We are all familiar with the habit of having our water close by when taking a meal. After all, could there be a more perfect time to have a fresh glass of water or juice or cold/icy tea or even a hot cup of tea than when having our meals? I could have never agreed more because I, like many people out there , had this habit until I knew better…
What drinking water during a meal does to your body….
You should never sit at your meals with a glass of water, tea, juice, etc because this greatly hinders the digestive process. If you are drinking any fluids with your meal your food is not going to digest if at all. The stomach’s job is to break down the food we take.
The stomach’s acidity ranges between 1.5 and 3.5, which is very acid and this is great because it allows it to effectively break down the food. Drinking fluids while eating a meal neutralizes the stomach’s acidity or waters it down so that it is no more able to effectively break down the food.
Some people drink up to 2 glasses of water after every meal. Drinking more than ½ a glass of water just after a meal dilutes the digestive juices in the stomach, thereby slowing down digestion. One can drink water half( ½) an hour before a meal or one hour and a half (1 ½ )hour to two hours after a meal.
What you need to know about digestion….
Having meals at specific time…
- The body clock is set to expect food at specific times. Therefore, it gets the body ready for the digestion cycle. This also means that acid preparation in the stomach is triggered for proper digestion and if food does not get there at those specific times, there is acid reflux which, in the long haul is not good for the body. This is one of the reasons why we should try hard to have specific meals time and also not to miss them often.
Do not stuff your stomach till it is 100% full…
- The stomach is a hollow muscle that needs 20 to 25% free space to churning food so that it is mixed properly with digestive juices. This is the reason why, it is advised to not stuff our stomach till it is 100% full no matter how tasty the food is. This will stress out the stomach, hamper digestion and cause you trouble in the long run.
Chew Chew Chew…. Chew your food baby
- When we do not chew food well and long enough , this makes it difficult and time consuming for it to be broken down when it reaches the stomach. What we need to be reminded of is that the preparation for proper digestion starts way before food gets into the mouth. It starts in the brain right from the time a person starts thinking of the type of food he desires or expects. The foods images and sensations feed the brain with information, and the brain in turn sends out signals to all the relevant organs to start preparing for that particular type of food. Digestive juices and enzymes begin to get secreted right from this point in time. Salivation is one of those processes that we experience quite well.
- Not having meals at regular times when they are expected is the reason for acid build-up in the stomach due to the unused hydrochloric acid that was prepared in time. As we put food in the mouth, saliva secreted from the salivary glands mixes with food, enabling the digestion of natural sugars. Saliva contains salivary amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into glucose. Bicarbonate ions in saliva neutralize the acids in foods. Mucus in the saliva moistens the food mass and lubricates the oesophagus. For all these constituents of saliva to act efficiently, it is important to chew food well.
Keep chewing your food baby….
- This gives the digestive enzymes some time to do their work. It also allows you to relish the taste of the food for a longer time. If we choose to eat our food slowly, in a peaceful state of mind, all this happens automatically. When we eat food in a hurry, it does not get chewed well, and we do not even get enough pleasure from the experience. And you know why?because the taste buds are only in the mouth, after we swallow the food, the tasty experience is over. To prolong the tasty experience we put the next morsel of food in our mouths. The bad habit of “stuffing ourselves” comes from trying to prolong the tasty experience that is shortened by quickly swallowing food instead of chewing it. People who chew their food well get satisfied and do not end up overeating.
What about a little nap after eating?
- After a good meal, many of us are in the habit of taking a nap. This hampers the flow of food, and in turn, the digestion process. Yes, peristalsis does take care of the food movement in the intestines, but sleeping horizontally puts up a big resistance to food flow.