8 Tips for Healthy Digestion

hot waterNow that you’ve learned about the dangers of ice water, there are plenty of ways to benefit from water through proper consumption.

According to Ayurvedic text Bhavaprakasa, warm water stimulates hunger, helps digestion, is good for the throat, cleanses the urinary bladder, relieves hiccups, flatulence, relieves cough, relieves runny nose, and pain. Warm water also removed ama, a sticky, disease-causing substance left behind in the body when food isn’t digested properly.

The first step to proper water consumption is to drink water according to the season. Just as you (hopefully) wouldn’t go outside in shorts and a t-shirt in a snowstorm, drinking ice water in winter is your body’s equivalent. In the coldest depths of winter, drink hot water that has been boiled. In the summer, water that has been boiled and cooled to room temperature water is best. In the fall and spring, consume warm water.

Water that has been boiled and then cooled is not going to increase the moisture inside the body.  There’s a certain level of moisture that’s healthy, but excess water leads to edema and can even cause kidney ailments when left unchecked.

If you work, boil water your water for the day in the morning, then take your water with you in a glass or stainless steel container. In restaurants, you’ll find that many are willing to bring hot water (or water sans ice) if you ask.

But drinking large amounts of water prior to eating or after you eat will also hinder digestion and douse your digestive fire called agni. Imagine trying to cook a meal but some jerk keeps throwing water on your fire. Don’t be that jerk by dousing your digestion with bucketfuls of soda and ice water. During meals, have a cup or so of hot, warm, or room temperature water nearby to sip. Sipping instead of gulping water will serve to mix up your food rather than drown it.

Above all else, Ayurveda strives to make good health as stress-free as possible. Stress can be worse for you in the long run than ice. So rather than worrying if your water has been properly boiled, the best recipe for health is to toss out your ice and do your best to enjoy water that is at least room temperature.

All these new suggestions may sound extreme, but try it for a week and see how you feel. While you may miss your ice at first, the benefits to drinking water without it will impart so many health benefits that you’ll gleefully toss out your ice cube trays.

To summarize, here are eight handy tips for healthy water consumption:

  1. No ice.
  2. Boil all water first.
  3. In winter: enjoy hot water.
  4. Fall, spring: drink warm water.
  5. Summer: consume room temperature water.
  6. With meals: drink only small sips in between bites.
  7. Do not drink too much water before or after meals.
  8. Do not stress about good health. Do your best.

Image source: Mizrak.

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