullivan, MS, RD, CSSD, LD
It’s pretty normal in Texas to step outside and feel the heat surrounds you like an unwelcome wool blanket. As an athlete living in this great state I sometimes embrace that feeling, but many times it just makes me want to turn back around and hide in the AC. One thing that helps me is staying hydrated all day long. Becoming dehydrated is a true threat for tennis players. Days are long and matches are multiple, setting tennis players up for the challenge of proper hydration. The headache and fatigue of not drinking enough water can come on pretty quickly during summer play. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the goal is to not lose more than 2% of your body weight from water loss. For a 185 lb tennis player this is about 3.5 lb. This might sound like a lot of weight, but when you are active and sweating in Texas heat, it really isn’t. When you lose more than 2% of your body weight, your aerobic performance starts to deteriorate and your cognition decreases. Without these two critical functions you can bet you won’t win that next game.
When drinking fluids is an all-day activity, it’s easy to get tired of plain water and sports drinks. Did you know that a big part of our daily water intake comes from the foods we eat? This doesn’t mean that you can stop drinking fluids all together, but choosing foods with a high percentage water can help in keeping you hydrated, especially during the hot summer months. Fruits and vegetables have the highest water content of the foods we eat. In addition to water, they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. To me, fruits and vegetables are the athlete’s power foods – they have everything a busy athlete needs all in one place. Make sure to eat the following water packed foods daily to help aid hydration.
Top 5 Water Packed Fruits
Top 5 Water Packed Vegetables
- Iceberg lettuce
You might be wondering how to incorporate these foods daily – regular salads would get pretty boring after a while. Try these out…
- A smoothie with 3 of the 5 water packed fruits, yogurt, and low fat milk
- A summer chilled soup: gazpacho (tomatoes), cucumber dill soup, watermelon soup
- Throw peaches and strawberries on the grill and eat with frozen yogurt
- Soak cucumber in vinegar, salt, and spices for quick homemade pickles
- Melon smoothie with cantaloupe, watermelon, and cucumber (don’t be shy about tossing a veggie into a smoothie!)
Remember this throughout the summer tournament season: you should be using the bathroom frequently throughout the day and your urine color should be light yellow or the color of lemonade. If you chose to drink plain water during a day in which you are playing, make sure to pair it with salty snacks for electrolytes: pretzels, salted nuts, beef jerky, or popcorn.
I always have a feeling of accomplishment when I am soaked through with sweat. I know I’ve challenged my body to the max. Without replacing the sweat and electrolytes you’e lost, you won’t be able to play hard day in and day out. Proper hydration including foods high in water can keep you healthy enough to do so.