Ayurveda Says Drink Water When Thirsty


Accordingly to Ayurveda you must drink water whenever you are thirsty and a fixed schedule is not necessary. Do you consciously drink 2-3 litres of water per day? Going by what we read online isn’t that what we are supposed to do? When I was told to drink plenty of water as part of my general diet (not specifically for any health problem) I read extensively online about the subject. And then I asked Ayurvedic doctors the right time to drink water. And you will be surprised with the answer – “Drink water whenever you are thirsty.”

What is the right time to drink water?

Many others (non-ayurvedics, if you permit the terminology) have given helpful tips on the right time to drink water, for example:

  • A glass as soon as you wake in the morning,
  • A glass of water half an hour before meals,
  • A glass of water just before bathing,
  • A glass 30 minutes before lunch,
  • A glass before sleeping at night.

These are just 5 that I have listed. There are many more suggestions about what is the right time to drink water.

Where are we going wrong?

Why is there an apparent contradiction in what most people say and what Ayurveda says? It’s really simple – our brain always gives us the right signal when we are thirsty. We don’t interpret the signal correctly.

In my mother tongue Konkani there is an idiom – “chor bhuka chor taan”. This translates as “false hunger, false thirsty”. What is our first reaction when we feel thirsty? Instead of drinking a glass of water we will have a cup of tea or coffee. Worse still we opt for a diet Coke! So the error is in understanding the signal either inadvertently or intentionally!

 What should we do?

Drink water whenever you feel like. It shouldn’t happen that in an attempt to keep to a fixed schedule you end up drinking less water than your body needs!

The only rule you really need to follow is drinking water with meals. Our stomach acids are made to break down particles so that the food is digested and nutrients are absorbed properly. If you drink a glassful of water just before meals you are actually diluting the acids that are essential for digestion and making the stomach work that much harder.

If you like having liquids with meals, substitute this with a glass of buttermilk (2 tbsp yogurt diluted with a glass of water) and drink it during the meal a sip at a time. This way you are having a pro-biotic along with the meal and digestion will improve. Secondly, we must drink buttermilk at room temperature not cold, and definitely no ice.

So as per Ayurveda understand your brain’s signals whenever you are thirsty. Substitute water with buttermilk (or lassi) during lunch for better digestion. Drink water when thirsty and enjoy good health.