We’ve discussed before why staying hydrated is integral to good health.  Drinking plenty of water is essential, but you can also add to your hydration intake with fruits and vegetables that have a high water content.  Foods high in moisture are also usually low in calories and high in fiber, so they can help keep you full and maintain a healthy weight.  Here’s a list of some foods you eat to keep you hydrated while soaking up the last of the summer sun!

  • Watermelon (well, duh)
  • Other melons
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Salad greens
  • Tomatoes

Yum, this sounds like the beginnings of a great summer salad!  Why not try topping it off with this creamy Tofu Goddess Dressing from Cookus Interruptus?

Sufficient fiber intake has many benefits, several of which we’ll talk about today.  However if you’re a fiber newbie there are some factors you’ll have to take into account to avoid excessive gas and bloating.

So what is fiber anyways?  Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not fully digestible.  It sweeps through your gut (and out the other end) and works some magic in a couple of different ways.

The government recommended intake for fiber is 25-35 grams per day, but some studies have shown that 75-100 grams daily could be even more beneficial.  To give you an idea of how much food we’re talking about, one large apple has about 5 grams.  The average American only consumes 10 grams of fiber daily, so we’ve all got some catching up to do!

Here are some of the ways fiber is fantastic:

  • Stay full longer.  Fiber slows food down as it exits your stomach, meaning you stay satisfied longer between meals.
  • Poop better.  Fiber eases the passing of stools throughout the digestive tract, making for a comfortable departure.
  • Decrease your cholesterol.  The type of fiber found in oats, barley, and beans has been shown to be helpful at reducing cholesterol.
  • Regulate your blood sugar.  Fiber delays glucose absorption into the blood.  That way instead of a sugar high and subsequent crash, you get a nice even blood sugar balance.

It’s important to get fiber from whole foods; supplements could result in fiber overdose and gastrointestinal upset.  Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.

If your diet is low in fiber now, increase your intake gradually.  A rapid surge in fiber intake can result in gas, bloating, or diarrhea- not fun!  Try adding in 5 grams per week over several weeks.   It is also vital to increase your water intake along with fiber.  Fiber needs water to help move it along the digestive tract.
Our bodies can go for weeks without food, but just one to three days without water and you’re done for!  Water is necessary for every metabolic process in the body, and is also important for maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

So we know it’s important to drink water, but how much should you have in one day?  It will vary based on your size and activity level, but two liters daily is a good place to start.  Imagine a two-liter soda bottle as your goal- but ditch the soda and replace it with clean tap water.

Remember that you can reach those two liters through more than just plain water:  herbal tea, flavored seltzers, and juicy fruit also provide the hydration we need.  Avoid high-calorie beverages like soda, fruit juice, cocktails or sugary coffee drinks (you know what I’m talking about, those giant coffee-flavored milkshakes with whipped cream on top).  Just think- every liquid calorie you avoid is one more calorie you get to eat in delicious food!

See my recommendations for herbal tea in a post on my old blog here.