This page is an excerpt from the book Healthy & Hydrated – The Key to Vibrant Living

Here is a full episode of Chef Pamela’s TV Show: Charlotte Cooks on PBS Charlotte
Refreshing Beverages – Everyone’s Favorite!

Making Refreshing Beverages

Hydration From the Foods You Eat

Chapter 6

To those who don’t like drinking water, it is almost a relief to hear that 20% of your daily water requirements can be satisfied by the foods you eat on a daily basis.

You may be surprised to see what the top hydrating foods are and why some are higher on the list than others.

This is a brief list to illustrate how hydrating some foods actually are.

Do you realize that cauliflower provides more water than watermelon?

All of the food we discuss in this chapter are 90% or more water. The best part is that they also are rich in vitamins , minerals, fiber and flavor.

At the end of the chapter is a chart of all the food discussed so you can be sure to choose these foods over others.

If you care for someone who has a hard time swallowing liquids, you will want to choose foods for them from this list to help them get as much water into their systems as possible.

When you look at the list, it appears that you can select to make a really good salad for a meal or even part of one, to satisfy this 20% of water from the foods you eat. Take cucumber, it contains the most water of all. It’s like crunchy water.

 High Hydrating Foods



Cucumber                                     96.7%

Howard Murad MD, author of The Water Secret says that “eating 3 ounces of cucumber is like drinking 3 ounces of water, but better.”

Why is it better? Instead of just getting water, you are also getting nutrients and fiber when you eat the cucumber. It provides potassium and a trace of magnesium which work with sodium to regulate body fluids and temperature. Remember electrolytes? Cucumbers are also rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and some B vitamins as well as several other nutrients.

Interestingly enough, cucumbers contain the highest amount of water of any solid food and are one of the healthiest you can eat. Think about a cucumber being over 96% water while you eat it…this is why you can’t freeze them.

Iceberg Lettuce                         95.6%

Butter-head, Green Leaf and Romaine are far better choices when basing your lettuce choice upon nutrients. But you can’t beat the water content of the much shunned Iceberg Lettuce. In cuisine, it does have its place as it provides a sharp bitter flavor that complements burgers and tuna salad so very well. It’s also a great delivery device for blue cheese dressing and Asian Lettuce Wraps are simply divine when wrapped in Iceberg leaves.

This lettuce provides Vitamins B-6, thiamin and folate (both B vitamins) Vitamin C, and Vitamin K. Iceberg mainly provides over 95% water and dietary fiber. This is a great summer lettuce!

Don’t think of Iceberg Lettuce as being low in nutrients but rather as being lower in nutrients than other choices.

But if delivering water is your objective, this lettuce is your choice.





Celery                                             95.4%

Celery provides potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin A, is water rich provides a nice amount of fiber per stalk. All you have to do is eat a stalk that hasn’t been de-strung to notice the fiber. The drawback of celery is that each stalk also provides about 88 mgs of salt which is about 4% of your daily allowance. This makes celery naturally high in sodium, so you need to be aware of that. But at only 6 calories per stalk, you can cut back on adding salt somewhere else.

Celery provides a great crunch and is a good replacement to help satisfy that crunchy craving. Dip into hummus or ginger miso dressing for some ideas. With the high fiber, adding protein like nut butters help satisfy hunger pangs and hold off the feeling of hunger longer than something with less fiber.

Radishes                                       95.3%

Radishes are a great little package of heat, and sometimes, sweet hit of crunch. They are a powerhouse of hydration and flavor. Radishes of all kinds should be in just about every summer salad.

Wash and have them handy for the crunchy craving; lightly sprinkle them with Himalayan Pink Salt which is also very rich with over 80 vitamins and minerals.

Slice them thin and pop them onto a sandwich for some fun. One of my favorite sandwiches is ham, Dijon, butter,  and radish with cornichons on the side. Yum.

Be adventurous and steam them, serve them with butter, salt and pepper, just as you would a turnip or rutabaga; and you can call them ‘baby pink turnips’ just to be fancy. Steamed and buttered red radishes are tremendous with lamb.

All radishes are a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Folate and Potassium.







Tomatoes                                     94.5%

All varieties of tomatoes are excellent sources of antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins. All varieties from the grape, cherry and Roma type and the amazing Heirloom available are the resource. Tomatoes are rich in variety, flavor and nutrients.

The antioxidants present in tomatoes are scientifically found to be protective against cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic tumors.

Lycopene, a flavonoid antioxidant, is a unique phytochemical compound found in the tomatoes. It is said to be good for the eyes and also for the skin.

Red fruits tend to possess more of this antioxidant than other fruits. As with all fruits and vegetables, choose those with the darkest colors for the most concentration of nutrients.

Zea-xanthin is a flavonoid compound we seldom hear about that is abundant in tomatoes. Zea-xanthin helps protect eyes from age-related macular related macular disease by filtering ultra-violet rays from the sun.

Tomatoes contain good levels of vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants xanthins and lutein. Altogether, these pigment compounds are found to have antioxidant properties and take part in night-vision, maintenance of healthy mucus membranes, skin, and bones.

Tomatoes are also good source of antioxidant Vitamin-C, rich in potassium and just 5 mg of sodium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure caused by sodium; electrolytes again.

Further, they carry normal levels of B-complex vitamins such as folates, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin as well some essential minerals like iron, calcium, manganese and other trace elements.

Whether you eat them cooked or raw, tomatoes are a sure bet for flavor and value in your diet.

Bell Peppers, Green                              93.9%

All bell peppers are rich in vitamins A and C , Potassium and fiber. Peppers can be sweet or they can pack a punch of heat as in jalapeno or ghost peppers. Green peppers are picked before they have a chance to turn yellow or red or orange therefore they have slightly higher water content. See Red Peppers for nutrients.

Bell Peppers, Red or yellow                            92%

Sweet peppers that are red, yellow or orange have higher 1 ½ times more vitamin C and red peppers pack the highest amount of nutrition in them because they have been on the plant the longest. Green peppers are harvested earlier.


Cauliflower                   92.1%

Packed with Vitamin C and beta-carotene, this is one powerhouse of a vegetable. Being a cruciferous vegetable, it has so many health benefiting compounds, you’d do well to eat cauliflower often.

It’s also nice to see it is so high in water. This is why, when trying to make Paleo pizza crusts or “breads” from cauliflower, you need to squeeze the water out of it after it has been cooked in order to actually make it into a substance that can be used for a pizza crust. Chopped cauliflower can be substituted for rice and it also makes an amazing smooth puree.

Watermelon        91.5%

This refreshing summertime treat needs to have another thought. At nearly 92% water, this robust melon supplies us with significant levels of Vitamins A and C and amino acids like lycopene which is a huge antioxidant.

The darker pink-red the flesh is, the higher the lycopene content. Researchers found that light/white fleshed watermelons contain very low levels if any lycopene at all. Why is lycopene important? It helps you deal with stress. It is anti-inflammatory, rehydrates and also provides  fiber.

Recent research shows watermelon is also high in the amino acid citrulline, which the body converts to another amino acid, arginine. These amino acids and their conversions are very helpful with blood circulation and cardiovascular health.

The down side of watermelon, however, is the sugar content. It is naturally high in sugar.



Spinach    91.4%

Your skin, hair and bones will thank you for eating spinach, raw or cooked. Spinach is high in vitamin K, & A, potassium and magnesium as well as many other powerful nutrients. It is considered a functional food because it is anti-inflammatory, and some say it can reduce the risk of cancer.



Star Fruit aka Carambola   91.4%

These amusing fruits are quite tasty and are a great visual interest at well.  When you cut these fruits the slices are star shaped. Carambola grow in subtropical climates. High in vitamins C and a host of other nutrients, this sweet/tart fruit will capture your taste buds. To make sure you don’t pucker into a severe fish face when you eat a slice, make sure the fruit is ripe. It will be yellow and the five ribs will have brown edges, not green. Green means it isn’t quite ready to eat yet. If you do, you’ll wish you waited. Do you remember those horrible super sour candies popular a while back? Sour, like that. It’s worth the wait for the brown edges. Trust me.

Strawberries                              91%

Please, please buy organic strawberries! Commercially grown berries have so many chemicals and they have no flavor.

Here’s the line-up: Vitamin C, folate, manganese and potassium and high in dietary fiber. These juicy, sweet fruits have great power to lower blood pressure and to lower your risk for certain cancers.





Broccoli                                          90.7%

Another highly beneficial vegetable, broccoli has the highest protein content of vegetables. Being a member of the cruciferous family, along with cabbage, kale and cauliflower, this is another extremely power packed vegetable.

While broccoli can be eaten raw, it supplies the best and most nutrients when it has been lightly steamed. Broccoli provides Vitamins C, K folate, dietary fiber and iron and potassium. Regular consumption of broccoli has proven to benefit blood circulation, heart health and the health of the eyes.

At 90% water, the protein found in broccoli is considered low, but it’s high when looking at protein in vegetables. 1 cup provides 3 grams of protein.

Grapefruit                                    90.5%

Ever since I was young I have heard about “The Grapefruit Diet.” As a hybrid member of the citrus family, grapefruit has long been touted for its ability to help drop the pounds by simply drinking a glass of grapefruit juice every day, several of them.

Grapefruit is also a tricky one in that it can react with so many medications. Before

you go off and start drinking grapefruit juice or scarfing down entire grapefruits, check with your doctor to see if there are any side affects you should know about.

Once you get the clear for consuming grapefruit, enjoy many colors. The darker red versions provide more lycopene and vitamin C.




Baby Carrots                90.4%

Baby carrots have more water than regular carrots. Why?

Because baby carrots are scraped into shape (shock, I know) and in order to keep them lovely and sharply orange for your viewing pleasure, they need to be in a bit of water.

If the scraped carrots were not in water, they would dry out and develop white patches on the outside of the carrot where the skin was scraped away. You’d never buy them. Marketers are clever.

SO the baby carrots are scraped into shapes and packaged in a bit of water to keep them “fresh” looking. Because of this, they also absorb some of that water thereby making them higher in water than regular carrots and making them attractive so you’ll buy them and cute so you’ll eat them.

Cantaloupe                   90.2%

High in antioxidants Vitamins A and C, in addition to vitamin K, potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber, this melon is a perennial hit.

A bowl of cantaloupe is only about 50 calories and at 90% water is sure to satisfy both a sweet tooth and part of your hydration needs. Here’s a Big Bonus: a single six-ounce serving of cantaloupe provides 100% of your daily Vitamin C and A requirement.

Did you know a cantaloupe will taste like it smells? Sniff the end where it was attached to the vine. Buy what smells good.


Healthy & Hydrated – The Workshop

Half day workshops can be held for groups of 6 or more. At each workshop, you will learn:

  • High hydrating foods, what they are, how to choose them
  • Recipe for using high hydration foods
  • Refreshing Beverages
    • How to wean off soda
    • Great alternatives
  • How the body uses water
  • Personalized Water Consumption calculations
    • How much should you drink?
    • How often?
    • What should I be drinking, when?

Lunch sampling of delicious recipes made with high hydrating foods.

This workshop can be demonstration with tasting sample


Hands on workshop with full lunch and beverage

Contact us for workshop availability, scheduling and pricing

E Mail: info@chefpamela.com
or Leave a voice mail at (706) 781-9375
We will return your call within 24 hours
Minimum workshop for a full class is 6 people.
Workshops can be held in private homes, clubhouses, churches, offices or other venues with counter and kitchen access.  We can assist with securing venue if needed.