The do’s and don’ts of water consumption are endless. The medical, fitness, diet and nutrition experts are always doling out “expert” advice about how much it should be consumed daily, the type of water; whether it should be distilled, tap or spring, the proper temperature, to drink or not to drink fluids with meals and so on.
#1: One should drink as much water as he/she can
Fact: It is very important for life. Because it constitutes 55-60% of our body 92% of it plasma, 70% of Red blood cells. Secretion of various juices is also dependent on it as these are also of constitution.
· It regulates body temperature through sweating. Sweating also helps in excretion of various waste products.
· Urine has 97% watery in its composition and carries nitrogenous wastes out of the body.
Considering all these points this is a common belief that one should take as much as possible. Sufficient intake is also believed to prevent kidney stones.
However, the reality is some what different. Let’s discuss what happens when you take too much:
Excess intake heavily dilutes digestive juices, known as enzymes. Diluted digestive enzymes are not able to disintegrate the food properly; as a result food remains semi digested. This semi digested food is known as ‘Aama’ in Ayurveda. This undigested food stagnates in the gastro-intestinal tract and can lead to disease in the body. The diluted remains no longer contain the viable nutrients the body needs for proper assimilation and digestion. Therefore, it is impossible to assimilate the nutrients the body needs for healthy functioning. Lack of nutrition, from unassimilated food, leaves the body craving essential nutrients and this comes in the form of hunger. However, the digestive system not working at its full potential, results again in under nutrition and more hunger. A vicious cycle starts within the body. Although the person is feeling hungry and eating well, the body is not getting proper nutrition, because of a disturbance in digestion and assimilation.
All this leads to deposition of semi digested food i.e. ‘Aama’ inside the body and the result is excessive weight gain, gastro-intestinal upset, bloating and rheumatic conditions, among other things.
Besides this, it has to undergo digestion and assimilation before becoming the part of the body. As there is a great difference between that present outside the body and that making plasma, red blood cells, secretions and other liquid components of body. This excessive use besides causing impaired digestion itself remains undigested and further enhances the production of ‘Aama’.
The wisdom of Ayurveda teaches us several things about proper consumption:
- Avoid taking excess of.
- Take warm water as much as possible, this will keep healthy digestive enzymes intact and maintains an adequately working digestive system.
- Don’t drink if you are not feeling thirsty.
#2: Don’t drink while eating the meal
Although excessive consumption with meals can dilute digestive juices, small amounts are suitable to initiate proper churning of the food with digestive juices. For example, into to grind some thing into a paste and break it up, it is always good to add some liquid for better grinding.
It makes the food substance liquid and facilitates and encourages the job of digestive juices. It increases the exposed surface area of food and on an increased surface area digestive juice can act with more ease. So we should drink while eating but not in excess, only few sips are best suited for ultimate digestion. In addition, it should not be taken immediately before meals as it will swell the stomach making its movements sluggish and digestion and assimilation will be impaired.
Meals should also not be followed by water intake as it will increase work load on the digestive system and will result in production of “Aama” and complications related to it.
#3: Mineralized is better than the naturally available for drinking purpose
There is new trend going on in the market allowing large company’s to make millions in the business of mineral aqua. What exactly is this mineralized one? This is simply taking naturally available and adding minerals to it. Now the question is “what is the use of these minerals?” They are saying this is providing essential minerals to body. Does it happen?
Our digestive system is designed in such a way that it assimilates the minerals already available naturally. It is a true symbiotic relationship. Excess minerals can not be utilized and in fact, make for an unnatural imbalance since these excess minerals get deposited in side the body causing intoxication. So it is a wise decision to prefer naturally available over mineralized artificially.
#4: Icy and refrigerated is good for your health
When we stay in too cold an environment for long periods of time a condition known as frost bite manifest where the body parts burn due to the cold exposure. The reason for this is that blood vessels spasm and the blood supply becomes inadequate to the areas of the body exposed to cold temperatures.
In contrast, the same situation happens within the lining of our digestive tract when we drink chilled. The digestive system has to normalize the temperature. The result is the corrosion or cold burning of the digestive system resulting in ulcer formation and producing burning sensations. In response to the burning pain and symptoms we drink more chilled or cold water trying to reduce the fire in the abdomen and alleviate the burning sensation. This practice only creates more of a problem inside the stomach, as the acid burning and ulcers become out of control. Besides this food article are not digested and assimilated properly.
So we should always consume it on room temperature over chilled one.
#5: It is absorbed in the intestines with out the involvement of digestive secretions
It is a common belief that it is absorbed from the intestine in the same form it is taken in through the mouth. But there is a great difference between that outside the body and the one present inside the body in the form of various secretions, intracellular fluids and other liquid components of the body and water has to come in the form, to which the body is familiar. This is not possible with out the involvement of digestive secretions. All this happens through digestion. The beginning stages of digestion begin in the mouth and goes on until the urine is excreted out of the body. Ayurveda has described a lot about every aspect of diet. So we should be known to the facts. Ignorance cannot be helpful in any way!