Stop Drinking Water With Meals--Seriously

10/04/2011

Drinking water
Optimal health = drinking tons of water especially considering that 60 percent of the body is water, 70 percent of the brain is water, and the lungs are 90 percent water. A well hydrated body works better and looks better. But while staying hydrated is important to your health, drinking water during meals actually slows our digestion. It’s even worse if the water is cold.

The ancient science of Ayurveda says that drinking water during meals, specifically cold water, puts out our digestive fire so that our bodies don’t properly digest the foods we eat. As a result, it’s recommended that you avoid drinking water at least 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after your meal. If you must have a drink, sip on a room temperature beverage. 

Modern science puts it a different way, but the message is still the same. Drinking too much water during meals can interfere with the natural levels of bile and acid in the stomach, slowing digestion. Reducing the ability of the digestive enzymes to properly digest foods could cause a build up of toxic waste in the body. After all, it doesn’t matter what you eat, if the body can't properly digest it. 

Hydration Considerations

According to the science of Ayurveda, the digestive fire is already weaker in the winter, so it's especially important to keep water at room temperature. Avoid drinks that slow digestion like alcohol, soft drinks, and sugary juices. Stick with room temperature water and caffeine-free teas. Beyond drinking water, make sure that you eat foods that are naturally hydrating like fruits and vegetables, and avoid foods that deplete the body of water like coffee and alcohol. 

Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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More on Hydration
Benefits of Drinking Water 

Does drinking eight glasses of water really hydrate skin? 
Diet Dos for Glowing Skin 


Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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