In this article:
The human body needs water to maintain several body functions. Water is a part of many vital components such as blood, lymph, and even cells.
On average, 60% of the total body weight (42 L) of a 70-kg adult comes from water. (1) Infants contain more water percentage (75%) as compared to adults (50%–60%).
The total water content in the body is divided into: (2)
- Intracellular fluid volume – water within cells and is 40% of the total body weight
- Extracellular fluid volume – in the form of blood and plasma, comprising 20% of the total body weight
Why Is Maintaining Body Water Percentage Important?
- Regulating internal body temperature
- Strengthening muscle
- Moisturizing the skin
- Transporting nutrients in the body
- Removing waste products (from digestion) from the body
Maintaining an ideal body water percentage is important to keep body functions working in a healthy manner. The above roles water plays suggest that a drop in body water percentage will therefore cause health consequences that can result in damage to the body and overall poor health.
Increase Your Body Water Percentage
Fortunately, it is really easy to maintain body water percentage, especially for a healthy individual. These are some things you can do.
1. Eat raw fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are rich in water and can be great sources of hydration for the body.
A study done on schoolchildren found that eating fruits and vegetables contributes to 12% of the total water intake. (4)
2. Consume electrolyte drinks
Electrolyte drinks such as sports drinks are great sources of hydration. The electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, in electrolyte drinks help in retaining water in the body better than plain water.
Studies have also found that the carbohydrates (such as sugar) in electrolyte drinks increase the body’s hydration. (6)
Just 1–2 servings of an electrolyte drink each day should be enough to keep you well hydrated.
3. Replenish lost water
The body normally loses water through sweat, but this is often replaced with the water you drink. However, fluid losses such as in vomiting, diarrhea, or superficial burns need to be replaced to avoid complications. (7)
This can be done by drinking plain water, consuming electrolyte drinks, or consuming fruits or vegetables.
4. Drink infused water
Drinking plain water is the easiest way to increase body water percentage. Keep a bottle close to you and take sips as you go about your day.
However, if drinking plain water bores you or you do not find the taste of plain water appealing, you can make use of infused water, sugar-free iced teas, and fresh fruit juices (without sugar) to aid in hydration.
Making infused water is very simple and elevates the look and taste of your drink. Some ingredient combinations you can try are:
- Cucumber, mint, and lemon
- Berries and lemon
- Apple and cinnamon
5. Stay away from drinks that contain sugar
Avoid drinking high-sugar beverages such as commercial fruit juices, soft drinks, and caffeinated beverages.
High-sugar beverages do not aid hydration at all. In fact, studies have found that drinking sugary beverages when thirsty in an attempt to rehydrate increases long-term dehydration and can also lead to kidney injury. (8)
Another side effect is their ability to increase the risk of weight gain and type 2 diabetes. (9)
What Happens If I Drink Excessive Amounts of Water?
The body is capable of maintaining its water levels on its own. Excess water is removed from the body via urine in healthy people.
However, in people with kidney diseases (except if you are on dialysis), due to impaired kidney function, this filtration process may not work efficiently and the body may retain fluids. (10)
If you or a loved one is suffering from kidney disease, it is important to consult a dietitian to identify daily fluid intake as it varies from patient to patient.
- Water is essential to maintaining critical bodily functions such as transporting nutrients, maintaining muscle tone, keeping joints lubricated, and removing waste products.
- Maintaining body water percentage is easy.
- Some ways of maintaining a proper body water percentage include eating fruits and vegetables, drinking electrolyte drinks, and drinking plain or infused water.
- Avoid high-sugar drinks as they may increase body weight and offer little nutritional benefit.