NO, THE ANSWER IS NOT 2.5 OR 3 LITRES!
In fact, there cannot be one universal answer to this question. Water consumption per day cannot be standardized; because everyone has a different body type and hence everyone’s requirement of daily water intake is different. Some may need 2.5 litres, some 1.5, and so on.
First of all, thinking of “How many litres of water per day should I consume?” and drinking with the aim of drinking a specified amount of water is the most incorrect thing people do.
And my heart aches when I hear people saying that ‘Ayurveda tells to have 2.5 to 3 litres of water intake per day’. Let me be loud and clear- NO, AYURVEDA NEVER SAID IT.
I have lost the count of how many times in my career as an Ayurveda doctor have I been asked these questions- How much water to drink a day? How much water should an adult drink? How many litres of water per day should I consume?
Water! What an important word! There is no other thing than water which is common to each living being on this planet! Right from the highest authority of any country to the poorest of the poor, from the Arctic to the Tropics, from the animals to the plants, everybody needs water. Can we say that Water brings all of us together?
What is Water?
Water is not food. It is only a medium to digest your food. Just as while cooking rice, you would need an exact amount of water to cook. Even a little more and a little less water would damage the rice. The same happens within our body.
And what do you do? Imagine the harm you must have done to your body by drinking such surplus amounts of water! You go on drinking glasses of water just because somebody said that the water intake per day should be 3 litres?!
Who should drink limited water (I mean, less water)?
Those who have the following-
- Low digestive power (which each of us has!)
- Loose motions
- Grahani (Digestive ailment described in Ayurveda found in majority of us!)
- Even a healthy person should drink limited water except in the months of Grishma(summer) and Sharad(Autumn; October in India)
So what does this imply? We all must limit our drinking of water.
How much water is called “Excess water consumption”?
Keeping a bottle of water besides you and drinking water from it every one hour, because you have set a goal of drinking 2.5 litres of water per day is “Excess water consumption”!
All the water you drink even when you are not thirsty is excess water consumption.
What happens when we do excess water intake per day?
Excess of daily water intake is a cause of-
- Frequent Cough and Cold
- Weight Gain
- Joint Pain
- Pain in the Heel of Foot
- Hair Fall and so on.
According to Ayurveda, excess water is Abhishyandi which leads to Kapha prakop. In simple words, you can imagine it to create a discharge in the whole body which is thick but trickling, obstructive and causes blockages in the natural ways of transportation, digestion, nutrition and so on.
It also increases Pitta and I am sure you must have experienced it after few months of starting this habit of drinking excess water.
A very obvious doubt- If we drink less water, will it not cause kidney stones? According to Ayurveda, the whole pathology behind renal stones is altogether different. Ayurveda says it to be the result of increased Pitta. You have to drink neither more nor very less water. You don’t have to restrict your natural urge of drinking water. You must drink how much your body needs.
At what time should we drink water?
There cannot be a specific time.
Whenever you feel thirsty, keep your work aside, sit down and drink water by touching the glass to lips and not by pouring it from above. Your upper jaw feels your thirst and water and so it is important to follow this. If not, then you tend to drink extra water thus adding up to your daily water intake. Also, this wrong method is one of the causes of central obesity (Increased size of your tummy!)
The Biggest Myth
The biggest myth I have come across under the name of Ayurveda- Drink 1 glass of water in the morning as soon as you wake up.
Guyssss!!! None of Charak, Sushrut, Vagbhat (who are the 3 pillars, teachers, universities of Ayurveda) told this.
Yes, one text Bhavprakash told about this concept of drinking water in the morning. But he also mentioned who should not do it, and the other things like exercise which should be done along with it.
But what we did is, very conveniently followed the easy part of drinking water and left out the important and difficult one of exercise and other routine!
Digestive fire is very good and strong in the morning as it has not been subjected to any food load for 8 hours at least. Just as you put water to extinguish fire, the same way you are drinking water in the morning and extinguishing your digestive fire inside!
Now, you may say that you are able to pass stools only after drinking water in the morning.
If passing stools is your aim of drinking water, then do it by correcting your digestive power, not by doing excess water consumption per day! When you drink so much water in the morning, you are in fact decreasing your digestive fire, and getting trapped in a vicious circle.
Facts about water as stated in Ayurveda
- The answer to a frequently asked question- How much water to drink to lose weight? Drinking few sips of water- before food decreases the weight, In between food keeps you fit, After food increases the weight.
- Lukewarm water (Moderately warm) helps in lighting up or stimulation of digestive fire, clearance of bladder and urine, is light and good in hiccups, fever, cough and cold, etc.
- Cool water (not cold) is relieving for those who have dizziness, who have done lot of physical work, burning sensation, etc.
- The water which was boiled and then left to cool down at room temperature is good for everyone. It does not increase Kapha and Pitta and is healthy. But it should not be left or drunk after 6 hours.
Types of herbal water
- Dhanyak Heem- Finely chop 10 grams of Coriander, pour 6 times (60 ml) of hot water into it and leave it to cool down at room temperature. After few hours, rub it and pour it through a sieve. The water you get is called Dhanyak Heem. Add sugar and drink it in case of excessive thirst, burning sensation inside the body, in summers to clear the urine.
- ShadangaPaaniya- Take churnas or bharad (powder or whole herbs) of Musta, Parpatak, Ushir, Chandan, Sugandhabala, Shunthi. Mix them and boil them with 64 times of hot water. Sieve them and leave it to cool down. This is the best one in times of any fever.
- Coconut water- is sweet, decreases Pitta and thirst, and is best for urine clearance.
Today, I feel relieved after writing this article. I had seen and heard so many incorrect habits, myths about water coming from people around. For long, this topic had been in my mind and I feel lighter now after putting forth the real Ayurveda in front of you.
I hope to have answered your all your questions- How much water to drink a day? How many litres of water per day? And so on…
My aim to write this article is to tell people to please stop drinking excess amount of water. You have already done a great deal of harm to yourself.
I will be the happiest if this article would help you to understand the real Ayurveda and you correct your habits ASAP.