Watermelon and Hydration
by Barbara Levine, Ph.D., R.D.
Whether we are athletes, couch potatoes, children or adults, we all need to drink adequate amounts of fluids. The best fluid is water, which is required for the body to function properly. In fact, up to 60 percent of the human body is water, the brain is 75 percent water, blood is 82 percent water, and lungs are nearly 90 percent water. Water plays a vital role in regulating body temperature, transporting nutrients and oxygen to cells, removing waste, cushioning joints and protecting organs and tissues. You could live for weeks without food but only a few days without water.
Often, people usually underestimate how much water they need to refill body stores, which can lead to dehydration. By the time you feel thirsty, your body may already be low on fluids. Along with drinking plenty of water during the day, you can remain hydrated by eating certain fruits and vegetables that contain large amounts of water. Naturally, its no wonder that with a 92% percent water content, watermelon ranks among the top foods that boast a rich supply of water. Eating watermelon for breakfast before your morning workout for example will not only help to keep you hydrated but this delectable thirst-quencher will also give you the added benefits of essential nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamins A and C as well as potassium and the antioxidant lycopene.
When working out at the gym or if you are at the tennis court, bring a thermos with chilled watermelon cubes along with your bottle of water to enjoy a satisfying snack while also maintaining your intake of fluids. Because this nutritional powerhouse has a higher water content and lower calorie content than many other fruits (a two-cup serving of watermelon contains only 80 calories), it delivers more nutrients per calorie, which makes it an exceptional nutrient-rich food.
Watermelon for Weight Control
Furthermore, eating foods with a high water content helps to maintain a healthy weight because they make you feel full. Satiety is an important factor in weight control because when you feel full your brain receives signals to stop eating. And in trying to lose weight, satiety depends not on how much you eat, but also which foods you choose. For example, eating watermelon, which is a low-energy density food that has few calories per ounce, will fill you up because it is high in water -- you're getting volume without a lot of calories. Eating water-rich foods such as watermelon also provides another perk: their low calorie and fat content means that you dont have to suffer by eating less food when you diet. Moreover, the natural sweetness of watermelon can satisfy cravings for other sweets that may be higher in calories and fat.
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