The Top 13 Most Hydrating Foods Your Bones Crave

On average, the human body is composed of 60-70% water. Considered by many to be the most essential nutrient, water is not only healthy, but deliciously refreshing. But in the midst of these warm summer months in the Northern hemisphere, it’s surprisingly easy to become dehydrated. Most people know that proper hydration is vital to good health, but many do not know that dehydration is damaging to bones.

While drinking enough water is important, keeping up with the daily recommendations can seem daunting. Did you know that you can achieve many of your hydration needs through food? Most foods, even those that may appear hard or dry, contain water. In fact, the human body can obtain up to 20 percent of its total water requirement from food alone.

Today we look at the top 13 most hydrating foods, consisting of at least 90% water. The benefit of consuming these high-water-content foods is that in addition to staying hydrated, you are ingesting vital bone-building nutrients along the way.

So grab a glass of water and let’s explore this juicy topic together!

Why Is Hydration So Important?

Every cell, tissue, bone, and organ in your body needs water to function properly. Without water, we can only survive for a few days, since it plays many significant roles in the body1. In addition to regulating body temperature, water is responsible for providing moisture, aiding in digestion, and removing toxic waste.

While you may know that water is vital for bone health, you may not know that the three most important components of bone are apatite mineral, collagen protein, and water.2 The water within your bones directly affects their strength and density, as well as their ability to remodel.

Clearly, proper hydration is vital for strong bones. For example, it ensures that the stress hormone, cortisol, remains at a consistent level. Studies have shown that dehydration increases the release of cortisol, as well as the related stress hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine. As explained in the Save Our Bones Program, cortisol accelerates bone loss.

Inadequate fluid intake also causes the kidneys to slow urine production. The kidneys are responsible for maintaining the appropriate pH balance that is vital to maintain bone mass. When you are dehydrated, kidney function slows, allowing for toxins to build in your body and for an acidic environment to follow.

Studies have produced varying recommendations regarding the appropriate amount of water consumption. The truth is that needs vary from person to person.

Foods That Fuel Hydration

You might be surprised to learn that beverages are not the only way to stay well hydrated. Fruits and vegetables contain water, and they are also packed with bone-smart minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. By consuming raw fruits and vegetables you are not only staying hydrated, but you are rejuvenating your bones.

Utilizing the USDA Food Composition Database4, we examined foods that provide you with the highest water content, so let’s begin with the…

Fruits And Vegetables Highest in Water Content

1. Celery * (95.43% water)

Delicious by itself, stuffed with dip, or chopped into salads, celery is one of the most versatile of all garden vegetables. With the scientific name Apium graveolens, given its alkalizing nature, it’s an excellent choice for vibrant bone and overall health.

Celery is one of the Foundation Foods in the Save Our Bones Program, and for many good reasons. Rich in bone-essential nutrients such as Vitamin K and calcium, celery is a powerful bone-building food. In addition to many other Foundation supplements found in celery, such as folate, Vitamin C, and magnesium, it also contains vital phytonutrients that have been proven to lower blood pressure.5

Celery is also a rich source of fiber, which in addition to a myriad of health benefits, helps to eliminate toxins from the body and reduce inflammation.

Try our Alkalizing Aloha smoothie recipe and remember that celery is one of the “Dirty Dozen” foods, so we suggest you select it organically grown.

2. Radish (95.27% water)

Another food high in water-content is the zesty radish, also known as the Raphanus Sativus. This root vegetable is part of the Brassica family and comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors.

The radish is packed with bone-smart Vitamin C, which is essential for the production of collagen, as well as for bone formation. Radishes also contain many other Foundation Supplements such as vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, zinc, folate, niacin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and flavonoid antioxidants.

Radishes are excellent for the liver and stomach, acting as a powerful detoxifier. They are known for purifying the blood and removing toxins and waste from the body. Commonly known to treat jaundice, a 2014 study showed that black radishes help to detoxify acetaminophen from the liver.6

While radishes are typically served raw in salads, they can be delicious when cooked as well. This Roasted Radish Antipasto adds an interesting twist to radishes. Just remember though, the cooking process dehydrates vegetables, so pop a few raw ones in your mouth before roasting!

3. Cucumber * (95.23% water)

Who doesn’t love a cucumber? While most people consider cucumbers a vegetable, they are technically a fruit. The cucumber, or Cucumis sativus, contains seeds and grow from the ovaries of flowering plants.

Cucumbers are high Vitamin K. Several studies have found a correlation between a low intake of Vitamin K and an increased risk of fractures in women.7

A trace mineral called silica is perhaps the most magical ingredient in cucumbers. Silica contributes to the development of connective tissue in your body, including collagen. The quality of collagen is directly related to bone strength.8 Silica is also responsible for facilitating the assimilation of calcium.

Cucumbers are easy to add to your diet. Eating them raw, in a sandwich, or added as a replacement to pickles. Better yet, try this hearty California Cucumber Salad.

4. Zucchini (94.79% water)

Like cucumbers, zucchini, scientifically named Cucurbita pepo, is technically a fruit. Also similar to cucumbers, it is a water-saturated food and high in bone-building Vitamin C, containing 22 milligrams in one cup.

Zucchini is also rich in flavonoid antioxidants, such as zeaxanthin, carotenes, and lutein. Not only do these flavonoids assist in slowing down the aging process due to their ability to destroy free radicals, but the intake of lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown to be protective against trochanter bone loss.9

Most of the mentioned antioxidants in zucchini are found in its skin, so it’s best to consume the entire vegetable for the most benefits. There are so many ways to eat zucchini, including the newest craze of spiralized zucchini or zucchini ribbons, which are both alternatives to pasta. Additionally, you could try this creative Pizzini recipe.

5. Tomato * (94.5% water)

Amazingly, there are over 25,000 different varieties of tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum).

They are nutritional powerhouses, containing many of the Foundation Supplements listed in the Save Our Bones Program, including an abundant amount of Vitamin C, A, and K, as well as Vitamin B6, folate, and thiamin.

Tomatoes contain large amounts of the bone-building antioxidant lycopene, which is responsible for giving them their bright red color. These powerful antioxidants protect cells from the damaging effects of free-radicals. Studies have shown that lycopene protects and stimulates osteoblasts, which are bone-building cells.10

Tomatoes are delicate and contain a thin layer of skin, and thus can absorb pesticides quickly. Be certain to stay away from the non-organic variety of tomatoes whenever possible.

6. Bell Peppers * (93.89% water)

While the typical bell pepper is green, peppers come in a wide variety of colors including yellow, red, orange purple, and black. Known scientifically as Capsicum annuum, the bell pepper is easy to grow in a variety of climates.

Bell peppers are amazingly nutritious, and thanks to their high levels of potassium, they help to maintain an alkaline environment in the body. One cup of green pepper contains 261 mg of potassium, while red, orange, and yellow varieties offer even more. Savers know that a balance of sodium and potassium is vital for maintaining desirable pH levels. Low potassium levels can cause bone loss, kidney stones, and other undesirable health issues.

In addition to a high potassium content, bell peppers are also rich in Vitamin C. In fact, one bell pepper contains more vitamin C than an orange!

7. Cabbage * (92.18% water)

A member of the cruciferous family, cabbage contains a high concentration of nutrients essential for healthy, strong bones. Hundreds of varieties of cabbage, or Brassica oleracea, are grown throughout the world. Recognized as the oldest known vegetable, cabbage is steeped in history. This superfood is a Foundation Food in the Save Our Bones Program.

Cabbage has an impressive nutritional profile. Rich in Vitamins C and K, as well as folate, potassium, and manganese, it is packed with bone-building nutrients. Savers surely know by now the positive effect that Vitamin K has on bone health.

Cabbage also contains inflammation-fighting phytonutrients, such as the bone-protective plant flavonoids anthocyanins, found in particularly high levels in red cabbage. Scientists have identified no less than 36 anthocyanins in red cabbage.11 These powerful antioxidants have been shown to yield twice the antioxidant power of vitamin C.

To gain all of the hydration benefits of cabbage, consume it raw such as in a salad or slaw. Several cabbage recipes are featured in the Save Our Bones cookbook, Bone Appétit.

8. Cauliflower * (92.07% water)

Cauliflower is yet another vegetable included as a Foundation Food in the Save Our Bones Program. Also part of the brassica family, it possesses many of the same bone-building attributes as all cruciferous vegetables.

Cauliflower is a rich source of Vitamin C, which serves two important roles: acting as an antioxidant and as a vitamin. Vitamin C stimulates the production of osteoblasts (bone building cells), while simultaneously suppressing osteoclasts (bone resorption cells).12

Filled with antioxidants and phytonutrients, cauliflower helps to capture the bone-destroying free-radicals, and like other cruciferous vegetables, it is an excellent source of d-glucarate. D-glucarate helps in the release of toxins.

Cauliflower can be served in a variety of ways, preferably raw if you desire the full water content of this fantastic food. It can also be crumbled for a healthy alternative to rice or made into a bone-healthy Cauliflower Bread.

9. Grapefruit * (91.56% water)

This large citrus fruit, related to the orange, is packed with hydration! The grapefruit earned its name for the way in which it grows clustered on trees, very similar to the grape. With the scientific name of Citrus paradisi, this fruit is as exotic as it is delicious.

While grapefruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, copper, and potassium, it’s true bone-health benefits lie in the grapefruit’s ability to slow down bone loss.13 This trait is attributed to the high levels of antioxidants present in grapefruits.

The pink and red variety of grapefruits are loaded with the carotenoid phytonutrient, lycopene. As with tomatoes, and as explained in the Save Our Bones Program, lycopene stimulates the production of osteoblasts, the bone building cells of our body.

If you have experienced kidney stones, grapefruits may be your best friend. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that when women drank 1/2 to 1 liter of grapefruit juice daily, their urinary pH value and citric acid excretion increased, significantly dropping their risk of forming calcium oxalate stones.14

10. Watermelon * (91.45% water)

This thirst-quenching food was duly given its name. With over 91% of its content pure alkaline water, there are few better ways to stay hydrated. Interestingly, a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, watermelon is closely related to the cucumber.

Watermelons are listed as a Foundation Food in the Save Our Bones Program, largely due to its high content of bone-healthy carotenoids, Vitamins A and C, and lycopene. Watermelon also contains the amino acid citrulline, the precursor to another amino acid called arginine. Arginine helps cells divide, wounds heal, and ammonia to be removed from the body.

While unconventional, eating the white part of the rind is very beneficial as it contains a high level of citrulline.15 So, don’t stop at the rind. Watermelon rind jam or watermelon rind slaw are a couple of great ways to enjoy the sweet benefits of the rind.

11. Spinach * (91.4% water)

Green leafy vegetables are high in bone-building calcium, and spinach is no exception. One cup of raw spinach provides with 30 mg of calcium. While there has been some debate about the oxalates present in spinach, they should only be a concern if you have had kidney stones in the past.

Spinach is high in potassium and low in sodium, which is beneficial for blood pressure and to balance the pH in your body. It is an excellent source of many vitamins including Vitamin K, which as discussed above, functions in retaining calcium in the bone matrix, thereby leading to improved bone mineralization. It also contains many other bone-friendly minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.

Spinach is an easy, versatile vegetable to cook and to eat. Throw it in a smoothie or try our Salad Haters Salad for a fun twist. Remember though, spinach is on the “Dirty Dozen” list, so try to eat the organically grown kind.

12. Strawberries * (90.95% water)

Who doesn’t love a strawberry? These small bites of deliciousness are second only to apples in terms of popularity. In fact, the average strawberry consumer eats five pounds a year!

This Foundation Food is filled with nutrients that help build your bones. While most strawberry lovers know that they contain large amounts of Vitamin C, they are also a great source of the trace mineral manganese, as well as folate and potassium.

Perhaps the real benefit of strawberries, however, comes from their abundance of free-radical fighting antioxidants. Strawberries contain a minimum of nine flavonoids. One such flavonoid is anthocyanin, which is responsible for giving the strawberry it’s dark red color.

Strawberries are number one on the “Dirty Dozen” list and should be only be consumed organically grown, due to the high absorption of pesticides. For variety, you can try this Beauty and the Feast Salad, or simply add it to plain, unsweetened yogurt or your favorite smoothie.

13. Cantaloupe * (90.15% water)

The cantaloupe, or Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis, is another alkaline fruit that helps to balance the body’s pH. This thirst-quenching fruit is also extremely hydrating to the body.

In addition to a high Vitamin C content, cantaloupes are also an excellent source of potassium, Vitamin B3, B6, folate, and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a powerful type of flavonoid called a carotenoid. This antioxidant helps to fight free radicals. In fact, cantaloupe has more beta-carotene than apricots, oranges, peaches, tangerines, and mangoes. One study even indicated that a cantaloupe has as much beta-carotene as a carrot.16

Cantaloupes are best served fully ripened to obtain the most nutrients. On a warm day, there are few things better than this Cool Cantaloupe Soup.

* Foundation Food

The Medical Establishment Is Still Missing The Connection Between Nutrition and Bone Health

Savers know that there are numerous ways to prevent and reverse bone loss, and they don’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. In fact, small, but consistent changes, in your daily eating and drinking habits can help to stop bone-loss in its tracks. Something as simple as ensuring that you are well hydrated can make an incredible difference in the long term health of your bones. The Save Our Bones Program is designed to help you make these changes in an easy, yet effective, way.

Unfortunately, the Medical Establishment fails to promote any of these simple changes. Influenced by Big Pharma, they’d rather focus on treating the ‘disease’ by covering-up symptoms with prescription drugs. In the unusual cases when supplements are recommended, they are often done so in isolation and without a holistic view of the patient.

In the Save Our Bones Program’s Blueprint, you’ll find an extensive list of Foundation Foods, which are nutrient-rich foods that are essential for nourishing and building quality bone. You’ll also find a list of Foundation Supplements, and much more. In addition to the Blueprint, the Program also includes several bonuses. One of them, the Missing Link is an in-depth hydration guide that will teach you everything you need to know about water and bone health.

Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss

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Till next time,

References:

1Popkin BM, D’Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. “Water, Hydration and Health.” Nutr Rev. 2010. 68(8): 439-458. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/

2Raghaven, Mekhala. “Investigation of Mineral and Collagen Organization in Bone Using Raman Spectroscopy.” University of Michigan. 2011. PDF. Web: http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/84443/mekhala_1.pdf

3Judelson AD. et al. “Effect of hydration state on resistance exercise-induced endocrine markers of anabolism, catabolism, and metabolism.” Journal of Applied Physiology. September 2008 vol. 105 no. 3 816-824.

4United States Department of Agriculture Web: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list

5Madhavi D, Kagan D, Rao V, Murray MT “A Pilot Study to Evaluate the Antihypertensive Effect of a Celery Extract in Mild to Moderate Hypertensive Patients.” Natural Medicine Journal. 2013. 5(4). Web: http://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2013-04/pilot-study-evaluate-antihypertensive-effect-celery-extract-mild-moderate

6Evans M, Paterson E, Barnes DM. “An open label pilot study to evaluate the efficacy of Spanish black radish on the induction of phase I and phase II enzymes in healthy male subjects.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014. 14(475). Web: https://bmccomplementalternmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6882-14-475#Abs1

7Booth SL. et al. “Vitamin K intake and bone mineral density in women and men.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Feb;77(2):512-6. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12540415?dopt=Citation

8Viguet-Carrin S, Garnero P, Delmas PD. “The role of collagen in bone strength”. Osteoporos Int. 2006;17(3):319-36. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16341622

9Sahni S, Hannan MT, Blumberg J, Cupples LA, Kiel DP, Tucker KL. “Inverse association of carotenoid intakes with 4-y change in bone mineral density in elderly men and women: the Framingham Osteoporosis Study.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89(1):416–424. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3151434/

10Kim L, Rao AV, Rao LG. “Lycopene II—effect on osteoblasts: the carotenoid lycopene stimulates cell proliferation and alkaline phosphatase activity of SaOS-2 cells”. J Med Food. 2003;6:79–86. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12935317

11Charron C, Clevidence BA, Britz SJ, Novotny JA. “Effect of Dose Size on Bioavailability of Acylated and Nonacylated Anthocyanins from Red Cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. Var. capitata).” J. Agric. Food Chem., 2007, 55 (13), pp 5354–5362.

12Gabbay, K. H. et al. “The Ascorbate Synthesis Pathway: Dual Role of Ascorbate in Bone Homeostasis.” The Journal of Biological Chemistry. April 21, 2010.

13Deyhim F, Mandadi K, Patil BS, Faraji B. “Grapefruit pulp increases antioxidant status and improves bone quality in orchidectomized rats.” Nutrition. 2008. 24(10):1039-44. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18595661

14Honow R, Laube N, Schneider A, Kessler T, Hesse A. “Influence of grapefruit-, orange- and apple-juice consumption on urinary variables and risk of crystallization.” British Journal of Nutrition. 2003. 90(2) 295-300. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12908889

15Rimando AM, Perkins-Veazie PM. “Determination of citrulline in watermelon rind.” Journal Chromatog A. 2005. 1078(1-2): 196-200. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16007998

16Fleshman, MK., et al. “Carotene and novel apocarotenoid concentrations in orange-fleshed Cucumis melo melons: determinations of β-carotene bioaccessibility and bioavailability.” Journal Agric Food Chem.
201. 59(9):4448-54. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21417375

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  1. Marcia August 1, 2017, 11:21 pm

    Your “watery” veggies/fruit list is an interesting perspective – – – I do try to eat and drink foods that are healthful for my “older” body’s various “conditions” – – – BUT – – –

    1. Celery * (95.43% water) I have never liked celery, only eat it in dressing
    2. Radish (95.27% water) I do not eat radishes – bad taste
    3. Cucumber * (95.23% water) I used to eat cucumber, in salads, etc., now it gives me indigestion – –
    4. Zucchini (94.79% water) I like other squashes, – summer & winter, not the taste of zucchini
    5. Tomato * (94.5% water) I can eat small amounts of tomatoes – too much acid
    6. Bell Peppers * (93.89% water) Bell pepper family gives me indigestion – food allergy; don’t eat other peppers either
    7. Cabbage * (92.18% water) Cabbage is ok, but it gives me indigestion, now
    8. Cauliflower * (92.07% water) I like cauliflower ok, what about broccoli? raw ok, prefer cooked with cheese sauce
    9. Grapefruit * (91.56% water) I can eat a little citrus – too much acid
    10. Watermelon * (91.45% water) Love watermelon, grew up eating watermelon preserves
    11. Spinach * (91.4% water) Spinach is ok, cooked and raw
    12. Strawberries * (90.95% water) Love strawberries, can’t afford organic very often
    13. Cantaloupe * (90.15% water) Love cantaloupe & other melons, not so much honeydew

    I learned many years ago that it is not reasonable or profitable for me to get or try & follow other people’s recipe books with the food sensitivities and allergies I deal with.

  2. Vida July 24, 2017, 12:06 pm

    Hello Vivian,
    I have thyroid hormones problem ,it means I have auto immune problem …my doctor recommend me not to eat cabbage,cauliflower or broccoli…..is it right ??
    I am following your program ,and I want to make sure it s ok to eat this vegetables ..?
    Thanks.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA July 24, 2017, 5:18 pm

      It’s okay if you can’t eat these vegetables, Vida, due to thyroid problems or any other reason. There are so many other bone-healthy foods to choose from that it’s not a problem if you can’t eat a few. 🙂

  3. Kimberly July 24, 2017, 11:51 am

    Cauliflower has more water than watermelon. Bust my buttons. Who’d have thought?
    Thanks for this eye-opening article.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA July 24, 2017, 5:16 pm

      I thought that was interesting, too, Kimberly!

  4. Marlene July 24, 2017, 9:33 am

    Good morning Vivian,
    Thank you very much , Vivian.
    May GOD richly bless you and your family.
    Have a wonderful day.
    Marlene

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA July 24, 2017, 11:21 am

      Good morning to you as well, Marlene! Thank you for your positive encouragement. I hope you have a great week.

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