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14 Foods That Can Help You Stay Hydrated This Summer

June 15, 2024

There’s so much to enjoy about summer, and unfortunately, just as much to dehydrate you. The sun, the fun activities, and travel can make for a great time, but also may leave us feeling parched. Paired with the fact that “staying hydrated” probably isn’t on your summer bucket list, it’s easy to lose track of it, and end up not feeling your best. 

The good news is that chugging water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated and healthy this summer. In fact, many of your favorite summer foods just so happen to be filled with water and other hydrating nutrients. Here are the 14 of the most hydrating foods to enjoy this summer, recommended by registered dietitians. 

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Why is it important to stay hydrated?

Staying hydrated matters for several reasons. Of course, it can make a big difference in how you feel — and it’s critical for your health and bodily functions, too.

Here’s why hydration matters for your health:

  • Regulates body temperature 
  • Lubricates joints and connective tissues 
  • Supports a healthy metabolism 
  • Keeps your digestion regular 
  • Improves mood and cognition

Hydration is especially important in the summer because you lose fluids through sweat due to heat and physical activity. Plus, you may not always notice that you’re dehydrated until you start to feel really terrible. That’s why it’s essential to drink fluids and eat hydrating foods regularly. 

Related: 8 Easy Hacks to Hydrate More

Can foods really help you stay hydrated?

Many foods — especially fruits and vegetables — contain water and can help keep you hydrated. In fact, many everyday foods contain upwards of 80 to 90% water

In some cases, foods can be even more hydrating than plain water because they contain electrolytes. These minerals, which include sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, help fluids get to and stay where they need to go in the body. You lose electrolytes through sweat, which, of course, happens a lot in the summer. So eating foods that contain these minerals helps replace the ones you lost.

What foods are the most hydrating?

These refreshing foods can help keep you hydrated and feeling well.

1. Cucumber

Cucumbers top the list of water-rich foods, and we love it for its subtle flavor and refreshing crunch. “They contain vitamin K, C, and A,” says Alyssa Smolen, MS, RDN, CDN. Smolen suggests pairing cucumbers with hummus for a hydrating summer snack.

Related: 7 Cool, Refreshing Cucumber Salad Recipes

2. Cantaloupe 

Cantaloupe is as refreshing as it is hydrating, with its more than 90% water content. It’s a great fruit to keep cut-up in the fridge all summer to eat on its own, or add to salads. We love cantaloupe as a hydrating topper for yogurt bowls or wrapped in prosciutto for a sweet-and-salty appetizer. It’s also delicious with a sprinkling of Tajin chili-lime seasoning. 

Try: 8 Tasty Melon Recipes That Are Super Refreshing

3. Zucchini

“Zucchini is over 90% water and contains other great nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin B6,” says Patricia Kolesa MS, RDN. She recommends grilled zucchini for an easy vegetable side dish, or adding shredded zucchini to a breakfast hash. 

Try: 12 Healthy Zucchini Recipes We’re Absolutely Loving Right Now

4. Yogurt

“Yogurt has a high water content,” says Michelle Rauch, registered dietitian nutritionist for The Actors Fund. Surprisingly, dairy is a powerful hydrator because it also contains electrolytes like potassium and calcium. We recommend choosing Greek yogurt because it’s higher in protein than other options, keeping you hydrated and fueled.

Related: I Tried TikTok’s Viral Yogurt Bark and It’s the Most Refreshing Treat 

5. Watermelon 

Watermelon is a summer favorite for good reason. “[It] has a high water content, is a good source of vitamin C, and is just so refreshing in the summertime,” says Jenn Baswick, RD, MHSc. “A fun and simple way to eat watermelon in the summer is to cut it up into sticks that are easy to grab and enjoy.” You can also blend it with ice for a hydrating and nutritious slushy to keep cool. 

Try: 10 Sweet and Savory Watermelon Recipes to Make This Summer 

6. Peaches 

Fresh summer peaches aren’t just for delicious pies and crisps – they also can help you stay hydrated and healthy, too. This nutritious fruit is high in water and offers more than 2 grams of fiber each, in addition to vitamins A and C and potassium. Blend one into a smoothie, bake one into a crumble, or halve, brush with honey, sprinkle with chili powder, and grill.

Try: 14 Healthy Peach Recipes Perfect for End of Summer

7. Tomatoes

“Tomatoes are a versatile fruit that’s 92% water, which makes them a fantastic source of hydration,” says Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT. “They’re also rich in lycopene, an antioxidant linked to improved heart health and prevention of certain cancers.” Serve tomatoes in a simple caprese salad or scoop them with chips in a homemade pico de gallo.

Try: 9 Fresh Tomato Recipes To Use Up Your Summer Produce 

8. Pineapple

The benefits of pineapple span beyond its water content. It’s also bursting with nutrition from vitamin C and antioxidants, and it even offers some digestive enzymes to support your gut. Blend pineapple in a delicious summer mocktail, or keep it chopped in the fridge to enjoy with poolside lunches. 

Related: The Secret Health Benefits of Pineapple

9. Honeydew

Honeydew is a cost-effective fruit with plenty of fluids, and a sweet and subtle taste. These melons are often overshadowed by watermelon and cantaloupe, but they’re surprisingly low in calories and contain vitamin C and potassium, too. Chop and freeze honeydew to enjoy in summer slushes, or serve it as a sweet snack with nuts and yogurt. 

10. Romaine

Romaine is known for lending its satisfying crunch to Caesar salads, but it’s also got plenty of hydrating power. This fresh summer vegetable contains more than 94% water and it’s rich in micronutrients like folate and vitamin A. Along with salads, fill sturdy romaine leaves with your favorite sandwich fillings for hearty lettuce wraps

11. Bell peppers

“Bell peppers are a great staple to boost your hydration this summer, with a water content of approximately 90%,” says Victoire Omou, MS, RD, LDN. “These colorful vegetables will keep you hydrated while providing you with vitamin C, vitamin A, and some potassium.” Bell peppers are just as easy to love as they are to prep — simply slice them up to enjoy with dip, add them to a colorful summer salad, or toss them on the grill

12. Radishes 

If we asked you to think of hydrating summer foods, radishes might not come to mind. But this often forgotten vegetable contains an impressive 95% water content, in addition to other nutrients like vitamin C and dietary fiber. Radishes have a fresh but peppery taste, and are delicious sliced and served with hummus, or chopped in salad. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can roast them, as a low-carb swap for potatoes.

Related: 7 Radish Recipes for a Farmers Market Favorite

13. Strawberries

“Strawberries are one of my go-to foods to stay hydrated in the summertime,” says women’s health dietitian Jamie Adams. She adds that this popular fruit is high in water and low in calories, with extra nutritional benefit from fiber and antioxidants. Enjoy strawberries in a refreshing fruit salad, or as a sweet and nutritious toast topper. 

Try: These Sweet and Savory Strawberry Recipes Are Seriously Delicious

14. Celery 

This easy vegetable contains more than 95% water, and it’s got a fresh crunch that’s so satisfying. We love to serve up celery with peanut butter and raisins for a classic “ants on a log,” or add it to a veggie tray with your favorite creamy dip.

Read next: 15 Healthy Summer Dinners for Easy Weeknight Meals

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