What Does Ayurveda Say About Water?

nutrition Jun 13, 2018

Have you ever wondered, "How much water am I supposed to be drinking every day?"

We're told to drink, "eight glasses of water." Or, for weight loss, "drink a bunch of water before your meals so that you don't feel as hungry!" I've even heard if you divide your body weight by 1/2 and and turn that into ounces, that's how much water you should drink!

So, how much water should I drink? Well, it depends on your dosha.

Vatas, you would think would need a lot of water, because they are the driest. But along with the water, they also need a healthy amount of oils. You're like, "Why? Water is hydrating!" It is hydrating, but think about this. If you do something with your hands in water for a long time, like let's say you're washing dishes, your hands get very dry. So for vatas, because they have a dry constitution, they will need a good amount of water, but they need some oil to provide the unctuousness they need.

Pitta is the dosha that needs the most water because pittas are hot, and when something gets heated, it gets drier faster, right? And when our bodies are hot, we sweat, so pittas is the dosha that needs the most water because they're constantly getting rid of water through sweat because of their heat. Make sense? Plus, heat dries up the water, internally too.

In case you didn't catch my drift here, we want to prevent the body from drying out in Ayurveda!

That is one of the main categories of how we can get disease in the first place, so we don't want the body to dry out. We want it to stay nice and supple, oily and hydrated, but pittas are slightly oily, so they actually don't need as much of the oily factor as vata does, because they have a little bit oily in them as well.

Kaphas need the least amount of water because they are made of water, right? Kaphas are made of water and earth. Pittas are made of water and fire. Vatas are made of air and space, and so vatas have no water in them at all. Pittas have a little. Kaphas have a lot, so kapha-type people might feel actually a little bit like waterlogged and heavy if they drink too much water. They actually don't need as much.

All of these rules about drinking a certain of day, and dividing your body weight and changing it into ounces and that's how much water you should drink a day, it's really more about your dosha or your main doshas and what those elements are.

Also think about the season. In summer we feel a little bit more thirsty because we're starting to get warmer and perspire a little bit more. So also take the season into consideration, too.

What about drinking water for weight loss? 

Now, one thing I do want to address is this theory I've heard over the years, "If you want to lose weight, you're supposed to drink a bunch of water before your meal so that you actually don't feel hungry, so that you don't need as much food."

That is wrong, according to Ayurveda.

First we supposed to feel hungry before our meals. Can we all champion that? Can we all say like, "Yay" for hunger? My body is working and it's giving me this signal to eat. That is like golden! So be thankful for your hunger!

The second thing is, if we put a bunch of water on that burning hunger, we put out our digestive fire. Hunger is our digestive fire that's saying, "Hey, feed me. I'm ready for food. I'm fire. I'm ready to digest," and if we put a bunch of water on it, it's going to go out.

Now, agni doesn't really go all the way out, but it gets dampened. It gets smaller. You extinguish it a bit more. We want a nice, strong fire when we eat food, so the best practice is to have little sips of water as you eat your food, leaving space, not stuffing ourselves so full, but we want to leave space for movement, so leave some space in there, and leave some space for water, and then the majority should be food, if that makes sense. Kind of interesting way to think about water, isn't it?

What about ice?

Ayurveda does not recommend ice and water. If it's very, very hot outside and you've a very, very pitta person and you need to get cool quickly, you could have a very cool drink, perhaps some ice, but the problem with that is that ic shocks and constricts the body.

Our bodies want to stay warm and squishy and flowing. We also want to promote good digestive fire because, as we know, most of disease is caused by malfunctioning digestive fire, so we want to make sure that we're using our water appropriately so we don't dampen it and put it out.

We want the body to accept that water as nice hydration, not have it go, "Brr! That was cold!!" So we want to keep the ice to a minimum, if at all. Drink more room temperature water. Pittas can have cool water in the summer. 

What about bubble water?

Some people might be wondering, "Monica B., what about bubble water? I drink bubble water all the time, and I love it. It makes me so happy!"

Ok but, is it just plain water that's in bubble water? No.

Where's in bubble water? Bubbles!!

Which way do the bubbles go? They go up.

Which way do we want our digestion to go? We want it to go down. :)

Bubble water does not do the same thing was flat water because all of these bubbles which have air and space in them, and they go up. It can cause hiccups. It can cause distention and gasys-bloatys.

If food feels like it's coming up the wrong way, maybe you're drinking too much much bubble water or carbonated beverages. 

The best rule of thumb, if you're still unsure about just do this.

1. Don't drink a whole ton of water with your meals.
2. Avoid ice
3. Drink water is in between meals like when you feel like your food has mostly digested

Hope this gave you a new and useful perspective!

If you learned something today share it with your friends! 

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Keep bringing Ayurveda to life!
XO!
Monica B.

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