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  • Brian Bender, PhD

Hydration Beyond the Bottle: Hydrating Foods

Updated: May 2

In our quest for hydration, water bottles have become our constant companions. However, hydration extends beyond the sips and gulps of water. Surprisingly, the food on our plate plays a significant role in keeping us hydrated. Intake Health is delving into the water content of foods, backed by data from the USDA Food Database, to reveal how meals contribute to our daily water intake.

The Science of Hydration

Before diving into the umbers, let's explore why hydration is vital. It's not just about quenching thirst; hydration affects every cell in our body, influencing energy levels, brain function, and even mood.

Usually when it comes to hydration, we think water. A beverage, at least! But the average American, per NHANES data, does not consume the National Academy of Medicine's recommended 2 to 3 liters of water, daily, even taking into account the fact that an estimated 20% of our water comes from food intake.

While water is the front-runner in hydration, foods are a significant source. This concept opens a new dimension in managing hydration, especially for those who struggle with their daily water intake.

Water-Rich Foods: A Hidden Hydration Source

According to the USDA Food Database, a vast array of foods contribute to our hydration. From the crisp bite of a cucumber to the juicy burst of a watermelon slice, the water content in foods can be surprisingly high. Here, we'll compare the water content of various foods, showcasing how they stack up against each other and contribute to our overall hydration. A few top notable (and sometimes surprising) foods are highlighted to show just how high water content can be.

Fruits: Nature's Juiciest Snacks

  • Watermelon: With water making up 92% of its weight, watermelon is a hydration hero.

  • Strawberries: Not far behind, strawberries are 91% water, making them a sweet source of hydration.

  • Peaches: These citrus wonders are about 88.9% water.

Vegetables: Hydration in Every Bite

  • Canned Butterbur: Leading the pack, canned butterbur is nearly 97.9% water.

  • Cucumber: At 96.7% water, cucumber's make for a well-known, hydrating snack.

  • Squash: Not just for Thanksgiving, squash has upwards of 96% water content.

Other Hydrating Heroes

  • Yogurt: Dairy products like yogurt can be hydrating as well, with a high water content alongside beneficial probiotics.

  • Soups and Broths: Hot or cold, soups and broths are predominantly water, making them a comforting way to stay hydrated.

Highest Water Content Foods For Your Diet

The interactive chart below is scroll-able, and provides over 5,000 foods from the USDA Food Database ranked by percentage water content. Fruits and vegetables dominate the top half of the list. Click around or search for foods you're interested in!


Hydration is multifaceted, and understanding the role of food in maintaining fluid balance is crucial. By expanding our view beyond the water bottle and into our meals, we can enjoy a diverse and delicious path to staying hydrated. Let Intake Health, leader in automated hydration testing, guide you through making every meal a step towards better hydration.

Call to Action

Explore more nutrition and hydration tips at Intake Health. Stay informed, stay hydrated, and revolutionize the way you think about water in your diet.


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