There is a reason water is called the source of all life. Water is an essential nutrient for human life; in fact, the adult human body is around 60 percent water.

Given water’s importance, as the heat and humidity rise in the summer, we may need to get creative to meet our hydration needs.

“Staying well-hydrated is always important, but even more so in the summer, when we tend to be more active and outdoors in the heat,” says Wendy Castle, MPH, R.D., L.D., CDE, Clinical Dietitians Diabetes Program coordinator at Lake Regional. “Women need about nine cups of fluid per day, and men need about 12.5 cups. Some ways to push hydration are flavoring your water, such as freezing berries, limes or oranges and letting them melt as you drink. You can also add high-water-content foods to your plate.”

Hydrating Foods

Here are Castle’s top picks for quick and easy hydrating foods:

1. WATERMELON. Not surprisingly, watermelons have a high water content of 92 percent. This low-calorie treat is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. Watermelon also contains lycopene, which is an antioxidant linked to decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.

2. STRAWBERRIES. This is the most hydrating berry, with a water content of 92 percent. Strawberries are a good source of potassium, fiber and vitamin C. This delicious berry is also high in antioxidants that fight damage from free radicals and flavonoids and can improve cognitive function.

3. ZUCCHINI. This summer squash is almost 95 percent water and highly nutritious. Zucchini is rich in fiber, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. For a refreshing snack, try mixing zucchini with cherry tomatoes, basil and feta cheese and top it off with a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil.

Purchase this issue to learn more about other foods that can help you stay hydrated.