Avocado is comprised of not only healthy monounsaturated fats but also 81 percent water by weight! Results from a 2010 NHANES study show that the absorption of two key carotenoids, lycopene and beta-carotene, where increased by 200 to 400 percent when fresh avocado was added to meals. This is important to athletes in an effort to decrease recovery time.
Cucumbers have a 96 percent water content and a good balance of electrolytes such as, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. The mineral, silica, also found in cucumber is essential for healthy, lubricated connective tissue, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone.
Yogurt contains live bacterial cultures that may improve the immune system. Research has shown that increased yogurt consumption, may enhance the immune response. With yogurt's balance of milk sugar and protein yogurt can viewed as the "perfect recovery food for athletes."
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also published a study that showed those who ate a high calcium diet after one year had fat oxidation 20 times greater compared to those in the low calcium diet control group. This is just another bonus for athletes looking for an edge.
More: Hydration Basics
Hydrating Potassium Foods
Potassium is the predominant positively charged electrolyte in body cells. The flow of potassium and sodium in and out of cells maintains the normal functioning of the heart, brain, kidney and skeletal muscles. Potassium is important for muscle contraction and the rhythm of the heart. The majority of potassium in the body is stored within the cells, so small changes in the concentration of potassium in the bloodstream can have serious health consequences. The most hydrating potassium rich foods are:
Cantaloupe which provides 29 calories and is made up of 89 percent water. Cantaloupe is an exceptionally good fruit for supporting energy production through its efficient carbohydrate metabolism and ability to keep the blood sugar stable.
More: How Much Water Should You Drink?
Strawberries contain 23 calories and are made up of approximately 92 percent water. Strawberries rank as the fourth strongest antioxidant rich fruit. The polyphenols found in strawberries aid in regulating the blood sugar response in active individuals.
Hydrating Sodium Foods
Sodium is a required element for normal body functions. It is lost in sweat and urine and is replaced by diet. The body has a remarkable ability to maintain sodium and water balance throughout a variety of conditions. During exercise, especially in hot weather, more salt is lost in sweat per hour than can be replaced by food or even sport drinks. The body can tolerate a slight degree of imbalance, but only for a short period of time. Hydrating through sodium-rich foods such as celery can be a powerful addition to diet.
Celery is considered to be a powerful electrolyte food. As little as two to three mineral-rich stalks of celery can replenish an athlete's sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc levels after intense exercise.