Drinking Water as per Ayurveda: Water is an essential part of life and it is directly correlated with it. Life began on earth solely because of water and it covers 71% of the earth’s area. Water in the body ensures the hydration level of tissues to function properly as well as bones, blood, and organs depend on sufficient hydration. Plants require water in the process of photosynthesis.
In Ayurveda, the concept of “Panchamahabhutas” is explained which basic fundamental elements of the universe, and our body is also made up of these Mahabhutas. Water is one of the five basic elements of Mahabhutas. Ayurveda has largely emphasized the importance of Water in day-to-day life.
Acharya Vagabhata quoted that water is the life of all living beings on the earth and a major part of earth contains water. Water owns properties like Sheeta (cool), Mrishta (sweet), Shuchi (pure), Laghu (light), Anidreshya Rasa (tasteless), Amrita (nectar), Jivana (life), and Tarpana (nourishes body).
In fact, one of the most interesting facts about our body is that it is made up of sixty percent water. Water plays a crucial role in the functioning and survival of the body. Food (Ahara) and water (Paana) should be taken in a balanced quantity to maintain health and survival. Drinking water as per Ayurveda also increases the healing power of the body.
Deep well water is considered the best water among all the territorial waters being rich with rejuvenating properties hence being called “Rasayana”. The purest form of water is said to be rainwater which is also called Aindra Jala. Acharya Sushruta has mentioned that the Aindra Jala is rainwater collected in a vessel before it comes in contact with the soil. Aindra Jala is the best among all types of Jala and is supposedly consumed by the kings.
Recent studies have also shown that storing the drinking water in copper pots kills the contamination which may lead to stomach disturbance. Ayurveda from thousand years has put this into consideration to store the water in copper or clay pot to keep the water cool and rich with qualities. Even now if you drink a glass of water from the fridge and a glass of water from a clay pot, you’ll find the clay pot’s water to be more sweet, cold, and refreshing.
The aspect of Drinking Water as per Ayurveda:
Ayurveda states to drink water at normal room temperature or lukewarm but not to drink cold water. The science behind that is the cold water when we drink can affect digestion on some scale and has been shown to thicken the mucus making it difficult to pass through the respiratory tract.
If a person is suffering from certain disorders like Pandu (anemia), Alpagni (reduced digestive power), Atisara (diarrhea), Grahani (irritable bowel syndrome), Gulma (lump), and Shotha (inflammation) is recommended to consume less amount of water.
“In Ayurveda, it is quoted that except for the seasons of Sharada (autumn) and Grishma (summer) even the person who is healthy should drink water in the required amount.”
Water is advised to be consumed while sitting instead of standing because in that way water is distributed and absorbed evenly. It should also be considered to not gulp down water in one go but drink-through sips as that help in preventing the dilution of the digestive fluids in the stomach. You should drink water when you feel thirsty; drinking in excess or not drinking both has a bad effect on health.
Consumption of Water with Food:
आदि मध्यावसानेषु भोजने पयसा युते । काश्यं साम्यं तथा स्थौल्यमिति स्युः क्रमशो गुणाः ॥
Ayurveda says if the water is consumed before a meal, it leads to weakness in the body. If water is consumed after a meal, it can cause overweight. And if the water is taken in between the meal in a small amount then it has a balancing effect on the body. The science behind this is simple; if you drink water before a meal you won’t be able to eat food in good quantity and if you drink water after consuming food you’ll gain more weight as the quantity of food will be more.
One more interesting concept is explained in Ayurveda which says, if you divide your stomach into four equal parts, two parts should be kept for the food you eat, one part should be kept for the water that you drink and one part should be kept empty. If you think about this statement, it is simple logic to not overfill the stomach with food and water as it would lead to the overload of food and the body will be unable to digest the food properly.
आदौ द्रवं समश्नीयासम्राग्नु न पिबेहुहु। मध्ये तु कठिने भचये यथेष्ट शस्यते जलम् ॥
Here it is said that if you consume water-rich food then you don’t need to drink a large amount of water around the meal as the requirement of hydration is filled by the food. However, if you consume food that is difficult to digest, drinking water as per Ayurveda in a good amount is beneficial.
One should consume water that is clean, stored in glasses of Suvarna (gold), Rajata (silver), Tamra (copper), Kaansya (bronze), and Bhauma (mud). Food will not be properly digested by drinking water in larger quantity and the same issue occurs when the water is consumed in lesser quantity. So it is advised to consume water in smaller quantities at regular intervals to support proper digestion.
Benefits of Drinking Water as per Ayurveda:
Drinking water as per Ayurveda can work as the elixir of life. A few of the benefits of the water can be listed below:
- Drinking a good amount of water makes you energetic throughout the day.
- It helps you detox and remove the waste products through urine.
- Keeping self-hydrated improves skin complexion and also helps in preventing wrinkles.
- Since water tends to flush out all the toxins from the body, it is widely known to improve immunity in the body too.
- Headaches often are the reason for less water intake, so keeping yourself properly hydrated can keep migraines at bay by drinking water as per Ayurveda.
- Water if taken in sufficient amount can improve digestion, even managing constipation.
Prakruti of a person is also important in deciding how much water he or she may drink. A person of Pitta Prakruti will feel thirsty soon so will drink water in excess amount whereas a person of Kapha Prakruti will not feel thirsty in excess so consumption of water will be less. End of the day, a man can survive without food for three weeks but without water can only survive for three to four days. So, drinking water as per Ayruveda can work as elixir for the body.
Nowadays people drink excess water without any reason. On the recommendation of some dietitians, physicians, and sometimes without even advice, some people tend to drink water in excess amounts exceeding up to 4-5 liters too thinking that would detoxify their body, help them reduce weight, and keep them hydrated.
You need to understand that every individual requires a different amount of water daily as per the body’s requirement, Prakruti of that person, and the seasons. If someone is working out or is under the sun for an overlong period will require water intake in a large amount.
On the other hand, if someone sits the majority of the day under A.C. and performs less physical work would require less amount of water. Drinking water as per Ayurveda differentiates the properties of hot water and cold water having separate benefits as per Prakruti of an individual. Then how can we advise just a fixed amount of water for every individual?
Your body on its own tells the requirement of water in ways where you’ll feel thirsty. You should listen to your own body. Not many people know if water is consumed in large amounts, it can cause harm to kidneys leading to kidney stones and chronic kidney disease. Your kidneys can’t get rid of the excess water and the sodium level in your blood becomes diluted which can be life-threatening.
If excess water is consumed for the sole purpose of just drinking, it will be of no use. You’ll just be putting water in the body from one end and flushing it out from another end without any benefit. In daily routine, 2 to 3 liters of water is sufficient to be consumed and should only be taken when the body genuinely required hydration.
Water has been proved essential for sustaining life as everyone requires water be it single cell or multi-cellular organs. Ayurveda majorly focuses on proper utilization of water according to its properties, season, time, quantity, condition of disease, and the patient, etc. Life can’t be sustained without water anywhere, so for healthy living proper water should be consumed as advised in Ayurveda.