06 Apr Quick-Tip: When NOT to Drink Water
We’ve all heard this: Drink. More. Water.
Yes, hydration is super important. We’re made up of mostly water (and microbes ~ more on that another time.)
What I want to share today is when not to gulp up.
That is: during a meal.
Your digestion will thank you with this 1 simple tip.
Allow me to explain from a few points of view.
According to East Asian medicine, our digestive fire needs to be strong when we take in food. This is an important part of the breakdown process–what we call ‘transformation and transportation’ in TCM.
When our central fire is burning, we can make best nutritional use out of the food we consume.
Ayurveda holds the same principle. Water is a coolant that weakens agni or “digestive strength.” It’s advised to keep a large window before/after meals to properly allow the digestion to prepare for the food ahead.
By prophetic wisdom, our dear Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised us not to drink during meals and directly after a meal. This makes sense as well since digestion can last anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours+ depending on the content of the meal – i.e., fruit v.s. steak v.s. (im)proper food combining.
We’re advised to slowly sip water with three breaths in between each sip about 30 mins before/after a meal.
We also know through conventional science that our stomach breaks down food mechanically (muscle movement) and chemically (juices: acids + enzymes). Adding water to the mix will dilute essential digestive juices and add more burden to the mechanical function of our stomach+.
We don’t want to do this. We want all the help we can get with digesting what we take in by keeping those secretions potent.
If you absolutely need to drink something, have just a small amount of water or warm tea. This may also be a sign that you’re not chewing well enough. Be sure to mindfully chew your food well so that you don’t feel the need to “chase it down” ~ that’s a bad habit after-all. By ‘chew well’, go by this old-saying:
“Chew your drink, and drink your food.”
Allow your juice, smoothies, beverages, and water to slowly go down your esophagus – don’t gulp. Also, chew your food so well that it becomes a liquid and is easy to pass down.
With practice, you’ll soon find that you won’t need any fluids with your meals; you’ll be perfectly fine with drinking some water well after you’re done eating.
So, there you have it! 1 easy tip to keep your gut happy + body.
Do you like these quick tips? Let me know in the comments below and/or follow @drsebaa on Instagram for more.
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