I had no idea that glugging water before, during, and after the meals can hamper my digestive power. How would I know? I've grown up in a society where kids only hear from their parents that doctor uncle has asked to drink a lot of water. But very little did we hear about the right time to drink water. Thanks to this friend of mine, (who has taught me so many good habits that I'm indebted to her) I finally came to know about it. It's in our nature to defend our age old customs and beliefs whenever they have been challenged. It's hard to swallow the bitter truth that what we've known for so many years, what most of our parents have taught us is wrong. This is how we exist; a trammeled existence that has been fettered by the slow accretion of our dead habits. But these habits can be changed, no matter how difficult they may seem.
If you want to know whether you are drinking enough water daily, just check if you are feeling thirsty. If you are not, then your fluid intake is normal. However, drinking glasses of water along with your meals may not be the best way to quench your thirst. It's a common blunder practiced in most of the Indian households. What we have learned is that downing water with meals is essential to wash down the food. Very little do we know how harmful it becomes for our digestion, especially for those who are already suffering with digestive problems.
Let's put it this way. I bet you have noticed that you get hungry almost on the same time on a regular basis? Your tummy have a knack of knowing when you eat and releases digestive juices (that makes you feel hungry). If you drink water just because you are hungry, you are actually diluting and washing away the digestive juices that came out to help your stomach digest the food. So ultimately you are preventing your food from breaking down and getting absorbed by your body.
Doctors agree that sipping a little water while you are eating can't cause much harm but drinking a glass or two can surely play havoc with your digestive system. It's best to drink water 2 hours before and after the meals as this helps in absorption of the nutrients. When you drink right after you have finished eating, you are letting the water get absorbed by the intestinal walls of your stomach that releases the digestive juices. So you are successfully blocking the way of the digestive juices from coming out and as a result you have to suffer with undigested foods. This leads to acidity and heart burn. Just when you thought it couldn't be worse than this, studies have found that drinking water with meals increases your insulin levels. The more insulin is released into your blood stream, the greater the chances of storing fat in your body.
To avoid drinking water right after you finish your meals, make sure your food is not too salty. Eating salty food increases your thirst and forces you to drink water. Also, eating too fast will make you feel that drinking water will help you swallow the food easily. You will feel like washing down the food while you are eating so that you can chew some more, but this unhealthy practice is a silent killer. You are young and strong now. But this incredible machine, which we take for granted while it functions well, is not going to stay the same forever.