Hydration for a Heat Wave

As usual the weather forecast is filled with tales of heat down south. Here, it was 12 degrees, poured with rain and blew a gale as I wrote this but only a little while ago my plants were all wilting in a mini heat-wave. That’s British weather for you and one of the reasons why the standard ‘drink 2 litres of water a day’ message (invented by the sports’ drinks industry and not based on any science) is rubbish. The amount you need to drink depends on many factors including your physical activity and – what you eat.


Drinking more in hot weather is helpful of course

– that is, water and herbal teas rather than coffee, tea, alcohol or fizzy drinks.

But you can also hydrate your body with wet food.

Dry food (like sandwiches and crisps) plus a drink don’t keep the water in your system as well as wet food.

Many raw vegetables have very high water content, up in the 90%s.

They also contain cellulose, a fibre that we can’t digest. This helps to hold the water for longer, like a sponge. Sticks of raw veg plus some meat, fish or cheese make a great packed lunch.


  • Cucumber 95-97%
  • Lettuce 96%
  • Celery 95%
  • Courgette 95%
  • Cabbage 93%
  • Cauliflower 92%
  • Alfalfa sprouts 90%
  • Carrots 88%

Most fruit is very sweet so you don’t want to gorge on that. The best is probably water melon at 95% water and extremely refreshing. For comparison, apples are about 85% and oranges about 70% water, both with much more sugar.

Soup is brilliant with blended soups having a greater effect than soups with pieces in a watery broth. When the weather is hot you can eat soup cold.

Here’s a link to 16 chilled soup recipes. I’ve made lettuce soup before and it’s delicious, but not had it cold.

And of course there’s vichyssoise

Here’s the BBC recipe from Vanessa Redgreave

Top tip – Eat some wet food!