Mr Tarun asks – Most of the Ayurvedic personnel say different things. Some doctors advise not to drink water before food, in between food & at least for 1 hr after food. Some say that don’t take it before & after food but can be had in between meals. Can you please clarify this ? In my case I am drinking water in between meals & not before & after meals. Is this okay ?
Personally I too have seen in many online platforms, many Ayurvedic doctors suggesting to drink water after food. Let us nail this subject with authentic traditional reference once and for all. Let us empty out all doubts regarding this topic for once.
How much water should we actually drink?
I have written about this, in detail here.
To sum up, You are supposed to drink water only when thirsty. Thirst is a natural urge. Natural urges should be attended only when they arrive, as per Ayurveda. For example, we need to eat food only when we are hungry.
(Related article – why I skipped my lunch today? )
We need to urinate and defecate only when there is an urge for it. The purpose is to maintain the body’s natural circadian rhythm. To attune body to the nature based on signals given by nature. So, the point is, a normal person does not need excess of water to drink. However, in certain diseases, there are exceptions.
When to drink water, in relation to meal?
Many Ayurveda doctors, many science websites including ‘Discovery’ have advised not to drink water in between a meal. But as per Ayurveda, you are supposed to drink water between the meals only. (Let us get into its reference a bit later.)
Drinking water before food – As per Ayurveda, drinking water before food dilutes and weakens the Agni (digestion strength) as water is coolant in nature. This coolant property of water is directly opposite to digestion strength. Hence taking water before food is not ideal.
Drinking water after food –
It affects both the quality of food and digestion strength. It gives a touch of coolant effect to whatever the food is eaten. Hence a person tends to become obese over a period of time, by this method. Hence it is not ideal.
Drinking water in between food –
It helps to moisten the food, it helps to breakdown food particles into smaller pieces, it quenches thirst, hence it is ideal.
Reference: Ashtanga Hrudayam, Sutrasthana 5th chapter
Water should not be consumed / water should be consumed in very little quantity, by those suffering from poor digestive function, tumours of the abdomen, anaemia, enlargement of the abdomen, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, diseases of the duodenum, dropsy.
Except during Sharad (autumn) and Nidagha (summer) even healthy persons should drink less quantity of water in the other seasons. 13-14
Jalapana phala- (effects of drinking water with respect to meals)
Drinking water before meals – causes emaciation, weakness.
Drinking water after meals – causes obesity
Drinking water in between meals – healthy habit
If water is not to be had, then how to take medicines before meals?
While taking medicines, water, in required quantity can be had, 20 minutes before meals.