Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Harm in Drinking Water While Eating

So far we have learned many secrets of water revealed by Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju through my previous updates on water. I haven’t seen anyone apart from Dr. Raju who has emphasized so much on drinking 5-6 liters of water a day. Many of you might have heard from your elder's that drinking water while eating is harmful. Still we hardly care about their words of wisdom. Let us now try to understand the harm in drinking water while eating in the words of Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju.

Many of us have the unnatural habit of drinking water while eating. When one settles down for a meal, invariably he places a glass or pitcher of water besides him. People drink in water while eating in many ways.

First type: Some people take a glass or two of water and then begin their meal assuming that it reduces their hunger and consequently reduces their body weight.

Second type: Some people take water frequently to facilitate easy gulping down of food and to stop hiccups.

Third type: Some consume one or two glasses of water after eating food believing that ¾ of food and ¼ of water helps digestion better.

Fourth type: Some drink water ½ an hour after their meals as they find it inconvenient to drink water while and immediately after meals. 

Fifth Type: Many people drink water while eating because they feel thirsty and their throat dries out. There are 3 reasons for this. Firstly, they do not drink enough water (5-6 liters in a day) rest of the time as per the recommendations of Dr. Raju. Secondly, people especially in India consume plenty of Spices and Masalas in their food. Thirdly, people don't chew their food properly. If you drink 2-4 glasses of water half an hour before your food, your thirst is quenched and you don't feel thirsty while eating. Spices and Masalas obviously makes the food tasty but they lead to many gastric and intestinal disorders. Moreover they create heat in the body increasing the body temperature which urges you to drink water. If you avoid these spices and masalas you don't need any water while eating. If you chew your food properly you don't need water to gulp your food.
Nobody has the time or inclination to find the harm of drinking water while eating. Even the doctors who spend several years of their life in studying human body fail to advise the people about the harm in drinking water while eating food. Many of us are educated and are still ignorant of the nature. Layman and doctors equally suffer from digestive problems and take medicines. We actually do not want to learn and take precautions because we have medicines for every ailment. Many of us are aware that even a medicine is going to harm our body because medicine is after all a chemical in itself. Still we prefer to suffer and take medicines. It might give you a temporary relief but at the cost of some problem in the long run. Dr. Raju says, we must educate ourselves and our children about the harm of drinking water while eating and overcome all sorts of problems arising out of it. According to him, when we drink water while eating, the difficulty in the mouth is different and in the intestines is different. To understand his claim clearly one should know (1) The relationship of water and digestion in the mouth (2) The relationship of water and digestion in the stomach and (3) The relationship of water and digestion in the intestines.

1. The Relationship of Water and Digestion in the Mouth: The first phase of digestion process starts in the mouth. The food we eat should get ready for digestion up to 20%-25% in the mouth itself and then enter the stomach. The teeth accomplish this task. But how many of us have the practice and time to chew our food properly? Right from a boy to an aged person, everyone is in a hurry. None of us have time to eat our meal peacefully. Everyone is in a rush and wants to end up his meal in a minute or ten and rushes out. Had anyone thought what will be the consequences of such an eating? Here are a few consequences of eating food in a hurry without proper chewing.

(a) It becomes real hard to gulp the food into the stomach without chewing it properly. To overcome this we reach a glass of water. When we eat food or pickles they sometimes get obstructed in the esophagus and induce hiccups. To avoid hiccups we again reach out for water. Some people have the habit of eating food while watching television, reading news papers, talking to fellow mates or straying in thoughts. Since the concentration is not on the food, it leads to over eating and subsequently eruption of gases in the stomach and causes belching. To stop it we drink water. These are the common mistakes we comment and don’t end up here; we pass them to our children too.
(b) When we chew food thoroughly, the required saliva is produced and it moves into the stomach easily without any obstruction. The saliva substitutes the function of water as the saliva contains 98% of water and 2% of digestive enzymes. Saliva helps in proper digestion of food. Saliva also kills or injures certain kinds of bacteria found in the food we eat. When we drink water while eating food, less amount of saliva is produced. Due to reduced saliva and increased water intake the digestive process is hampered. There is no way out but to commit a second mistake. The first mistake takes place in the mouth and second mistake in the stomach. If we chew food properly, the saliva mixes well with the food which in turn enables the food to move freely into the stomach. Saliva not only makes the digestion process easy but also complete.

2. The relationship of Water and Digestion in the Stomach: The second phase of digestion process begins in the stomach. After swallowing, the chewed food reaches the stomach. Several digestive enzymes and gastric juices are produced over there for digesting the food we eat. One among such acids is the most powerful hydrochloric acid which plays a key role in the digestion of our food. Along with it there as several other enzymes which helps in the completion of digestive process. Hydrochloric Acid kills certain harmful bacteria left over in the food. The food is usually digested in two hours of time when these acids are in concentrated form. Its strength is reduced when water mixes with it. Let us see what happens in the stomach when we drink water while eating.
  • Acids Weaken: The powerful acids in our stomach become mild and lose their potency if we mix water along with food. The mild acid fails to digest food as effectively as the strong one. The stomach is forced to produce double the amount of acid to digest food. The increase in the volume of digestive gases leads to burning sensation and formation of ulcers in the stomach. The stomach gets habituated to produce an excess acid which is a very unhealthy practice. How many of us think about the inner difficulties of our body? Hardly any! We take care of every minute thing of our external body from our hair to nails. If you begin to take care about your inner organs, you are going to lead a healthy and happy life free of diseases.
  • Non-digestion of food:When we drink water while eating it goes into the stomach along with food. It obstructs digestive juices from reaching the food directly. The food breaks into small pieces with the help of digestive juices and takes a semi-liquid form. However, when we take water while eating it breaks the food into pieces but cannot digest it completely. The process of digestion takes more time. The weight of water is also more and the natural movements of stomach slowdown. This is also one of the reasons for delay in digestion. With this, the digestion process takes double the time of usual digestion.
  • Sagging Stomach: Generally two glasses of water take 15 minutes to mix in blood. However, when we take water along with food, it remains in the stomach till the food takes the form of liquid after digestion. It may take two to four hours. The stomach, which bears the weight of the food and water, sags. As food and water remain in the stomach for such a long time the food is fermented which is the reason for belching. Belly protrudes to some extent even among lean people.
  • Heaviness in Stomach: As the water and food remain in the stomach for long period, food gets fermented and gases are produced. It becomes a tight compartment. The heavy stomach puts pressure on the lower part of the lungs and the lungs contract by 20%-30%. As a result you find difficulty and uneasiness while breathing. The diaphragm, which is an important part in breathing process, undergoes pressure and its movements are restricted. Likewise, the muscles of our stomach which help respiration lose their capacity to expand and contract. The fermented gases neither moves up or down push the stomach forward leading to uneasiness and restlessness. In some cases, it may even result in chest pain which is often mistaken as heart ache by many.
  • Drowsiness: The oxygen we inhale to a large extent reaches the stomach and helps digestion. As long as the oxygen is in the stomach we feel drowsy. As the food remains in the stomach for a long period, the lungs receive less oxygen and we become dull, drowsy and weak. That is the reason why many people yarn continuously after food and some prefer to go for a nap; while some other sleep on the chairs in a sitting posture. School Children and Employees in the offices often resort to this practice. If we eat food without drinking water, we don’t experience this drowsiness because the food gets digested quickly.

3. The relationship Water and Digestion in the Intestines: The third and final phase of digestion takes place in the small intestines. The food that was digested in the above two stages reaches the small intestines for final process. The food when digested in this part is absorbed by the intestines in the form of semi juice. When the food is taken along with water, only partially digested food goes into the small intestines. The proteins and fats in the food are digested to some extent in the stomach where as the rest is digested in the small intestines by the digestive enzymes and juices that are produced at the junction where the intestines join the stomach. Since the food is not digested properly more digestive gases are produced for digestion. Here the food is pounded well, turns into liquid form and moves forward. Where there is water these movements are restricted. In this way, the process of digestion in the small intestines is also delayed as in the case of stomach. The intestines absorb the food that is not digested properly. As the food remains in the intestines along with water the food gets fermented and gases are produced. The intestines as such have some amount of gases in them. With the movements in intestines, gas tries to come out. We can also hear some sounds. Two hours after we take food, the digested food is ready to mix in the blood. It is more beneficial if we drink water now. If water is drunk during this period it mixes well with digested food and easily absorbed into the blood.

When the food is not digested properly the body absorbs the juices that are not digested completely. Millions of cells die and millions of new cells are formed in the body. The formation of new cells depends on the energy and essence of the food we eat. When the food is not digested properly, the intestines cannot absorb its full benefit. Almost 50% of the essence of the food we eat is purged out. The food we take initially becomes paste and then juice which is popularly known as glucose. The glucose is absorbed into blood and cells and body receives energy. If the food does not become the paste and converted to juice called glucose, we feel weak and feeble. The cells remain healthy and last long only when they receive properly digested food and nutrients.

The moment I have learned about the harm in drinking water while eating food, I stopped drinking water while eating. I have been following this practice for almost 3 years now. And believe me it’s a wonderful feeling which can only be experienced and felt. It’s really difficult to explain the feeling of being healthy. I recommend the readers to have a try and feel the pleasure of Dr. Raju’s principle of drinking water. You have to drink 2-4 glasses of water half an hour before you eat every time. This will quench your thirst and never feel thirsty while eating. Drink again after 2 hours of having your food. By this time most part of your digestion process is complete and it won’t take much time to quench your thirst. I have shared this secret of drinking water with many of my friends and many have given a positive response. In fact, most of the followers of Dr. Raju's Natural Way of Living begins their journey into this path with water therapy recommended by Dr. M.S. Raju.
Of late, I have come across a few comments from the readers favoring the practice of drinking water while eating. Instead of striking off their point of view immediately, I tried to research on their claim. I have gone through various books on nutrition, googled on internet, gathered information from people who are following this path and also from those who don't favor this. I came across a very interesting observation during my research. I have noticed that almost all the people including doctors and intellectuals from the west believes that drinking water while eating aids digestion. Contrary to that, people in the east especially in Asia believes that drinking water while eating hinders digestion. All Ayurvedic and naturopathy doctors claim drinking water while eating is harmful. Allopathy doctors however supported the western claim. That is certain because they believe only what they have read and studied in their books. I certainly knew that there must be some truth in both the claims. Being the sadhaka of Yoga I never believe in the believes. Yoga teaches to experiment on your body with an intelligence to experience the effects of an experiment. Since I was following the practice of not drinking water while eating, I already knew the benefits of doing so. Therefore I decided to drink water while eating. Not to my surprise, I found that it is hindering my digestion and getting all the symptoms mentioned above. Still I wanted to be very sure before making any claim. I continued my research further. On reading some of the ancient yoga texts I found that there are two reasons for these contradictory views among the people of East and the West.
The first reason is the distinct nature and type of food and second is the climate. The customary Indian food is made up of ¾  solid and ¼ liquid. The Asian people especially the Indians consume plenty of fruits and cooked food like Rice, Wheat and Jowar (solid) with vast variety of Vegetables, Dals (lentils), Sambar, Rasam, Yogurt etc (Semi Solid and Liquid). The food was so scientifically designed that you don't need any additional water while eating. Moreover, you are asked to drink 2-4 glasses of water half an hour before food. This water is quickly absorbed into the blood quenching your thirst and at the same time make the intestines wet aiding the food to move freely while and after digestion. Secondly you drink 5-6 liters of water throughout the day leaving a gap of half an hour before and two hours after eating food. Since the Indian food already contains enough water and the modern generation is ignorantly drinking more water while eating. It is therefore people like Dr. M.S. Raju stepped up to take us back to the roots by preaching these age old secrets of good health.    
According to an ancient yoga text of Chaandogya upanishad, solid foods, fluids and fats which fuel the body are each split up into sixteen parts on consumption. The gross part of the food becomes faeces, medium part becomes flesh and the subtlest becomes the mind in the ration of 10/16, 5/16 and 1/16 respectively. The grossest part of fluids become urine, the medium becomes blood and the subtlest becomes the prana (energy). Similarly, the grossest part of fats becomes the bone, the medium becomes the marrow and the subtlest becomes the speech. Unlike the modern scientists these findings are not based on animal experiments. They are purely based on personal experiments and experiences. A yogi named Shvetaketu lived on fluids for fifteen days and lost his power of thinking but regained it again as soon as he ate solid food. His power of speech diminished when he went without fats. This experience revealed to him that the mind is the product of food, energy of fluids and speech of fats.
The customary Indian food is based on some of these teachings of our ancestors. Some of my friends on facebook from China, Vietnam, Taiwan and Singapore mentioned few facts similar to this.
Contrary to this, the western food is totally different. Unlike the Indian food, western food is usually comprised of baked and dry foods like meat, pizza, burgers, and sausages served with salads, cream, catchup and sauces which contain less or almost no water content in them. Secondly, due to the cold weather conditions it is not possible for them to drink 5-6 liters of water a day and I suppose 3 liters a day is more than enough for them. Plenty of Dr. M.S. Raju's followers in the west are able to follow Dr. Raju's way of drinking water successfully because they make their food in Indian style even in America or any other State in the west. I am not yet sure on my part whether this is the exact reason why the people in the west believe that drinking water while eating helps digestion. I leave this up to the people who live there to experiment and experience the fact. As far as Indians are concerned they are enjoying the refined state of health after following the practice of avoiding water while eating.
Next time, hope to come up with another interesting topic on Natural Way of Living. Till then keep watching for updates…!
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