According to Ayurveda, a 5,000 year old holistic healing system, drinking pure water provides the simplest solution to many health issues. However, the healing benefits of water depend on how we drink it. Should you drink cold water, hot water or room temperature water? How much water should you drink?
Low Agni, or digestive fire, results in improper food digestion, which causes a build-up of toxins in the body that is the root cause of many health issues. Long-term, untreated toxin build-up known as ama can create aggravated doshas. This imbalance in the body ultimately leads to fatigue, tumors, cysts, high cholesterol, and more. If vata dosha is too high, bones and nervous system may be affected. Aggravated pitta dosha may cause inflammations of all sorts and heart issues. And too high kapha dosha may manifest as mucus, coughs, asthma and obesity.
Ayurveda teaches that drinking ice cold water is like pouring cold water on fire. Cold water extinguishes the digestive fire that is necessary to keep strong and balanced in order to maintain good health.
This rule also applies to all cold drinks and foods, which should not be consumed straight from the fridge. Drinks and foods are much better digested by the body at room temperature rather than cold.
How Much Water Should I drink?
In Ayurveda, the concept of “8 glasses of water a day” does not exist. We all are different and have unique bodies and needs; therefore, even the water intake depends on the individual body constitution. With this in mind, make sure to follow the signals from your body and make sure to drink when thirsty.
A few sips of warm water with your meal is optimal to soften and prepare the food before it is digested. However, on the contrary, excessive water consumption, especially cold water, shortly before and after meals interferes with proper digestive processes. In fact, too much liquid intake slows down digestion, making it lazy and sluggish. Healthy balanced digestion — not too weak and not too strong — is the foundation of good health, longevity and is a major focus of Ayurveda.