Try These Hydrating Foods for Seniors to Beat Summer Heat

by | Jul 8, 2024 | Blog, Prime Carolina Coast, Prime Independent Living

Summer is in full swing in our home of Conway, SC. With it comes those hot days that we love but that don’t always love us back. Staying hydrated, for instance, can be a real challenge when the heat index rises, especially for older adults. Carrying water with you is one way to replenish your body, but let’s be honest: not only can glugging water get a little boring, it can send you to the bathroom every 30 minutes or so. 

How can you stay hydrated with a little less trouble? Well, consuming hydrating foods is often a more interesting and more measured way to take in water. Below we’ve listed some of the most naturally hydrating foods for seniors, followed by a few practical tips for creating water-rich meals.

What are some naturally hydrating foods?

  1. Fresh fruit

Unsurprisingly, fruits are prized for their juicy refreshment, often consisting of over 90% water. Summer favorites—including watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, and peaches—top the lists of most hydrating fruits. It’s almost like nature knew exactly when we’d need extra relief! If you’re in the mood for a zingier flavor, try out citrus options like grapefruit and pineapple, although those with sensitive stomachs should be careful of their relatively higher acidic content.

  1. Fresh veggies

Second on the list, fresh summer vegetables offer a hefty dose of hydration, starting with greens like spinach and iceberg or romaine lettuce. And there’s nothing more refreshing than a juicy tomato, a crisp cucumber, or sweet bell peppers straight from your garden or a local farm. Each of these moisture-rich options ring in at more than 90% water.

  1. Beverages

No surprise here, beverages contain a lot of the moisture you need. But if you’re tired of straight water or you’d like a few extra nutrients with your hydration, try these options. First, coconut water has experienced a sudden rise in popularity recently. Why? This low-sugar, natural beverage is extracted from green coconuts and comes with a bevy of vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium. 

Interestingly, milk is another great beverage for staying hydrated—in fact, one recent study ranked it higher than water in its ability to help us retain moisture. Other options? Try caffeine-free herbal teas, or add frozen fruits to water for a dose of antioxidants to defend against summer sun damage.

  1. Other foods

Two other standout ingredients we couldn’t leave out are yogurt and chia seeds. Yogurt offers a great balance of high moisture content plus vitamins, minerals, and beneficial probiotics. Buy a little plain yogurt, and eat it with your fruit for a more satiating snack or light meal. 

Chia seeds are another high-performer on the hydration scale. These little seeds absorb a significant amount of liquid, creating a hunger-satisfying gel. After soaking, add them to smoothies, puddings, or yogurt for a boost of hydration and fiber.

What are some healthy meals to keep you cool and hydrated?

So you’ve got a list of great ingredients. Now what to do with them? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Salads 

A no-brainer, right? This highly flexible dish offers hydration galore, from your base of fresh greens to tasty toppings like tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, or even a home-made yogurt dressing. Tailor this one to suit your tastes precisely, whether you love a good Cobb salad or a strawberry-topped delight.

  1. Fresh veggie sandwiches

Around these parts, tomato sandwiches are an essential part of summer. Toast some delicate white or wheat bread, add a light coating of mayo, and slice up some tomatoes just plucked from the garden. A little salt and pepper et voilà! A melting mixture of savory, sweet, and bright flavors results. For an Italian version, add pesto and mozzarella cheese. Prefer a Mediterranean take? Combine hummus, cucumber, and pickled onions with your tomato instead. 

  1. Smoothies 

Endless iterations of this popular beverage await you. A smoothie can be as simple as a few of your favorite fruits combined with ice in a blender, or you can make it heartier with yogurt or cottage cheese. Add greens like spinach or kale for even more natural hydration and nutrients. If you’re using a smoothie as a meal replacement, check with your doc or dietitian to make sure the nutritional content is adequate.

  1. Porridge

A breakfast staple, grain porridges like oatmeal and congee (rice porridge) offer a satisfying meal that’s full of the nutrients, fiber, and moisture you need to fuel your day. In fact, it may surprise you to know that prepared oatmeal is nearly 88% moisture. Add chia seeds, and you’ll up that ratio even more. Note: if sweet and fruity oatmeal leaves you cold, try a savory flavor combo like peanut butter and banana, mushroom and swiss cheese with greens, or even a southwest take with beans, salsa, and sour cream. 

  1. Soups

Looking for a light and hydrating dinner option? People often forget how great soup can be for nutrition and hydration. For warm options, try broth-based staples like vegetable, french onion, or chicken noodle, or expand your flavor options a little with Asian classics like pho or tom yum. Don’t forget chilled soups! You can break out the blender or food processor to create delightfully fresh soups—no cooking required—including classics like gazpacho, cucumber-dill, or sweet cantaloupe soup. 

Note: For well-rounded nutrition, make sure to add protein to at least some of these meals. Yogurt, already mentioned, can be a solid source of protein. Some other choices that offer good hydration include shrimp, salmon, chicken breast, and tofu. The latter can be cooked in a number of ways and takes on flavors spectacularly when marinated. It’s a great option to have in your back pocket if you’re aiming for a low- or no-meat diet that’s nutritious and hydrating. 

If you’re feeling inspired, stock your fridge with your favorites from our list of hydrating foods for seniors, and you’ll be ready to take on the summer heat. How do we know? At Prime Carolina Coast, we make sure our community members can get fresh fruits and vegetables easily for every meal (three a day) in our community dining room. Or residents can also whip up their own favorites at will in their apartments’ fully equipped kitchens. With all they need at their fingertips, they can enjoy sunny summer days at their leisure.

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