We often think about the foods we eat and how they affect our health, but beverages are also a huge contributor to our overall wellness. This blog series “Beverages and Oral Health” will focus on how the many beverages we drink impact our holistic and oral health. So let’s start with the most basic of all beverages–water. There’s not a diet, wellness plan, fitness regimen or daily routine that doesn’t include drinking water. Actually, water is often the ‘main character,’ with everything else in a supporting role. Makes sense—after all, all life begins and is sustained with good old H2O.
“A drop of water, if it could write out its own history, would explain the universe to us.” Lucy Larcom
We all need water to survive (and most of us probably aren’t drinking as much as we should). But did you know there are ways to maximize its benefits? For instance, when you drink, how much you drink, the temperature, and many other factors that we don’t consciously think about. And since up to 60% of the human adult body is made up of water, we should pay attention—it’s pretty much our main ingredient!
In Ayurvedic medicine, cultivating balance is one of the fundamental principles. This means bringing the five elements—earth, water, fire, air, and space—into proper alignment in the body. When it comes to water, we want to think of our bodies as a flowing river. River water is flowing, and it is pure because the water is constantly moving all those impurities away. If we are drinking little by little all day long we are moving all those impurities from our bodies outside. All your systems get nourished.
In that context, think about the following five Ayurvedic tips to help you nourish and cleanse by simply drinking water.
Drink room temperature water, warm even better.
Avoid ice chilled water that disturbs the ongoing process of digestion and dampens what Ayurveda calls the “digestive fire”. This means food is not digested properly and leads to a build up of toxins and fat. Cold water decreases the blood supply to various organs of the body further leading to constipation. Drinking tepid water can help in proper digestion and metabolism that promotes weight loss, relieves bloating and pain.
Drink only when you are thirsty.
Remember those diet plans that instruct you to drink 8 glasses of water a day? Ayurveda emphasizes on drinking water only when you feel thirsty. Why? Because the body can only absorb what it needs; you need to listen to the signals your body is sending you.
Drink water first thing in the morning.
Start your day with a glass of water to fight disease, flush out toxins and clean out your intestines. You’ll probably also find that this habit will naturally reduce your coffee intake as well!
In summertime, drink more water in the afternoon.
Since afternoon is the hottest time of day, drinking more water at this time will help maintain your body temperature. Adding in some lemon, mint or rose petals also helps to balance body heat.
Don’t chug or gulp!
According to Ayurvedic expert, Dr. Akhilesh Sharma, “there are three doshas in the body – vata, pitta and kapha – and how you consume water must be in accordance with these doshas. People with vata prakruti should drink water only one hour after eating a meal. This will help their food digest in a better way. People with pitta prakruti can have small sips during meals to start their digestion process early and people with kapha prakruti should have water before taking meals so that they feel full and not eat more. This will help them lose weight easily.”
And don’t forget about the oral health benefits of drinking water such as providing a cleaner mouth, fresher breath and stronger teeth—all of which will help reduce bacteria and fight tooth decay. So drink up….but drink mindfully for optimal health and happiness!