We drink water every single day. Sometimes in its simplest form but often we consume it through energy drinks, juices and the cups of coffee that wake us up in the morning. Water is everywhere and we’re told to drink eight glasses a day in order to stay healthy. But do we eat water every day? The answer is a resounding yes. Different foods contain different amounts of water. Not to mention the litres of water it takes to actually manufacture food.

 

Water in fruit and vegetables

It should come as no surprise that most of the vegetables we eat contain large amounts of the H2O liquid. After all, what comes out of a watermelon or tomato when you bite into them, and why is home-made salsa so watery?

 

According to Berkley Wellness, cucumbers consist of 96 percent water, while celery has 95 percent and watermelon is 92 percent. Moving away from fruit and veg, eggs are 75 percent water while yoghurt is 85 percent. Eating a salad each day already gives you a good portion of your water intake.

 

There are benefits to consuming food with higher amounts of water. According to Live Strong, foods with higher water percentages (and added fibre) tend to add more bulk without the addition of calories. This leads to you eating a satisfying amount of food without having to worry about gaining additional weight. Water-rich foods have the added benefit of supplying the human body with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and natural sugars. It is why fruit and vegetable based diets are recommended when trying to lose weight.

 

Some state that humans should rather look at eating more water than actually drinking it. Associate clinic professor of medicine at the University of California, Dr Howard Murad, says that “Healthy hydration is about the water you hold in the body, not the water you drink that passes straight through.”

 

Drinking too much water is bad for the human body as it leads to overhydration. This, in turn, leaves your body feeling swollen and sluggish while minimising your sodium (salt) levels. Consuming too much water and having your sodium levels drop rapidly can result in a stay in the hospital.

 

Water content in meat

Much like the human body, animal meat contains a high amount of water, but not on the same scale as fruit or vegetables. Chicken, for example, is 66 percent water, while ground beef can contain up to 64 percent. This is a large reason why meat reduces in size when it is cooked, as it loses a lot of water during the heating process. The earlier mentioned ground beef can lose four percent, while a beef brisket can lose up to 15 percent.

 

The natural water in meat products is a reason why frozen and thawed meat will never quite be the same as a fresh cut. During the freezing process, the water expands, which ruptures cells. When the meat is unfrozen, the water (which contains a number of juices) seeps out of the meat and into the packaging. In general, butcheries and supermarkets will flash freeze meat products, which helps to alleviate the loss in quality and taste.

 

When it comes to the amount of water in meat, the standards tend to differ depending on the country. In 2013, The Guardian reported that supermarkets in the UK were selling chicken with nearly a fifth water level. At the time, this means consumers were paying 65p for a kilogram of water. Dutch authorities stated that the practice was illegal.

 

The amount of water it takes to produce food

Of course, water is required in order to actually grow and cultivate different foods for human consumption. This not only varies between the fruit, vegetables, and livestock sectors, but the types of animals and plants.

 

Water Education states that a tablespoon of white sugar needs seven gallons of water to produce, while an ounce of white rice needs 25 gallons. Bear in mind that these are grown in and around large bodies of water.

 

Land-based plants also require large amounts of water for production. For instance, 2.7 ounces of broccoli needs 11 gallons of water, a cup of lettuce is three gallons, and an ounce of almonds is 80 gallons. There are water-based engineering companies, such as ProxaWater, that work with different sectors in order to reduce the amount of water they consume.

 

Cultivating livestock for processing requires an exceptional amount of water. Creating a pound of beef for consumers requires 518 gallons of water with sheep leading the way at 1248 gallons per pound.

 

There are ways to facilitate the need for fresh and clean water for agriculture. One method is the implementation of desalination plants, which will ‘clean’ seawater for consumption. Another is recycling, which would eliminate how much water is used overall.

About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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