Water is our lifeline. Our body is 75% water. But Ayurveda says that too much of anything is prohibited. Even Amrit (elixir) becomes poison when consumed in excess. Likewise, Ayurveda recommends the use of water in moderation. And you might be surprised to hear that you do not need to drink 3-4 liters of water every day!
~~How Much to Drink~~
There is no thumb rule for the amount of water that you should consume every day. Ayurveda says that you are unique, your daily routine, your food, and your environment is unique. So, the amount of water that you need is also unique.
For example, if you have a very dry diet with lots of bread and non-fibrous food, then the amount of water that you need will be more. But you are doing a fruit fast with lots of juicy seasonal fruit, you will do great even without drinking any water at all!
So, the best way to ascertain the appropriate amount of drinking water that you need every day is - to listen to your body. Do not drink water when you do not feel thirsty and NEVER ignore natural thirst, drink water immediately.
~~When to Drink Water~~
The best time to drink water is when you are thirsty. However, you may drink water in between the meals.
According to Acharya Charak, the ancient Ayurveda seer, you should fill 1/3rd of your stomach with food, 1/3rd with water, and leave the 1/3rd for air. This proportion of ingested material helps in easy movement of the stomach and leads to better digestion.
Drinking water in the middle of the meals helps in the following ways:
• It helps digestive juice to dilute and mix well with the food.
• It helps to soften the food and prevents hard food from hurting the soft stomach lining.
• It helps to prevent overheating or irritation of the stomach lining due to extra spicy food.
• A small amount of water helps to maintain the optimal temperature for digestion
~~When Not to Drink Water~~
1. You must never drink water immediately before a meal. Ayurveda says that such a drink is as good as poison.
Here is why –
• According to Ayurveda, even water is digested. The digestive juices work on the water to remove pathogens, undesirable mineral content, etc.
• This water might dilute your digestive juices even before they start their work on the real food.
• This water may also lower the optimal temperature required for digestion. When we drink water along with the food, its coolness is balanced against the heat of digestion.
• Also, drinking water when hungry leads to Vata imbalance and may lead to bloating, indigestion, stomach ache, or constipation.