Water Intake: Before, During, or After Meals?


Should you Drink Water Before or After Eating?

This is a question that people ask often. Some suggest that you should only drink water before your meals but not immediately after. Others say it’s healthier to drink it after. Some even think you should drink water in between meals. You must have wondered, what exactly should we do with all these conflicting answers? We’ll respond from an Ayurvedic perspective.

Ayurveda has an interesting position on this topic, as it advises that you only drink water in between your meals, and not immediately before or after. Here’s why: drinking water before eating impairs the digestion process because water is a coolant that dilutes the gastric juice. That works directly against the digestion idea, doesn’t it?

On the other hand, drinking water immediately after having your food may affect the quality of the food and the digestive strength of the body. Water after meals adds a coolant effect to it, and may, over time, cause obesity. So there you have it: drinking water before and after meals aren’t healthy. Should you drink water only during meals? Exactly. Why? Keep reading to find out.

Here’s how drinking water only during meals works: water moistens the food you eat and helps break it down into fine and smaller particles. If your meal is oily or spicy, it helps to satisfy your thirst. Quite healthy and satisfying, isn`t it? Well, be careful, however, not to consume heavy quantities of water during your meals to avoid getting full of water instead of food. You only need to periodically sip minimal quantities. And of course, stick to water at room temperature, as drinking cold water during meals has its health implications. You’re also advised to avoid consuming aerated drinks or coffee while having your food as these too have their health implications.

After having your meal, wait for a minimum of 30 minutes before drinking some water to quench your thirst and give you a feeling of fullness. After an hour or two, you may drink as much water as you want, as the digestion process will be over at the time.

What if I have medications to take before my meal? So you probably imagine that this too is unhealthy. Well, technically, yes, if you’re taking it immediately before your meal. You should have your medication 30 minutes before your meal.

Best Times to Drink Water

We have said so much about water with meals. How about your regular water consumption without meals? Are there better times to drink water? Or any time is fine? Well, drinking water at certain times is healthier than doing so at other times. We have compiled the best times to drink water in order to maximize its effectiveness in your body. Keep reading.

After Waking up

Drink a glass of water immediately after waking up to activate your internal organs. The water you drink at this time will eliminate toxins in your body before you have your first meal of the day.

Before a Meal

Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before each meal to improve digestion. Remember that drinking too soon before or after a meal will dilute the digestive juices, and that’s not healthy. You may also drink water an hour after the meal to enable the body to absorb the nutrients.

Before a Bath

It’s healthy to drink a glass of water before taking a bath to help lower your blood pressure.

Before Sleep

You’re advised to drink a glass of water an hour before bedtime to replenish any fluid you may lose during the night.

Water Drinking Schedule

drinking waterSo much about timing, yeah? Well, it`s all for good health`s sake. Remember that it is healthy to drink at least eight glasses of water daily. Wondering how to achieve this and stay committed to it? Here’s a drinking schedule you could incorporate into your daily schedule.

7:00 a. m.: 1st Glass

Drink your first glass of water immediately after you wake up, or not later 7 a. m. to hydrate your body after a long night’s rest. You should eat your breakfast at least half an hour after the first drink of water.

9:00 a.m.: 2nd Glass

This should come approximately an hour after breakfast.

11:30 a. m.: 3rd Glass

Here’s your third glass of the day, coming at least 30 minutes before lunch.

01:30 p. m.: 4th Glass

At this time, you’ve probably had lunch and drinking a glass of water an hour after to allow the nutrients from the food to get absorbed by your body.

03:00 p.m.: 5th Glass

This is probably your tea break or a time when you anticipate the close of the day’s work. Have a glass of water to refresh your mind and body.

05:00 p. m.: 6th Glass

We’re assuming you eat dinner as early as 7, which is the healthy thing to do. This sixth glass of water will keep you satiated and help you avoid overeating during dinner.

08:00 p. m.: 7th Glass

This comes about an hour after dinner and before your night bath.

10:00 p.m.: 8th Glass

Here’s your last glass of water for the day, an hour before bedtime. It will enhance the cell renewal process during your sleep.

5 Reasons not to Drink Water Immediately After Eating Fruits

So fruits aren’t left out of this. Whether it’s a proper meal or a fruit item, give at least 30 minutes before drinking some water. Here’s what happens when you drink water immediately after eating fruits.

Slows Down Digestion

Drinking water after eating fruits limits the absorption and digestion process in the stomach and causes acidity. This explains the uneasiness you probably feel after eating fruits. So henceforth, you might want to avoid drinking water until an hour after eating fruits.

Risk of Stomach Cramps and Flatulence

stomach painFruits contain a substantial amount of fructose and yeast, so drinking water immediately after having fruits may cause dilution of stomach acids, thereby creating an environment where yeast can thrive and eventually result in the production of carbon dioxide and alcohol, leading to a build-up of gas in the stomach.

Raises the Blood Sugar Levels

The slowed down the digestion process as a result of drinking water immediately after eating fruits leaves a lot of undigested food in the digestive system, resulting in the conversion to fat and causing an insulin surge, which then raises blood sugar levels and causes obesity and diabetes.

Disruption in the pH Level

Drinking water after eating fruits, especially those with high water content like cucumber, orange, watermelon, strawberry, and muskmelon disrupts the levels of acidity or alkalinity of the digestive system. This happens because fruits that contain high water content can upset the pH levels by reducing the acidity in the stomach.

Dilutes Gastric Juices

When you drink water immediately after meals, the water dilutes the gastric juice and digestive enzymes that are required for digestion. This dilution of gastric juice in turn results in a reduction in the rate of the secretion of digestive enzymes that then causes heartburn and acidity.

Now that you Know…

So, yes, it is vital to drink water often, however, consistently erring on the timing of water consumption could cause various health challenges, as you have seen. Adequate water consumption with proper timing is vital for the optimal functioning of organs and good health. Go ahead to practice healthy living with your newly-acquired knowledge and watch yourself soar from one level of healthiness to another.