The human body uses water for the functions that maintain life. This makes water one of the most essential nutrients your body needs. People can survival a considerable amount of time without food, but remarkably few days without drinking water. Drinking water with a meal can offer some benefits to digestion as well.
Most of us know that drinking eight glasses of water a day is important to stay healthy and hydrated. And while hydration is genuinely important for our health, if you’re gulping all that water with your meals it can actually have a negative impact on your digestion.
It’s true that the entire digestive system works more efficiently when it’s well-hydrated, but this doesn’t mean it should be flooded with cold water right when it’s working to digest your meal. Too much water during meals can interfere with natural levels of acid and bile needed in the stomach to properly digest your food. In particular, too much cold water during meals can slow digestion and may cause cramping in sensitive individuals.
Why water has much significance?
The human body is made up of 60 percent water. This fact alone tells you how crucial water is to life. Every physiological function and organ depends at some level on water. It helps flush toxins, transports nutrients, controls body temperature and provides moisture to membranes. You lose water every minute through sweat, breathing and waste removal, so you need to refill the water supply to maintain body functioning. Digestion is one of the processes that benefit from water intake.
Tips for Drinking Water with Meals
Generally, it is considered wise to avoid drinking water from about 15 minutes before you eat until at least one hour after you eat. But it’s all too common for people to go to extremes with this advice. Avoiding any and all liquids before, during and after meals is rarely needed to see improvements in digestion. Instead, apply these simple tips for drinking at mealtime:
- Think small sips: You don’t have to forego water during meals altogether. Instead, choose to take small sips of water during your meal. This is great for cleansing the palate and maintaining hydration without flooding your digestive system with massive amounts of water just when it’s getting down to business. You can also add a squeeze of lemon to your water to help aid the digestive process.
- Choose warm over cold: Iced drinks may be particularly problematic during meals, especially for those with existing digestive problems. If you’d like to have something to sip on during meals, warm liquids are friendlier for digestion. Warm tea is excellent to accompany your meal, and can actually aid digestion rather than impair it.
- Hydrate before you eat: If you frequently find yourself thirsty during and after your meals, it may help to make a habit of drinking a glass or two of pure water about 15 to 30 minutes before you eat. This can prevent the urge to drink too much water while your stomach is working to digest your meal.
- Stay hydrated during the rest of the day: Drinking during meals can be a difficult habit to break. However, it’s easier to do if you keep yourself hydrated the rest of the time. Begin your day by drinking a glass or two of pure water and then make a habit of repeating this between meals. Soon you’ll be well-hydrated and won’t crave large amounts of water during your meals.
There is no reason to become rigid about drinking during meals. It will depend on the individual how much of an impact this has on his/her digestion, but it’s worth considering if you have problems with gas
, bloating or pain after meals.