Are You Drinking Too Much Water… Or Enough?
Most main stream articles you’ll find out there, highlight the importance of drinking water advising everyone to increase their intake of water and drink at least 8 cups a day. It’s probably true that with such a variety of drinks in our society, most of us don’t drink enough clean, pure water. Though health conscious people might be in some cases drinking too much water.
According to Ayurveda, as for anything else, there’s not a rule that fits all. When considering the amount of water needed, we don’t all fall under the same formula (8 cups a day). For any given individual, it’s a more complex assessment of the true need that considers their diet, lifestyle, physical activity, climate conditions and prakriti (Ayurvedic individual constitution). As explained by Ayurvedic physician and professor Vasant Lad, ‘a pitta person might might require six to eight cups of water daily in summer because there is so much heat in the body. A skinny vata person may take less in humid conditions, but need to drink more than this in a dry climate. But a kapha individual who is 20 pounds overweight doesn’t need much water. Four or five cups a day is usually enough.’ (Source: Textbook of Ayurveda, Vol. 1 , Chapter 5)
You probably know several of the signs and/or risks of not drinking enough water. But, you might not realize the health consequences of drinking too much water!
Per Vasant Lad, people might be told – especially when on a diet or cleansing – to ‘flush out the kidneys’ by increasing the water consumption. Though when kidney energy is low (which may occur when overstimulated), the water is not well processed and assimilated by the body which may cause water retention in the connective tissues – leading to excess weight. And a more serious condition may occur. Some people drinking 15+ cups of water daily, may excessively flush the kidneys depleting sodium and potassium in their system. With this loss, a individual may experience muscle cramps and gas in the colon, and in children more especially, it can create abdominal distension and gas. These conditions are caused by water toxicity or intoxication, which changes the hydraulic pressure and affects osmosis.
Pure and clean water is not only healthy but a crucial ingredient to being alive, though think twice about which amount is right for you specifically. Once more, Ayurveda shows us the uniqueness of the individual as a reference point for good health and wellbeing, in which moderation is one of the key factors.
Note: If you’re curious about your Ayurvedic constitution (prakriti), you may take this free test to determine your individual uniqueness ayurvedically-speaking: http://bit.ly/prakriti_quiz