This Popular Childhood Snack Is Secretly Hydrating

As a kid, many of us had our fair share of milk, cookies, animal crackers, and fruit snacks. We can't help but associate these sweet treats with childhood nostalgia, taking us back to simpler days of finger-painting, jumping rope, and riding bikes around the neighborhood until dusk. Many snack products tend to be packed with added sugar, especially those advertised toward kids. Other popular childhood snack items, however, have more nutritional value to offer us. This includes applesauce.

In 1 cup of unsweetened, canned applesauce without added vitamin C you'll find 181 milligrams (mg) of potassium, a little over 12 mg of phosphorus, 9.76 mg of calcium, over 7 mg of magnesium, and much more, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). All of this pales in comparison to applesauce's water content, however. One cup of applesauce contains 215 grams of water, making applesauce predominantly made up of H2O. For this reason, experts say this secretly hydrating snack can be a great way to maintain your fluid intake when you're feeling under the weather.

Applesauce can help replenish the body with fluids

Depending on what type of illness you're experiencing, you may be losing far more water than you realize. Mayo Clinic experts explain that severe cases of diarrhea can deplete water and electrolytes quite rapidly. Couple this with vomiting, such as in cases of food poisoning, and the body is leached of even more water and essential nutrients. Thankfully, applesauce can help replenish these lost fluids — plus, it's easy on the stomach if you're dealing with nausea or gastrointestinal discomfort.

This fruity snack may also help reduce one's risk of dehydration due to fever. As our body temperature climbs, the more susceptible we are to dehydration. This is particularly true if a high fever is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea. Applesauce, however, can be a great add-on in addition to drinking plenty of water. Megan Byrd of The Oregon Dietitian agrees, telling Eat This, Not That!, "Applesauce is a healthy hydration source when you're sick."

Some types of applesauce are healthier than others

Depending on the type of applesauce you choose to eat, there may be more health benefits to be gained from some brands over others. Applesauce products that are made with the apple peel intact tend to be higher in antioxidants and fiber content, according to Healthline. Both antioxidants and fiber are essential in supporting our overall health. Antioxidants are said to reduce one's risk for cancer, heart disease, and other health conditions caused by cell-damaging free radicals (per Medical News Today). Additionally, the consumption of fibrous foods reportedly boosts our heart and metabolic health (per National Institutes of Health).

Unfortunately, just like those animal crackers and fruit snacks we mentioned earlier, some brands of applesauce contain added sugar, which boosts its number of calories. In fact, sweetened applesauce products may contain as much as twice the amount of calories and sugar as unsweetened applesauce products. Despite the fact that their labels may be plastered with words like "all-natural" or "sugar-free," added sugars may still be hiding in your applesauce. Therefore, stick with brands that are specifically advertised as "unsweetened."