All About H2O

Why water is the most essential nutrient and how to make sure you are adequately hydrated

Juliska Country Estate Kite Fliers Delft Blue salad bowl courtesy of Hive Home, Gift & Garden. Cara Cara Wethersfield Floral Garden Blue dress courtesy of Hive for Her. Photography by Jerry Rabinowitz
Juliska Country Estate Kite Fliers Delft Blue salad bowl courtesy of Hive Home, Gift & Garden. Cara Cara Wethersfield Floral Garden Blue dress courtesy of Hive for Her. Photography by Jerry Rabinowitz

About 60 percent of the human body is made of water: It comprises 90 percent of our blood, 75 percent of our muscles and brain, 80 percent of the kidneys, 70 percent of the liver, and even 22 percent of our bones. Beyond just quenching thirst, water enables the body to perform such vital functions as digestion, waste production, and temperature regulation. It is also a key player in the health of our brain, skin, heart, and joints. 

Oranges and strawberries in cutting board with kithcen knife for making making mix fruit ice cream mix.The body has no way of storing water, which means that the average adult loses approximately 3 liters a day. That loss must be replenished through food and water consumption. The tricky part is knowing how much you need—and it’s not one size fits all. You must take into account the climate in which you live as well as your personal diet and exercise habits. For example, if your diet is high in protein, you will require more fluid to process the protein and prevent constipation. If you are mostly sedentary and live in a cold climate, you will require less water than a person who exercises intensely and lives in a warm climate.

In relation to your weight, the amount of water you need per day increases by 6 to 7 ounces for every 10 pounds, starting at 67 ounces per day for someone who weighs 100 pounds. Someone who weighs 150 pounds would need 100 ounces per day, on average, while someone who weighs 200 pounds would need 134 ounces. For every 30 minutes of exercise, add 16 ounces of water. If you live in a hot climate, also add 16 ounces. 

These ounces can come in the form of liquids or solids, and there is a vast array of hydrating foods that can help you reach your daily goal. Read on for my tips on how to get the most hydration bang for your buck. 

Hydrating Foods

Bell Peppers: 92 percent water

Cantaloupe: 90 percent water

Celery: 95 percent water

Citrus: 90 percent water

Coconut Water: 95 percent water

Cucumber: 96 percent water 

Lettuce: 96 percent water

Peaches: 89 percent water

Chia seedsStrawberries: 90 percent water

Tomatoes: 94 percent water

Watermelon: 92 percent water

Zucchini: 94 percent water

Chia seeds absorb 30 times their weight in water, meaning they can help the body retain electrolytes and regulate fluid levels, preventing dehydration.

Dehydrating Foods and Beverages

Mineral Water: Although the sodium found in mineral water is naturally sourced, it’s still sodium, which can dehydrate the body if drunk excessively.

Alcohol: Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes your body to remove fluids from your blood and other organs at a faster rate than other liquids. Too much consumption can leave you severely dehydrated.

Protein: Protein requires more water to process, so be mindful to up water intake if you’re on a high-protein diet.

Processed Foods: Processed foods are generally very high in sugar and sodium, both of which dehydrate the body.

Photography Jerry Rabinowitz

Cucumber Watermelon Salad

Salad Ingredients

4 cups diced cucumber

4 cups cubed watermelon 

1/4 cup freshly chopped basil

1/4 cup mint leaves

The zest of 1 lime

Garnish with sea salt and additional lime zest

Optional garnish: avocado or feta

Ivey making the Cucumber Watermelon Salad. Photography Jerry Rabinowitz

Dressing Ingredients

Juice of 1 lime (1/4 cup lime juice)

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice 

1/8 tsp. cracked black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

Add chopped cucumber and watermelon to a colander and allow to drain while you assemble other ingredients. To make the dressing, combine all dressing ingredients and whisk together. Combine the dressing with the cucumber, watermelon, and all other salad ingredients. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to three days.

A cup of chopped cucumber contains 6 ounces of water, and a cup of cubed watermelon contains 4 ounces. 

3 Ways to Increase Hydration

Infuse your water with lemon, cucumber, berries, or mint for a natural hint of flavor.

Use a glass or stainless-steel water bottle that you can refill throughout the day to help you keep track of your intake. 

Invest in a soda water machine (such as a SodaStream) to make your own sparkling water and avoid sodium in mineral water.

Hydrating Smoothie. Photography Jerry Rabinowitz

Hydrating Smoothie


1/2 cup chopped watermelon

1/2 cup chopped cucumber

1 frozen banana

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1/2 cup coconut water 

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend. Pour into a glass and garnish with a slice of watermelon.

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