How Much Water Should You Drink As Per Ayurveda?

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Do you consciously drink 2-3 litres of water per day at fixed timings? When I was told to drink plenty of water as part of my general diet I read extensively on the subject. Unlike other experts, according to Ayurveda a fixed schedule is not necessary. I asked Ayurvedic doctors the right time to drink water. And you will be surprised at the reply – “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 thirst”. 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 or eat a midday snack! We know we are thirsty but our actions are erroneous!

 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 not drinking too much water just before a meal. The strong stomach acids are necessary to break down food particles for easy digestion and proper absorption of nutrients. If you drink a glassful of water just before a meal you are actually diluting the acids and forcing the stomach to work that much harder.

If you like having water 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 probiotic along with the meal and digestion will improve. Secondly, drink buttermilk that is at room temperature and not cold. Avoid adding ice.

So as per Ayurveda drink water when thirsty  and enjoy good health.

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