5 Foods To Add To Your Water That Make It 10x More Hydrating, From An MD
Warmer weather is well on its way, which may have you chugging more water than usual. (A general rule: The more you sweat, the more you need to hydrate!) And as the summer season rolls around, infused waters tend to have their moment under in sun (had to...). However, these colorful sips are not only easy on the eye—they also have some noteworthy benefits for hydration.
Below, we've rounded up some of the best expert-approved additions to keep your hydration levels up to par. Happy sipping!
We'll start with arguably the most popular hydrator out there. But what makes cucumbers so hydrating isn't the crunchy body of the fruit itself—it's the seeds.
Look closely at a cut cucumber—do you notice those seeds suspended in a slimy substance? That slime is actually called "structured" or "gel" water1, and it happens when H2O molecules layer upon one another. It's regarded by some experts as the fourth phase of water, as it straddles a solid and liquid state. "It is in that form that's found in nature, and it's also in that form that's found within our cells," Dana Cohen, M.D., integrative medicine physician and co-author of Quench, says on the mindbodygreen podcast. So chucking a few slices of cucumber into your water glass can enhance the hydration twofold.
Chia seeds also contain gel water (when you add water to chia seeds, they clump together into a slimy glob). But chia seeds are also full of fiber—in fact, they can absorb up to 10 to 12 times their weight in water2. "The fiber is what really acts as a sponge," Cohen notes. "[Chia seeds can] hold on to that hydration much better than just plain bulk water alone."
Especially if you use a water filter to weed out potential contaminants, you may have to remineralize your water in order to add back the good guys. One of those said minerals happens to be sodium—if you spend ample time in hot or humid environments, you may need to replace sodium that's lost through sweat.
Try a sprinkle of salt in your water: This helps pull water into your cells through sodium transporters. As functional nutrition expert and certified sports nutritionist Jaclyn Sklaver, M.S., CNS, CDN, LDN, once told us, "They enable more water to be absorbed by the intestines than plain water alone."
Lemon can help replace those lost minerals as well, like potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Bonus points if you create a salty-sour concoction: "Not every single glass of water, but in a couple of those glasses, do a pinch of [salt] with some lemon to replace some other minerals," says Cohen.
When it comes to fruit-infused water, you might understandably reach for watermelon or the aforementioned cucumber. But trust when we say: A juicy, crisp apple is an underrated hydrator. In fact, apples actually contain up to 86% water. Perhaps that's why Cohen says, "An apple and a bottle of water is more hydrating than two bottles of water."
When it comes to hydration, there are more than a few foods that can level up your water glass. Plus, some of these options are super summery and refreshing, too.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.