Is Drinking more water Healthy?

Jul 26th, 2018

Summer has arrived and it’s no surprise that May 2018 was one of the hottest in Hong Kong since we started recording temperatures more than a century back. We know the reason but we need more effort to control it.

The first thing that kids do when they come back from school is to drink plenty of water.

Till they enter their teenage years they may be drinking the right amount of water they need.

Then as we grow up we get suggestions from all the possible sources such as dietician, doctors, health experts and even friends to drink more and more water to stay hydrated or as they say, to flush out toxins from the body.

This is where we all are going completely wrong, following what people say without knowing the reper-cussions on our health in the long run.

Modern science in spite of the advances it has made, is still young as compared to the thousand-yearold time tested traditional Indian system of herbal therapy and healing Ayurveda.

One very popular allopathic medicine today may be completely banned in a few years. Another big problem that modern medicine is creating is the amount of fear that it associates with every disease. This leads to a natural inclination for common man to follow blindly what modern medicine says.

Let us now understand what we are doing to our body and mind from Ayurvedic perspective.

Acids in our stomach, along with digestive juices and enzymes, that help the food digest and get absorbed in the body are collectively called ‘Agni’ the FIRE. Fire is considered the foundation of life. It’s the same as the Sun in our solar system holding every planet in its respective orbit with its gravitational force and it is the source of life for our planet.

The same principle works for every human being. When fire is well balanced we enjoy good health, a sharp and happy mind, an energetic body, a good appetite and proper bowel movements. If imbalanced, we experience the opposite of all the above and even more troubles.

Fire needs to be protected and kindled from time to time. The importance of fire is to such an extent that Krishna in the Geeta (National book of India) says “ I exist in you right in your stomach in the form of Jathragni the Fire. This fire is none other than ME (the God himself)”

The biggest enemy of Fire is Water.

Ayurveda and Yoga have existed since the beginning and were provided as manuals to mankind by superhuman in order to live life in harmony with nature. The wisdom from these ancient sciences is the ‘truth’ and is free from any religion or even region as the boundaries of nations were created much later(a couple of thousand years back). The sages who discovered and compiled the ancient wisdom understood the Universal Laws of nature very well.

Coming back to water I can quote references from all the Great Ayurveda texts on Ayurveda such as ‘Charakh Samhita’, ‘Shusruta Samhita’, ‘Ashtanga Hridayam’ and ‘Ashtanga Sangram’. One such quote states “Even a healthy person should not drink water in excess. Water is elixir if consumed properly and poison if otherwise.”

Let me add a practical example of RO (Reverse Osmosis) water purifiers. Tap water is pushed into filters of a purifier through a step by step process until it finally reaches its RO membrane. This special thin membrane allows only clean water to pass through and harmful chemicals and other impurities are removed so we have clean drinkable water.

Similarly, our body has special water filters with millions of filtration units called nephrons in the kidneys. When we drink water, it is passed into the intestines and is absorbed into blood stream and then absorbed by different organs. Later on water from the blood stream is filtered by the kidneys. Useful water and ions are absorbed, and excess toxic water is expelled.

The RO membrane in water purifiers comes with an expiry date and has a capacity to filter a certain amount of water. What if we over use it and continuesly put more and more filtered water through it? Certainly, the RO membrane has to be changed before its date of expiry.

The same applies to the filtration unit nephrons in our kidneys. This results in damage of the kidnets and renal diseases such as renal failure and nephrotic syndrome .

A study, led by researchers from Monash University in Australia challenged the popular idea that we should drink eight glasses of water a day. It showed that a swallowing inhibition is activated by the brain when excess liquid is consumed, helping maintain tightly calibrated volumes of water in the body. Just drink according to thirst rather than an elaborate schedule, says Michael Farrell, associate professor at Monash. He adds that drinking too much water puts the body in danger of water intoxication or hyponatremia, when vital levels of sodium in the blood become abnormally low, potentially causing symptoms ranging from lethargy and nausea to convulsions and coma.

Conditioned for years, it may be unclear how much water we should actually drink. Below is a clear description of water according to Ayurveda.

Start your day by drinking not more than 250 ml of warm water. Sip the water first thing in the morning. This will help digestion and intestinal cleansing.

Drink about 100-150 ml of water during meals sip the water slowly.

Drink 100-150 ml of warm water every hour or two after meals.

Whenever thirsty, drink a maximum of 150 ml of water sip by sip. Never drink in large quantities.

Not to offend anyone but next time if someone says – “Drink more water” please explain so that they don’t say that again.

Asana Journal

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