Ayurveda recommends drinking water based on one’s own thirst, which should not be suppressed as it is a natural urge, however excessive drinking is also not recommended – either extreme lowers digestion strength and deteriorates the quality of dhatus/body tissues. 

One should not drink water before meals because drinking water before food dilutes and weakens Agni and causes general weakness. Ideal is to drink water atleast 1 hour before meals.

Drinking water immediately after meals is also not recommended as it causes obesity. It is advisable to drink water about one and a half hour after meals.

Ayurveda advises to keep taking small sips of water with meals. Reason being, it helps to moisten the food in order to breakdown food particles into smaller pieces and it quenches thirst as well. The Agni already starts interacting with the food to initiate the process of digestion. Hence, water consumed at this point would be used up by the food particles to disintegrate. There will be very less direct interaction between Agni and the water at this point of time.

Ayurveda prefers drinking warm water over cold water at any given time.Warm water is helpful in Vata and Kapha related disorders. Not only this, it also stimulates the Agni as well as appetite and aids the digestion process. 

As far as cold water is concerned, the only acceptable form of cold water in Ayurveda is the water cooled in mud pots or silver containers. Cold water is beneficial in Pitta related disorders, thirst, heat stroke, exhaustion, bleeding disorders etc.  

Carbonated drinks, chilled beverages and packaged drinks can give momentary pleasure to the taste buds but they do a lot of harm to one’s health. Water, buttermilk, herbal infusions are the best beverages as per Ayurveda, which once befriended will give one a lifetime gift of good health.

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