Water is essential for human health, but water alone does not hydrate the body. In fact, people can increase their hydration level and water intake with many foods and other drinks.

Eating healthful hydrating foods — especially during warm weather, when the body loses water and vital electrolytes through sweating — can keep hydration levels up and provide a variety of nutrients.

These 20 foods contain at least 85% water, making them a great choice for a person's hydration needs.

cucumber which is a hydrating foodsShare on Pinterest

Water content: 96.73%

Cucumbers are a source of potassium and also contain phosphorus, magnesium, and a small amount of calcium.

Although they do not boast the high vitamin and mineral content of some other fruits and vegetables, they do contain special nutrients called cucurbitacins, which some evidence suggests could have an antidiabetic effect.

Cucumber water is also a popular summer drink for people who do not like the taste of plain water. Learn about the benefits of cucumber water here.

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Water content: 95.64%

Although this pale green, crunchy lettuce variety is not as nutrient dense as some of its leafy green counterparts, it still offers health benefits.

It is low in carbohydrates and sugar but contains fiber, vitamins A and K, potassium, and zinc.

People may be surprised to learn that lettuce could help them fall asleep. Find out more in this article about sleep inducing foods.

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Water content: 95.43%

This light green, crunchy vegetable is low in calories, protein, and carbohydrates but packs a punch with fiber. It also provides vitamins A and K, as well as folate and potassium.

Celery also makes a good snack. Popular serving ideas include spreading peanut butter or almond butter on the top, which adds lots of extra protein.

Learn more about the health benefits of celery in this article.

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Water content: 94.52%

Although many people consider the tomato to be a vegetable, it is botanically a fruit that is rich in fiber, vitamins C and K, folate, and potassium.

Tomatoes also contain lycopene, which helps prevent cell damage. Tomatoes are the main source of dietary lycopene for people in the United States.

Learn more about the nutritional benefits of tomatoes in this article.

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Water content: 93.47%

Romaine lettuce is crisp and not far behind iceberg lettuce in terms of water content. Romaine lettuce offers more nutritional benefits. In general, darker greens are more healthful.

Romaine lettuce is a good source of vitamins C and K, as well as folate, vitamin A, and fiber.

Learn about the health benefits of romaine lettuce, and how to incorporate it into a balanced diet, here.

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Water content: 92.73%

Commonly called summer squash, zucchini contains manganese, potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, C, and K, and fiber.

It also contains antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help fight damage to the body's DNA.

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Water content: 91.45%

Watermelon is a staple food at many summer barbecues, as its hydrating benefits are a great fit for hot weather.

This sweet fruit contains mostly water, as well as vitamin C, vitamin A, several B vitamins, potassium, zinc, copper, and many other minerals.

A cup of diced watermelon also contains just 45.6 calories.

Learn more about the benefits and nutritional content of watermelons here.

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Water content: 91.4%

This leafy green vegetable packs a lot of nutrition and fiber with very few calories.

It is a good source of magnesium and also contains calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, fiber, and folate.

Spinach makes a great base for salads. People can also blend it into a smoothie with sweet fruit. For those who find spinach too bitter, mixing it with sweet fruit in a smoothie can help balance out the taste.

Learn more about the nutritional value of spinach here.

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Water content: 90.95%

Strawberries, with their sweet taste and high vitamin C content, are a popular berry.

Strawberries contain antioxidants that fight damage from free radicals. They are high in fiber and low in calories.

Learn about how to add more strawberries to a nutritious diet in this article.

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Water content: 90.84%

Skim, or fat free, milk is a healthful beverage to drink on its own, as well as a useful ingredient in cooking or for foods such as cereal.

It is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. People whose bodies can tolerate lactose may find that drinking skim milk is a good way to stay hydrated.

People interested in learning more about the health benefits of milk can read this article.

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Water content: 90.36%

Soy milk is a mixture of water and soybeans that forms a milk-like drink.

It is naturally high in water and a good choice for hydration.

Many commercial brands of soy milk contain added calcium, vitamin D, and several B vitamins.

Learn about a variety of plant based milks, including almond, soy, and hemp, and how they stack up against dairy milk here.

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Water content: 90.15%

Also known as muskmelon, cantaloupe is high in vitamin C and fiber, and it makes an excellent summer snack.

Like many other orange fruits and vegetables, it is also a source of beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A.

Learn all about the benefits of cantaloupes here.

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Water content: 89.82%

This sweet, yellow-green melon is a type of muskmelon that is a good source of potassium and vitamin C. It also contains folate, magnesium, and vitamin K.

Like most melons, it has a high sugar content. Learn about which types of melon are best for people who need to watch their sugar intake here.

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Water content: 89.63%

Kale is a nutrient dense, leafy green vegetable with a high dose of vitamins A, C, and K. It also contains calcium, fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Kale is a good plant based source of iron and some B vitamins, as well as anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.

Learn all about the health benefits of kale in this article.

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Water content: 89.3%

Broccoli may not be the first food that comes to mind when people think of hydrating foods, but this cruciferous vegetable is almost 90% water.

It contains several different antioxidants and is also a source of fiber, iron, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

Try steaming broccoli or eating it raw to get the most out of its nutrients. Learn more about the health benefits of broccoli in this article.

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Water content: 88.87%

This juicy fruit contains plenty of vitamins, including C, A, E, and K. It is also a good source of potassium and phosphorus.

People can eat peaches as a quick snack, or they can incorporate them into salsas, salads, or smoothies.

Learn more about the health benefits of peaches here.

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Water content: 88.29%

With their bright orange color, carrots contain a high amount of beta carotene, or vitamin A. Other varieties, such as purple and white carrots, usually have an orange core. This makes them a great source of vitamin A, as well.

They are also a good source of potassium, folate, vitamin K, and fiber.

Beta carotene benefits the body in a variety of ways. Learn about which foods contain the most beta carotene here.

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Water content: 86.75%

Known best for their vitamin C content, oranges are also rich in fiber and potassium. Citrus fruits can also help the body absorb iron from other foods.

Oranges also contain several B vitamins, magnesium, selenium, and copper.

Learn more about how oranges benefit health in this article.

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Water content: 86%

This spiny, tropical fruit is packed with nutrition, including vitamin C. It also contains magnesium, potassium, manganese, and B vitamins.

It contains bromelain, an enzyme with anti-inflammatory effects.

Some people use bromelain to help treat sinusitis, osteoarthritis, and digestive problems. Learn more about its benefits here.

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Water content: 85.56%

Apples come in many varieties, from deep red and crunchy to green and crisp.

In general, apples are a good source of water, but they also contain plenty of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants such as quercetin and catechin.

Read this article to learn about the health benefits of apples, from improving neurological health to reducing the risk of obesity.

Water is the most healthful beverage, as the body can easily use it, and it contains no additives, calories, sugar, or other ingredients.

However, some people do not like the taste of plain water or simply want more variety.

People can stay hydrated by adding fruits, vegetables, and herbs to water, which will add flavor without adding calories or sugars. Some options to add include:

  • watermelon
  • cucumber
  • mint leaves
  • strawberries
  • lemon
  • lime
  • pineapple

Try crushing these foods before mixing them in to bring out their natural juices and flavors, or let them soak in a pitcher of water in the refrigerator for several hours.

Many herbal teas are good alternatives to water. Look for varieties without added sugar or sweeteners. People who enjoy green or black teas may wish to sip on decaffeinated varieties to stay hydrated.

For people who often drink soda, switching to sparkling water with lemon or lime can drastically reduce their daily sugar intake.

Many people avoid caffeine because they believe it can be dehydrating. However, some recent studies refute this, saying that there is no evidence to suggest that coffee is dehydrating.

Nonetheless, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggest that people limit their caffeine consumption to 400 milligrams (mg) per day. This is roughly four to five cups of coffee.

Some people may need to consume much less than the 400 mg recommendation if they are sensitive to caffeine, are pregnant, have anxiety, or have certain health conditions.

Most people can stay hydrated by sipping water throughout the day and by consuming hydrating foods. There is no set amount of water that is right for everyone.

In general, a person may need to increase their water intake if they:

  • are exercising and sweating
  • are in a hot environment
  • have certain health conditions
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

As well as drinking enough water, limiting intake of salty foods can also reduce a person's risk of dehydration.

Snacks such as chips and packaged crackers, as well as cured meats and canned soups, are just a few of the salty foods that can decrease a person's hydration level.

Many people think that sports drinks are a good alternative to water. Sports drinks contain electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which can be helpful during vigorous exercise or prolonged exposure to heat.

However, most of the time, plain water is the best choice because it is free of sugars, sweeteners, and other additives.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend limiting children's consumption of sports drinks because they can lead to excess calories and weight gain, as well as tooth decay.

Hydration is about more than drinking water. Many foods contain water and additional nutrients that are vital for good health.

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a good way to supply the body with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, while adding to daily water intake.