Learning the percentage of water in fruits and vegetables may be more important than satisfying mere curiosity. It turns out that water from the food you eat is more than a minor consideration. Food actually provides 20 percent of your recommended daily intake of water, according to the Institute of Medicine. Besides their many nutritional benefits, another good reason to eat your daily fruits and vegetables is to get their high percentage of water.
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Water in Fruits
If you’ve ever enjoyed a wedge of fresh watermelon, you’re familiar with its refreshing juiciness, which is due to its water content. Watermelons, as well as strawberries, are 92 percent water. Cantaloupe and grapefruit are two more fruits in the same range, with 90 percent and 91 percent water, respectively. A large selection of favorite fruits contains 85 percent to 87 percent water. Raspberries, pineapple, plums, peaches, oranges, cranberries, apricots and blueberries are all found in this group. Other fruits that have slightly less water -- in the range of 81 percent to 84 percent -- include apples, cherries, grapes and pears. Seventy-four percent of a banana consists of water.
Water in Vegetables
A variety of vegetables have a water composition above 90 percent. Cucumbers and iceberg lettuce contain the highest amount because they’re 96 percent water. Ninety-four percent to 95 percent of celery, tomatoes and zucchini consists of water. You can choose from broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet peppers and spinach for vegetables composed of 91 percent to 93 percent water. Carrots are rated as having 87 percent, while green peas are 79 percent water.
Benefit of High Water Percentage
In addition to replenishing your body’s fluids, the water in fruits and vegetables contributes one of two factors that make them such good choices for weight management. Water and fiber add bulk, yet don’t contain calories. A higher percentage of both results in foods with fewer calories per portion. In other words, you won’t consume too many calories when you eat a normal -- and filling -- portion. The ability to actually eat a satisfying amount of healthy food while losing weight, versus limiting portions to restrict calories, facilitates weight loss. Foods that have fewer calories per gram are called low-energy-dense foods.
Daily Water Recommendations
About 60 percent to 65 percent of your total body weight comes from water. Electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, must dissolve in water before they can trigger muscle contractions and nerve impulses. Water helps regulate body temperature, protects your brain, cushions joints, transports nutrients and impacts blood volume. Losing just 2 percent to 4 percent of body water reduces muscular strength and endurance, according to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The amount of water you need to consume changes depending on your activity level, the temperature and whether you’re losing excess water through sweat or urine. Under normal circumstances, women need 2.7 liters, and men should consume 3.7 liters of water daily. This recommended intake includes the water you get from foods.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes – Electrolytes and Water
- University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service: Water Content of Fruits and Vegetables
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Low Energy Dense Foods and Weight Management: Cutting Calories While Controlling Hunger
- Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: Fluids
- Merck Manual Home Health Handbook: About Body Water
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Can Eating Fruits and Vegetables Help People to Manage Their Weight?