Saturday, January 30, 2010

Natural Thirst V/s Unnatural Thirst

In this update we try and understand about a natural thirst and its qualities and at the same time about an unnatural thirst and its qualities. The intensity and timing of thirst usually differs from person to person depending on the type of food he eats and the kind of work he does; apart from climatic variances. According to Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju the thirst can be classified as natural and unnatural.

1. Natural Thirst:

Natural thirst occurs involuntarily without our interference. When the fluid levels in our body falls below the required volume, the body calls for immediate replacements through various symptoms of thirst; which we have discussed in the previous updates. We all know that we feel thirstier when we work real hard and during hot weather conditions and less thirsty when we work less or moderate and during cold weather conditions. But many of us do not realize the relationship of thirst with the food we eat. It directly or indirectly affects the volume and timing of thirst which we hardly bother about. Many of us drink wrong volume of water at wrong times; which results in imbalance of our metabolism. Many of us do not realize the real symptoms of thirst. Please refer my previous update “how much water we need to drink a day?” to understand the symptoms of thirst. Dr. Raju says Natural thirst occurs to those who eat Natural food. There is a common practice of drinking water while eating food among millions of people across the world. Every individual should understand the harms of drinking water while eating, which we discuss in further updates later. If you eat natural food like fruits, vegetables, roots etc. you experience natural thirst. The food itself tells you when to take water and how. You feel thirsty only after the food gets digested. This is the principle of nature. If you observe the creatures and animals you are going to understand this. No living being on this Earth except a man drinks water while eating. The reason is quite simple; the animals and creatures follow the hardcore rule or principle of nature. They eat according to dharma or nature of their creation. Thus, they experience a natural thirst. Likewise, if we eat uncooked food without salt and oil we won’t be thirsty. Can we do that? We can if we really wish to! It’s difficult though. We actually feel thirsty when the cells in our body need water. This is a natural and healthy sign. As we all know that our body is made up of several millions of cells. All the important chemical reactions that occur in our body take place only in these cells. There is lot of water in and around these cells. The cells continuously need water. It is with the help of air, water and food the energy is generated and waste material is burnt or disbursed by these cells.

When the water level in the cells decreases the cells send signals through nerves to hypothalamus gland of the mind, which is the center for maintaining the ratio of water. When the water level in the cells decreases this center is stimulated and we feel thirsty. When the water level goes down, the production of saliva too comes down and our mouth dries up. The receptors beneath the mucus membrane in the mouth too receive these signals. Then we feel the urge to drink water. The throat and mouth doesn’t dry up immediately when the water levels in the body declines. However, any delay triggers these symptoms. We need not wait until our throat dries to drink water. When the water we drink reaches the cells through stomach and intestines the need for water is met. When the cells receive the required water immediately, they discharge their duties properly. If the water reaches cells within 20-25 minutes their thirst is quenched. If the water we take is to reach the blood early, the stomach and intestine has to be empty. The thirst of our cells is quenched well only when the stomach is empty.

Let us examine why the thirst is not quenched when our stomach is full. Assume that the cells feel thirsty when stomach is full and the brain sends a signal to drink water and you obey it. The water now reaches the stomach. Since there is food present in the stomach, the water mixes with food. In that case the water has to be digested along with food and therefore it has to remain in the intestines till the food gets digested. The time taken to digest the food depends on the type of food you eat. It might approximately take 2-4 hours for digestion. That means the water taken while and after eating food reaches the cells only after 2-4 hours. Till then the requirement of water of cells is not met. In the meantime the cells face similar difficulty as we eat food 2 or 3 hours of being hungry. Hunger can be suppressed but not thirst. This is the rule of nature and the nature of our body too. Those who feel thirsty while eating or when the stomach is full, it means they are leading a life against the rule of the nature. We should find out the reasons for unnatural thirst and correct them.

2. Unnatural Thirst:

When we eat unnatural food we experience untimely and unnatural thirst. It is said that when you commit a mistake once; you tend to continue with another. And if you lie once; you tend to lie again and again. Likewise, if you take unnatural food, you tend to experience unnatural thirst. It is the principle of nature to avoid drinking water while eating. It is the kind of food that is forcing us to take water while eating. Let us try to understand what kind of food makes us thirsty while eating. Today, we hardly refrain ourselves from eating food that doesn’t contain salt, oil, ghee, sugar, spices and other processed food products. There is a basis for this. 100ml of water is required to digest one gram of salt. Similarly oil, ghee and other spices also require ample amount of water to digest. When our stomach is filled with any of these, our body demands water to start the process of digestion. Since, we hardly avoid this stuff in food; we feel thirsty while and immediately after eating food. Let us try to understand what happens when we fill our stomach largely when we feast. The food prepared in India during feasts is especially made with huge amount of oil, ghee, spices and masalas apart from vast varieties of non-vegetarian items. People during these feasts usually fill their stomach leaving no space for water. The Brain orders to take more water, the mouth refuse to drink water as there is no space available in the stomach. Yet you drink water by force unable to bear the thirst. This doesn’t quench your thirst unless the food gets digested. As the water taken while eating does not help digestion, it can be called unnatural thirst. If you eat food avoiding salt, oil, ghee, spices and other processed products you can experience the difference. If we change our practices then we can enjoy natural thirst and natural thirst is a step towards good health.

There is another reason why we feel thirsty when we take salt. Let us now try to learn how salt results in reduction of fluid levels in our body in the words of Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju:

Every cell in our body has inner and outer parts. Salt is deposited outside the cell. Every food article contains a ratio of 1:8 sodium and potassium in it. When you cook the food the salt dissolves and remain in the food itself where as the potassium evaporates on heating. Our body hardly needs 270mgs of sodium a day, where as we consume above 1200 – 1500 mgs of sodium a day through food cooked without adding salt. You can imagine how much salt we consume in excess on every pinch of salt we add to your food. Natural food like fruits, vegetables, nuts or food cooked without salt contains enough salt necessary for the body. Salt is deposited around the cells in those who consume salt in food. Thirst and the salt deposited around the cells have a close relationship. People who eat food without salt feel less thirsty than who take less or more salt. People eating salt are thirstier because the water is drawn wherever there is salt. The excess salt we take goes out of the intestines and get deposited around the cells. The salt deposited around cells draws water from the cells. The water level in the cells thus comes down and when the water level decreases the chemical process in the cells is hampered. To rectify the situation our cells send signals to the brain to replenish with water. The brain signals us in the form of thirst. When we experience such thirst the mouth dries up. We feel restless unless we drink water.


  1. Excellent article. please keep writing.

  2. Thanks Mr. Hari. As long as people like you appreciate my little effort, I try to come up with more informative & educative articles.

  3. your articles help me a lot. as i m doing my thesis on naturopathy centre.


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