Every living creature on this earth needs water to live. Irrespective of the fact whether the body is healthy or sick, water is the lifeline to all creatures, humans are no exception. Anyone can live without food for many days but life will be impossible in the absence of water. According to yogic science water consumed in appropriate quantity works wonder to the body- here lies the importance of water in the human body. On the contrary, if the quantity of water is excessive then this lifeline can be as harmful as a toxin.
Through the mechanism of thirst, the body tells you when it requires water. Ideally, one should drink water only when one feels thirsty and furthermore, drink only that much water essential to quench your thirst. A note of caution: drink water slowly in sips don’t just gulp down in one shot. This is because a dry mouth gives the sensation of thirst. Hence, if you toss down water quickly, in actual you are drinking more than what is required to assuage the thirst.
Importance of Water In Human Body and Misconception with water
Usually, people tend to believe that drinking more and more water is good for the body. But keep this in mind that excess water can impair your digestive system. Ayurveda says, just as food needs to be digested, so does water. Hunger and thirst are natural urges which guide us to eat and drink. One should note this and consume food and water accordingly.
Drinking water in excess quantity can lead to aggravation of Kapha and pitta. Surplus water intake leads to increased undigested food residue (ama-toxins) in the body. This results in bloating, heaviness in the body, loss of appetite, nausea, sinusitis etc.
Some special note regarding intake of water:
- Persons who are debilitated due to illness should not drink unboiled water as this can vitiate all three bio-energic forces.
- People suffering from poor digestion, the low digestive fire (loss of appetite) should not drink much water
- People suffering from IBS, Tuberculosis, anemia should also drink less water. If thirsty then only should drink a small quantity of water which has been appropriately supplemented as per the ailments
- Even healthy people must consume less water except in the months of summer and autumn
Water In the Context of Food
Fire is doused by water. A similar effect is seen in the digestive fire-main element associated with food digestion. Hence one should not drink water immediately before the meal. Even drinking water immediately after meals leads to an aggravation of Kapha in the upper part of the stomach intensifying Kapha related diseases. Sipping water during a meal is nourishing to the body, and the bio-energic forces, as well as the tissues, stay in a balanced state. We have seen that sometimes people do not drink water whilst eating-this makes the food dry and hampers proper digestion. This act eventually leads to burning in the stomach, constipation, etc. Yogic science recommends the sipping of water around half a glass with meals.
Now you can ask how much water should one drink in a day?
Well, this varies from person to person.
One should consider the following factors like innate Prakriti, age, profession, season, etc.
- If one is trying hard to maintain their body weight should take sips of warm water with a meal.
- Persons suffering from ailments like cough, cold, should not drink water immediately after food.- its best to sip warm water after half an hour of eating.
Let us discuss the Properties of Boiled Water
- Water reduced by boiling is easy to digest. It ignites the digestive fire, helps in proper digestion of foods and helps clean the urinary tract.
- Boiling softens hard water and purifies by destroying the microbes.
- Hard water should be reduced to half by boiling
- Soft water is usually reduced to 3/4 quantity by boiling before using
- Boiled water is very beneficial in bloating, hiccups, Vata Kapha aggravation, cough & cold, excess body fat, etc
- Note: Whilst boiling water never cover the utensil, else the water becomes heavy to digest.
Let us discuss the Properties of Cold Water
Many of us like to drink a glass of water out from the freezer in the summer or after a tiring day at work. Even the sight of chilled water refreshes us in hot summer days. But you need to note down the effect of cold water on the body:
- Cold water is not good for the immune system.
- Cold water constricts the digestive tract and hampers the digestion process. This is due to the fact that the digestive enzymes work best at a temp of 37-42 degree Celsius
- If you drink cold water body uses energy to warm up the liquid instead of using it to digest the food.
- The body is not able to flush out the toxins from the body. This is the root cause of many ailments.
How to quench the thirst in the summer?
From time immemorial people were using water stored in mud pots. Water from earthen pots is best to refresh a tired body and mind.
Intake of Water as per Seasons
- Summer: Drink water stored in earthen pots. You can add khus to make it cooler. Peppermint essential oil a drop in a glass is good. Drinking coconut water or pannah (made by boiling raw mango) is also a good option
- Winter: Drink warm water.
- Spring: Drink water with ginger and honey. (do not add honey to hot water)
- Monsoon: Drink lukewarm boiled water
So, we can conclude the importance of water in the human body is applicable -If you are drinking the appropriate quantity of water in the appropriate time then you can keep away from many illnesses.
Frequently asked questions in the context of water
Q)Drinking Coconut Water is good or Bad?
Ans: Here we generally refer to the water of the green coconuts. Definitely, it has many advantages like
1. It is a delicious natural beverage with nutrition and with minimum calories. If you are fed up drinking plain water definitely try coconut water (fresh one). A great source of Hydration.
2. Health promoting powers-good for heart, blood pressure, kidney, and blood sugar levels. Since coconut water contains potassium don’t drink this in excess. Particularly persons with heart problems and kidney problems.
Q) Taking fruits always -Is drinking water necessary?
Ans: It is recommended to take water 20 to 30 minutes after eating fruits. Usually drinking water immediately after fruits, impairs the digestive system so the process of digestion slows down. The ph level of the stomach (acidic) is altered by water so digestive fire goes down. If proper digestion is not there, then nutrients are not absorbed properly leading to toxin creation. This ultimately results in illness.
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