Is Drinking Water During Meals Healthy?

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The habit of drinking water during  meals is so ingrained in some, that it will be difficult for them to nail it on one good reason. Scientifically (even in ancient Ayurveda) the importance of water for hydration, metabolism, and optimum digestive system functioning, is well documented.

The trick is not choosing between having or avoiding water but to know when and how much is beneficial. Too much water along with meals will interfere with necessary levels of bile and stomach acid, affecting optimal digestion leading to a buildup of toxic waste (ama), irrespective of what food you ingest.

Based on ancient wisdom, adopting the following habits should help you get the best nutrition from your food:

  1. Drink 30 minutes before your meals, hydrating the liver and the GI tract. This fluid reduces the dependence of water during meals and allowing digestive juices to work directly with food.
  2. A sattvic diet (water rich, mostly raw vegetarian diet) provides the hydration in the food itself while with a Rajasic and Tamasic diet drinking water during meals will be needed.
  3. In case you feel the need for water, take a few sips of water. Mixing in lime or apple cider vinegar to this water will boost digestion.
  4. Drink water 30 minutes after your meal replenishes the fluids lost in the digestion process and enables the smooth movement of digested food and nutrients through the GI tract.
  5. If you haven’t hydrated enough before the meal or during the day ensure that you drink water with your meal as dehydration will hamper digestion and cause problems like constipation and heartburn.

Rule: Water should always be at room temp (ideally lukewarm) and avoid aerated drinks and alcohol with food as they dry the saliva and dehydrate the body. Avoid cold water as it douses the digestive fire and can cause bloating, cramping and ama formation.

Even if this habit is deep rooted, try the above steps and notice any benefits. Try with varied combinations to something that you body feels comfortable with. The rewards from getting this right will be enormous. Listening to and being aware of your body feelers and needs is more important than staying rigid with routines. Keep your ears open and flow with it!!


Dr Janardhana Hebbar

Senior Ayurvedic Consultant at CureJoy, Dr. Hebbar has authored 4 books on Ayurveda. Special interests are Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine) and Shalya chikitsa (Surgery).

Dr Janardhana Hebbar

Senior Ayurvedic Consultant at CureJoy, Dr. Hebbar has authored 4 books on Ayurveda. Special interests are Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine) and Shalya chikitsa (Surgery).

Post a Comment
Vivan Rajput
Vivan Rajput 5pts

As per ayurveda- water before meals s a cause of diseases, while having meals sipping n letting it stay n d mouth fr sm secs to foster digestive juces prod. n then gulping helps to liquidify food for better absorption by intestines, water after meals s toxic n poisoness

Letitia Platt
Letitia Platt 5pts

As I child my parents and grandparents would give us a glass of water during our meals but we couldn't drink it till we were finished the meal. I now put that down to food was scarce then and the water would have filled us up and maybe we wouldn't have finished the meal! But not sure!

Tanya Zachery
Tanya Zachery 5pts

For hiccups, gargle with very cold water. Gets rid of my hiccups every time!

Davy Starrs
Davy Starrs 5pts

sipping water at mealtimes is better

Merci Mallari
Merci Mallari 5pts

Exactly!instead of sodas or any artificial beverages

Sanjay Teemul
Sanjay Teemul 5pts

Water before taking food is a nectar, water taken while eating food is a medicine and water taken immediately after food is a poison.

Irena Anchev
Irena Anchev 5pts

No good to drink during meals...messes up with you digestion and stomach acids...hot meal/cold water has a negative impact on your stomach. It's like putting a frozen glass in hot water = broken glass..Same effects on your stomach.

Mike Man
Mike Man 5pts

http://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/5-reasons-why-drinking-water-during-your-meals-is-bad-for-you/ Consuming warm water or tea has been shown to not negatively affect digestive performance. Self education never hurt. Home experimentation easily shows the results. Pour warm bacon fat into a glass of cold water and see what happens. It clumps up and goes hard, and people wonder why they have pain, bloating and gas after eating in a restaurant and swilling down all kinds of crappy pop full of ice

Jennifer Chapkovich
Jennifer Chapkovich 5pts

I would have worded that a little differently. LOL! But, you're right. :-)

Jennifer Chapkovich
Jennifer Chapkovich 5pts

I'm not sure what you're reading JA, but it's incorrect information. Drinking water 30 minutes before and after is fine, but drinking water during prohibits digestion of the food thus prohibiting any nutrients from entering your system.

JA Keenan
JA Keenan 5pts

Water Aids in DigestionDigestion starts with saliva, the basis of which is water. Digestion relies on enzymes that are found in saliva to help break down food and liquid and to dissolve minerals and other nutrients. Proper digestion makes minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body. Water is also necessary to help you digest soluble fiber. With the help of water, this fiber dissolves easily and benefits your bowel health by making well-formed, soft stools that are easy to pass.

Mike Man
Mike Man 5pts

It makes the dietary fat SOLIDIFY and your body DOES NOT process food properly. Read a fucking book peasants

Mike Man
Mike Man 5pts

Absolute WRONG information. Do some research

JA Keenan
JA Keenan 5pts

Drinking water, any time, aids in the digestion of food.

Diilyang Diibu
Diilyang Diibu 5pts

Yes, it's better to drink water before and after meal , gaping of at least half an hour

Janet Lee
Janet Lee 5pts

Stephen Kwanghoon Lee \U0001f44d

Murugiah Logesh
Murugiah Logesh 5pts

Sometimes yes, What if you have hickups while you eat? Then you supposed to drink water.

Bida Kontrabida
Bida Kontrabida 5pts

No, as far as i know it's better to drink water before and after meal.

Rhonda Evans
Rhonda Evans 5pts

I was brought up to not drink liquids with dinner - still don't.

Vikas Patel
Vikas Patel 5pts

Agree.Water 30 min. before & after food is Rational for Homosapiens.

Vipin Ov
Vipin Ov 5pts

No.. It could dilute the gastric juices n enzymes so that improper digestion may occur..

Elizabeth Ann
Elizabeth Ann 5pts

Some food/water for thought ;). Charmagne Lee Christopher Lemke