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Water tales: Myths ,Dos and Don’t s!

Everyday we get hit by many random health advises by various sources.

\”Start your day with  500ml of water early in the morning empty stomoch. Regularly drink hot water and lemon honey to reduce weight. Drink 3/5 litres of water in your 12 hour day.Oh the beauty secret is lots of water to flush out the internal toxins!

These are some of the tips we always encounter in any beauty magzine or talks or celebrity bytes.

\”Is it Okay if I drink water empty stomach ? Shall I drink water even if I m not thirsty. Shall I drink water in between the meals ,before or after my meal?\” These are some of the very common questions patients or readers come along.

Lets see what Ayurveda has mentioned about water consumption.

  • Thirst is the basic natural urge which should never be neglected.Ayurveda describes 13 non suppressible urges as urinating, defecating,flatulence,yawning, burp,sneezing ,ejaculating, vomiting,hunger ,thirst,tears, coughing and sleep. So it is crystal clear that one should not hold the thirst. When thirsty, one must drink water. If one has habit to hold the thirst often it is unhealthy.
  • Suppression of thirst often results in fatigue, restlessness, less concentration,dry itchy throat and interestingly it affects the sense organ ear too. It clearly signifies the importance of balanced Panch Mahabhuta and health of the sense organs.
  • The same you are not supposed to force or deliberately generate these urges. Any of above urge when not necessary is full filled  always create a  trouble. Without proper hunger do not eat. Do not forcibly cough, sneeze , ejaculate ,vomit,urinate or defecate. Frequent habits of doing so have long list of resulting diseases described in Ayurveda.
  • If without thirst one has habit to drink the water regularly, this water in stead of favour can probably cause harm. Water does need efforts to get digested. Nutritionists do not consider water in digestion and its nutritive value is zero according to them. But everything that goes in stomach passes through the course of digestion assimilation and excretion.Our digestive system is not a toilet system so don’t expect this water to cleanse or flush the system. Flushing toxins, impurities with drinking large amount of water is a myth.In fact there are some research articles being put forward the harms of over hydrating the body. Less is bad so do more and unnecessary.

Over hydrating may cause  poor appetite, weakened digestion, loss of appetite,indigestion, frequent trips to toilets with ill formed foul smell poop. It impairs the Agni (Digestive fire) and we all know ‘sarve api roga mandagne’ (every disease has its root in weak, less effective Agni/digestive fire. We all know oil/kerosene/petrol can increase the fire but if we put a can of oil on a small lit fire , what will happen? Yes the fire ll cease to complete.The same happens when we load our stomach with extra water or food.

What is untimely water drinking :

When you are hungry: You need food not water. So eat food first and do not extinguish the digestive fire.I have seen ill-logical trends in my patients and readers who used to drink water just before meal to loose the weight. At what cost but? At the cost of impairing their metabolism? This is not natural. First kill your hunger, keep self away from nutrition and then loose weight. Your body is wiser than the diet fads or trends. There is a noble purpose behind the secretion of hydrochloric acid periodically to the various digestive hormones in harmony. Do not mess with the symphony. Feed the fire with fuel and not blow it. By doing so you are keeping yourself away from nutrition and lowering your immunity too.

When you finish meal: Do not drink lots of water immediately after the meal. Many of us must have saying WHAT??? while reading this line. Because for many years now many had did the same. Finish the meal and then bottoms up in one go. Your meal is being mixed with the acid and is getting churned. A bolus of sudden flow of water may disrupt the process. Making the food diluted and liquid and it will be passed forward in small intestine without completing the first stage of digestion.

The ideal way to drink water is in small small sips in between the meal. It will make the food softer and pass well in the stomoch. It helps taste buds active by frequent cleaning of tongue. The frequent addition of small sips will evenly get mixed with food in stomoch making it soft and churnable. Imagine how we knead the flour for bread or chapatis. Do we just pour all the water at the start or end? We pour it through out the process in small quantity as required. We stop pouring it once it is done and we apply little oil or ghee to make it soft non sticky. The same in ancinet theory butter milk is advised at the end of meal.

  •  You should not drink the water immediatly after coming in from hot temperature. The difference in water temperature and your body temperature should be normalised.In stead you should wash your face with water take some moments off and then drink the water.
  • Quantity of water intake: This is always a question with various conclusion. Your urges are wise enough to take care of that. Pay attention to it. Do not drink the water just to complete the suggested litres or millilitres. Your kidneys will send the toll for increasing their GFR( Glomerular filtertaion Rate) I have seen many cases of worsened digestion in people who were drinking excess water to overcome the constipation.No, constipation  remain there grinning.
  • Lukewarm water is any time best whenever possible.Ice cold water is again No though many gym goers and fitness experts suggest it for caloric burning and weight reduction. Now we know why. Here in America I can see almost all people drinking ice cold water as regular water.I haven’t seen the cases but even if consider that they don’t get harm by this the explanation will be immune routine. The cold weather to which their body is used to. Need to review more though.

Above article is a honest try to put forward the Ayurveda theories regarding drinking water in general conditions and healthy persons in day to day life. The diseases demand customization which further Ayurveda does and considers in every vyadhi as Pathya and Apathya.

In Ajirna (sever acute indigestion) warm water with saidhva is the medicine. In virechana therapy if the loose motions do not stop cold water is the medicine and warm water can further worsen the motions. One of the many reasons of Atisar (dysentry) is excess water consumption and indigestion  of it, is mentioned as the reason. If you make the patient drink lots of water without inspecting the signs of dehydration the water will play curse for him/her. When there is need to hydrate water is blessing.

There must be many theories and calculated dose of water consumption according to different sources. If we know the above basic general guideline one can easily apply them for their favour.

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Dr.Rupali Panse 

Tallahassee, Florida,USA

Ph numbers: +919623448798 ,+16462097670

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5 thoughts on “Water tales: Myths ,Dos and Don’t s!”

  1. Namaskar Rupali ji. Hope Florida has suited you well 🙂 .

    For those who are in AC most of the time, the urge for drinking water is diminished by the regulated temperature. Some nutritionists suggest having frequent sips of water in such case.

    What do you recommend as per Ayurveda in such case?

  2. I am doing good. Thanks for asking. for those who constantly work or remain in cold maintained temp.Drinking warm water is good solution. Also there is need to sip on water frequently. In these cases its less drinking water but low sweating is the thing one should think of.

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