Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quench your thirst with these juicy foods

 Photo credit: Michelle Loy. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Are you thirsty? If so, then you are most likely mildly dehydrated. Drink up -- or eat up!  The average adult male needs about 3.7 liters of water daily while the average woman about 2.7 liters of water each day.  While drinking water is a great way to meet most of your body's fluid needs, we can also obtain water from food.  This may be an ideal way to help boost water intake for those who aren't really fans of drinking plain old water.  Now that I'm feeling the summer heat, I find juicy foods to be a very appealing way to help me quench my thirst.  Not only are many of these foods high in water content, but they are also typically lower in calories and higher in nutrients than many other less juicy foods.  Here are some nutritious and juicy foods that you may want to consider to help meet your daily fluid needs:

Watermelon: What list of juicy foods wouldn't be complete with out it?  One cup of diced watermelon will provide a little over 1/2 cup of water and only 46 calories.  It's also a good source of lycopene, a phytochemical that may act as an antioxidant in the body, vitamin C, and vitamin A, which is essential for health of the eyes, skin, bones and teeth, reproductive system, and immune system! How to enjoy it?  Puree with other melons and fruit with a dollop of yogurt for a nice cold soup.  Its subtle crunch also makes it an excellent component of a summer fruit salad.

Tomato:  1 cup of cherry tomatoes also offers over 1/2 cup of water at 27 calories.  Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, A, and lycopene.  They also are good sources of potassium, folate, B vitamins, vitamin K, and fiber.  How to enjoy it?  Toss them into salads and slip them into sandwiches.   Blend them with other vegetables and seasonings for a refreshing gazpacho.  Prepare a simple panzanella.  Use them to make a salsa topping for wraps, baked sweet potato, or egg white omelet.   

Pineapple: This tropical juicy fruit doles out a little over 1/2 cup of water and almost 2.5 grams of fiber per cup.  You'll get a boost of vitamin C, too, since it contains a whopping 79 mg per cup!  How to enjoy it? It works well in a fresh tropical fruit salad.  Pineapple also makes an sweet and tangy salsa that can be served over fish.  And since it's summer, try grilling it!

Zucchini: This summer squash contains almost 1/2 cup of water and 19 calories per cup.  Zucchini is a good source of both lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that are important for eye health.  In fact, several long-term studies have detected a relationship between higher intakes of these two carotenoids and lower risk of age-related eye disease and possibly even cataracts.  These crunchy, fresh vegetables are also a good source of potassium, manganese, and vitamins A and C.  How to enjoy it? Sprinkle freshly grated zucchini onto salads, sandwiches, and wraps.  Make a nice zucchini salad or dip zucchini sticks into a tasty, nutritious dip.

Blackberries:  A one-cup serving will provide 1/2 cup of water and packs a fibrous punch with 7.6 g per cup!  It also boasts plenty of vitamin K and vitamin C.  These sweet, plump berries also have a very high antioxidant power rating (ORAC rating) ranking among the highest of all fruits! This is likely due to it's high ellagic acid and anthocyanin content, a pigment that contributes to their dark purple color. Consuming these antioxidant compounds from foods may be helpful in slowing the aging process.

Cauliflower:  This mild-tasting flowery vegetable is a good source of fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin K, and choline.  A surprisingly excellent source of vitamin C, this cruciferous vegetable is chock full of phytochemicals, including sulforaphane, indole, and glucosinolate, which may have been linked with lowering the risk of certain types of cancersHow to enjoy it? These make the perfect crunchy crudite served with dip.  They also work well sauteed with various seasonings or pureed into soups!  Or have you ever had cauliflower popcorn?  Mmmmm!

Grapefruit:  This tart and tangy citrus fruit squeezes out a good amount of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C.  It's also rich in lycopene and scores among the best when it comes to its antioxidant ratingHow to enjoy it? This fruit makes a unique addition to green salads. Or try it as the main component of a salad.  Use it to make a citrus salsa as a perfect accompaniment to fish.

Grapes:  These poppable fruits serve up a good amount of potassium, manganese, and vitamin K.  The red variety is a powerhouse of phytochemicals, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, and resveratrol, and boasts a high antioxidant rating to boot!  How to enjoy them?  For a summer treat that beats the heat, try freezing them for a sweet frozen snack.  Add them to fruit salads or toss them into green salads for pop of sweetness.  They also pair well with cheese for an elegant appetizer or snack.

Mango:  This nutritious powerhouse of the tropics is loaded with a variety of vitamins and minerals.  Mangoes are also rich in phytochemicals, including phenolic acids and lutein.  How to enjoy it? These are a fantastic addition to fruit smoothies.  Grill them or add them to side dishes, like couscous.  They also make a lovely salsa that serves well over fish.

Cherries:  This antioxidant rich fruit contains anthocyanins, antioxidants which contribute to their perfectly red color.  They also contain a good amount of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.  How to enjoy them? Add fresh cherries to fruit or green salads for that perfect bada bing!  Toss into couscous or oatmeal for a sweet, tart twist.  Serve as part of a sweet sauce over poultry or pork.  Blend into a fruit smoothie.

What is your favorite juicy food?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...[Reply to comment]

Salads in general as meals(primarily made with fresh, raw veggies and fruits); salsas or other lowfat dip with celery, cuke slices, or endive as crunchy dippers for snacks; yogurt or (as a treat) light ice cream layered with fresh fruit for a great dessert parfait! And others might think it is odd, but I love my veggie juice and almond milk smoothie for breakfast. All very hydrating and nutrient-dense delights!

Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD said...[Reply to comment]

@Anonymous Thank you for sharing! I hadn't ever thought about having endive and dip as a snack. Thanks!

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