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Hydrating Foods to Beat the Summer Heat

Did you know that dehydration is one of the most common health issues older adults face during the heat of the summer? Everything from medication side effects to difficulty processing heat put seniors at higher risk for a serious heat-related illness like dehydration.

The good news is: drinking water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. There are smart food choices you can make that help promote better hydration.

Healthy Hydration: Below are 10 smart summer food choices that can help provide good health and hydration:

1. Cucumbers. This refreshing veggie boasts a 95 percent water content! In addition to its hydrating benefits, cucumber is also rich in important minerals, such as potassium and magnesium. Add a few slices to your water to create a thirst-quenching beverage.
2. Melon. Like cucumber, this invigorating summer treat is made largely of water. Most melons are packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and beta carotene. Watermelon contains lycopene, a compound believed to help prevent cancer and protect the body from UV rays. 
3. Leafy Greens. We all know salads with leafy green vegetables, like spinach and romaine are good for our overall well-being. They are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants but low in calories. What isn’t as well known is how hydrating leafy greens are. With a 90 percent water content, a salad a day just might help keep the doctor away!
4. Broccoli. Coming in at 91 percent water, raw broccoli can improve hydration during the summer heat. Added benefits of eating your broccoli? Cholesterol-fighting fiber and vitamin C.
5. Carrots. Besides being packed with beta-carotene and fiber, carrots are about 86 percent water. They also contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C, K, and B8, potassium, iron and copper.
6. Celery. Sometimes mistakenly believed to have little nutritional value, celery is 96 percent water. Celery helps replenish minerals, such as sodium, magnesium, potassium and zinc, which are flushed out through perspiration on hot days.
7. Berries. A summer staple in many households, berries are hydrating and delicious. And they're loaded with vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. You can eat them with a bowl of cereal in the morning, on top of ice cream or in frozen-style smoothies.
8. Tomatoes. Most of us enjoy a hearty tomato picked fresh from the vine, especially in the summer. It’s a healthy, guilt-free summer snack rich in cancer-fighting lycopene and antioxidants. The high water content found in tomatoes also makes it hydrating.
9. Applesauce. Unsweetened applesauce can be a healthy, hydrating side dish to serve at summer meals. Depending upon the brand you pick, many are made of unpeeled apples that help pump up your fiber intake.
10. Fruit pops. Frozen fruit pops are another summer treat that are both refreshing and hydrating on a hot summer day. And fruit pops are an easy treat to make at home, which helps you avoid the high fructose corn syrup often found in store-bought ice pops. We’ve included a few of our favorite recipes and tips for helping you get started!

Tips for Making Your Own Summer Fruit Pops

Start by purchasing ice pop molds at your local craft store or specialty kitchen store. They are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. While you are there, you will also need to pick up ice pop sticks.

Next you’ll want to decide what type of fruity treats sound best. Here are two different styles of fruit pops you can easily make on your own.

Strawberry Banana Yogurt Pops

• 3 cups strawberries
• 3 cups sliced bananas
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 2/3 cup strawberry-banana Greek yogurt

Blend or puree all ingredients until smooth. If you have difficulty getting the fruits to blend evenly, try adding a small amount of unsweetened coconut milk.

Pour mixture in to each mold until it is about two-thirds full. Freeze the pops until they are slightly firm and then insert the wooden sticks. Return to freezer overnight.

Icy Fruit Salad Pops

If you are looking for a very simple version of a fruit pop, you are in luck. This one couldn’t be easier!

• 4 cups of your favorite fruit or combination of fruits (i.e. all strawberries or a fun combination of fruits like blueberries, strawberries, peeled kiwi and peaches)
• 2 cups of white grape juice, coconut water or flavored water

Slice the fruit into bite-sized pieces and add to molds. Fill each mold with your desired juice or water. Freeze slightly to thicken and then add the wooden sticks. Return to freezer for six to eight hours.

*The tips are offered as general information and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider before making any changes in your diet.

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