The human body can last weeks without food, but only days without drinking water. We are made up of 50 to 75 per cent water. Water forms the basis of blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration, and is contained in lean muscle, fat and bones.
As the body can’t store water, we need fresh supplies every day to make up for losses from the lungs, skin, urine and stool (poo). The amount we need depends on our body size, metabolism, the weather, the food we eat and our activity levels.
Water in our bodies
Some facts about our internal water supply include:
- Body water content is higher in men than in women and falls in both with age.
- Most mature adults lose about 2.5 to 3 liters of water per day. Water loss may increase in hot weather and with prolonged exercise.
- Elderly people lose about two liters per day.
- An air traveler can lose approximately 1.5 liters of water during a three-hour flight.
- Water loss needs to be replaced.
Importance of Drinking Water
Water is needed for most body functions, including to:
- Maintain the health and integrity of every cell in the body
- Keep the bloodstream liquid enough to flow through blood vessels
- Help eliminate the byproducts of the body’s metabolism. This includes excess electrolytes (for example, sodium and potassium), and urea, which is a waste product formed through the processing of dietary protein
- Regulate body temperature through sweating
- Moisten mucous membranes such as those of the lungs and mouth
- Lubricate and cushion joints
- Reduce the risk of cystitis by keeping the bladder clear of bacteria
- Aid digestion and prevent constipation
- Moisturize the skin to maintain its texture and appearance
- Carry nutrients and oxygen to cells
- Serve as a shock absorb-er inside the eyes, spinal cord and in the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus in pregnancy.
What Ayurveda experts say about Drinking Water:
“We know our body is abundant in “sneh Sara” (or lubrication). This is why before the detoxification process, as age increases there is fall in “sneh”.
At birth is “Kaphaj” time of life. “Pittaj” in middle age (youth) and finally “Vataj” in our wisdom years. Overtime, we see there is depletion in “sneh”ansh.”
Hence the quantity of drinking water is decided according to the age and prakriti, rather than diseases, says Dr. S. K. Rai.
Further he firmly believes that quantity of fluids should be increased as the day progresses. Fluid should be maximum taken between 3pm to 5 pm. This is the transition phase of Pitta to Vata.
According to Dr. Uday H. Hanagal, Trusna (Thirsty) is one of the Prakrutika Vega (Natural Urges).When a person feels thirsty then only he can drink water according to his need (again, depends on Prakruti) & satisfaction etc.
If the urine colour is off white or like water, it shows we are over hydrated.
Pale yellow, indicates we are properly hydrated.
Dark urine shows we are less hydrated.
It is prudent to always monitor our urine colour.
Vd. Pankaj Chhayani’s opinion is
मुहुँर मुहुँर पिबेद वारि भुरी -भा.प्र.
Water should be drank frequently in less quantity.
Water boiled to one fourth quantity relieves pitta, half of its quantity relieves vata and boiled till one fourth is pacifies Kapha.- Bhav prakasha
Water boiled till one fourth is known as AROGYAMBU(Healthy water).
If boiled water is drunk at night, it pacifies both kapha and Vata and it relieves indigestion immediately.
Dr Nitin Shah – An Ayurveda expert, says it is better to sip the water throughout the day. When we feel thirst, it is a sign of dehydration at cellular level. Depending on the season and dosha, we should consume water.
- Vata, should sip warm water
- Pitta can consume room temperature to little cold water in summer season
- Kapha don’t t need the same amount as other needs as they have a tendency to retain the water
The key word is sip and not drink. It is said chew the water and drink the food.
Dr. Ravindra Upadhyay says on obesity and water relationship that if obese person drinks a lot of water this causes weak digestive fire. This, in turn, causes Dhatwagnimandya (deranged metabolism) leading to increase in obesity. Instead, if obese people drink hot water it helps to reduce weight. It is a wrong notion that drinking a lot of water helps, it is harmful sometimes.