A living body is made up of 70% of water. An individual can survive for maximum up to 14 days without food but that is not the case with water. Water is very essential for every bodily function without which it is impossible for one to survive. Though it doesn’t carry any caloric and nutritional value, it is impossible for one to survive without water. This explains how vital water is for sustainment of life for every living being.
Ayurveda considers water as an important component of life sustaining material and explains in detail about the proper usage of water in order to keep oneself healthy. As the main motto of Ayurveda is to maintain the health of a healthy individual and also to cure the diseased one, water acts as an adjuvant in fulfilling this former motto of Ayurveda.
In this article you will know what Ayurveda and also the contemporary science advices regarding practices regarding water intake that one has to to follow in order to keep oneself healthy.
1. Why is Water an essential part of life?
Modern science: -
Water is a vital element that supports life in the following ways:
By maintaining the normal bodily volume
It maintains normal mucosal texture by retaining the moistness within the cells
Regulates growth, multiplication, functioning and natural death of cells
Plays a major role in balancing the electrolytes in the body
Aids digestion by being a constituent in saliva, mucus, enzymes and other secretions of the alimentary tract.
It regulates temperature by being a part of sweating.
Plays an important role in normal functioning of all the systems of the body namely: digestive system, excretory system, nervous system etc
Helps in formation of urine which eliminates metabolic wastes from the body.
Maintains proper texture of stools formed aiding proper evacuation.
It is a major composition of Kapha dosha which helps in growth of the body
Increases strength of the body
Provides stability and strength for all joints of the body.
Maintains normal texture of the skin in the form of kapha.
2. What is the required quantity of water per day?
Modern science: -
There are different opinions based on the quantity of water to be taken as per modern science.
Modern science roughly advices 1.5 litres to 2 litres of water per day.
The amount of water to be taken daily is also decided based on the body weight of the individual.
It also depends on the activity level of each individual and individual requirement per day.
Ayurveda advices intake of water only when one’s thrishna vega appears i.e when the person feels thirsty.
One should take sips of water repeatedly when thirsty instead of taking large volume of water at once to fulfil daily requirement.
3. What should be the temperature of drinking water?
Modern science: -
Temperature of the drinking water doesn’t carry any importance as per modern science. It usually depends on individual preferences and temperature of the surroundings.
Ayurveda describes the practice of intake of Sukhoshṇa jala or warm water as the best over the intake of cold water.
Warm water refers to Sukhoshṇa jala i.e that which can be consumed comfortably without burning oneself or in other words is should be Luke warm.
Drinking warm water had following advantages:
It improves digestion
Avoids fermentation of food consumed
Improves peristaltic movement of the gastro intestinal tract and prevent food stasis.
Corrects the disturbed gati or movement of vata i.e it promotes anuloma gati of vata.
4. What is the best time for drinking water while having food?
Ayurveda describes specific time for drinking water with respect to food.
When water is taken before food, it is said to help in weight reduction as it brings a feeling of early satiety.
When water is taken after food, it slows down the metabolism and increases kapha dosha causing increase in body weight.
When water is taken along with the food, it maintains the normalcy of the body and also regulates the normal weight of the body.
5. What happens when you drink too less or too much of water?
When you drink too less or inadequate amount of water i.e less than the required amount of water to fulfil your daily needs, it leads to:
Dehydration – Lips become dry, throat dries up, skin losses its normal texture and urine output decreases
Results in constipation due to reabsorption of water from bowels to compensate the fluid needs of the body.
It hampers the normal metabolic activities of the body by decreasing the production of enzymes.
Disturbs peristalsis by causing imbalance in the electrolyte levels of the body.
When you drink too much or excess water i.e more than the required amount of water to fulfil your daily needs, it leads to:
Fluid retention in the body
Swells up hands and legs
Impaired metabolism as a result of insufficient interaction of enzymes and food particles.
Can cause loose stools due to increased peristalsis
So, as it is said “Too much is too bad and too less is too sad”, it is always advisable to drink water as and when required.
Ayurveda also advocates the same and advices to take sufficient water depending on the bodily requirements.
Consultant at Ayurcentral, Bengaluru &
Asst.Prof at Sri Paripoora Sanathana Ayurveda Medical College Hospital and Research Centre