At most restaurants, the first thing a waiter will offer you is a drink. The same goes for fast food restaurants, pizzerias, movie theaters and anywhere else food is served. That must mean it's customary to drink with every meal, right?
Drinking water, wine, soda or juice with your meals or even soon thereafter, is not only incompatible with good digestion, it helps to create indigestion.
Indigestion, or upset stomach, is a term that describes discomfort or pain in the upper abdomen.
Indigestion Is Common, But It's Also Optional
The symptoms of indigestion are common. These include but are not limited to hiccups, belching, heartburn, stomach cramps, gas, bloating, and general discomfort after eating. Some less common symptoms are insomnia, mouth clenching and teeth grinding in both children and adults.
Indigestion can be avoided
The good news is, indigestion can be a thing of. One way to rid yourself of indigestion is to stop drinking with meals for the following reasons:
- There's not an animal in nature that does this. Watch your pet or an animal in the wild eat. When an animal feeds, it's usually in a field or a forest. Does the animal stop eating it's prey to gulp down some water? No. Another example is an Ape. Does an ape look for water while it's eating? How about a horse, or a bear? While some cats and dogs may drink with food, that's likely because they're on processed food/kibble diets. Ask a canned or raw-fed dog owner if their cat/dog drinks with meals. The answer is likely no.
- Drinking with meals skips an important and necessary part of digestion. When you wash down meals with drinks, you bypass the salivary process. By not allowing ptyalin, the digestive enzyme, to break down your food, it enters the stomach unprocessed. This causes the stomach to pick up the slack and work double-time to break down your food. If the stomach does not fully break down the unprocessed food, the food will lay in the gut stalling digestion, affecting gut flora, and basically polluting the blood stream until it ferments and is able to pass.
- Drinking with meals dilutes the gastric juices that aid in digestion. Stomach acid pours into the stomach when you eat. Its purpose is to break down food for entry into the small intestine. Drinking with meals dilutes these much needed gastric enzymes, impeding digestion and again leaving the gut to pick up the slack.
When Is The Best Time To Drink?
The best time to drink is before meals or three hours after meals so as not to interfere with digestion. Studies show that drinking before meals may aid in weight loss. A study by researchers at Virginia Tech supports this idea, finding that dieters who drank two eight-ounce glasses of water before meals lost more weight than those who didn’t.
In the event you're not certain of how and when to drink water, simply follow your natural instincts.
- Always drink according to thirst. Do not get into the habit of mindless sipping. Unless you're thirsty, there's no reason to sip water all day.
- Drink water at room temperature. (Cool water is ok, but ice water will change the temperature of the hydrochloric acid in the stomach slowing digestion.)
- Drink the purest water you can find. I recommend distilled water.
- Avoid processed foods. They create thirst.
- Do not drink with meals to cool down your food. Rather, enjoy your food once it has cooled.
Drinking with meals is more of a bad cultural habit, than it is a necessity. Over time you will find your body will be much better adept at digesting its food than it would if you were drinking with your meals.