Not many of us know this, but drinking water after eating (immediately after having a meal) is in fact poisonous for our body! I am using the word poison here, because this habit of ours actually creates poisonous substances in our body.
Ayurveda has stated some rules/Sutras (Sanskrit word for rules) about when and how to drink water. When we start to look at these sutras from a scientific perspective, we realize how meaningful and effective these Sutras are. These sutras are also very easy to follow in our daily routine. By following this particular sutra about drinking water, you can avoid/control major diseases like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, other heart diseases etc.
“Digestion of food is more important than eating it”
Let’s understand Amashay / epigastrium:
There is a small part in our stomach called Epigastrium. In Sanskrit it is called as Jathar. Epigastrium is a small bag like organ present in our stomach. The food we eat first goes into it. Epigastrium stimulates the Jathar-agni / digestive fire to digest the food in it.
Lets understand Jathar-agni/digestive fire:
As soon as we take the first bite of our food (solid or liquid), our digestive fire starts to stimulate. This digestive fire (acid in stomach) helps us to digest our food. This digestive fire remains active till the digestion of the food is completed. This well digested food will convert into energy and will nourish our body.
What happens when we drink water immediately after our meal:
We all know that pouring water over fire puts out the fire. Similarly, when we drink water immediately after our meal, it puts out the digestive fire in our stomach (dilutes/weakens the digestive acid in our stomach). Some people even drink cold water after their meal which is very harmful. (Why? Read my other blog to know more about it: Is Drinking Refreshing Cold Water Making You Ill ? ) Also, people have a habit of drinking lots and lots of water after eating food.
We don’t realize it but all these daily habits of ours are creating poisonous substances in our body, which cause many diseases.
How exactly are the Poisons created inside our body?
As mentioned above, when we drink water immediately after meal, the digestive fire/acid will be weakened. Because of this, our stomach becomes stagnant pond of water with undigested food in it. So instead of digestion, fermentation of food starts in our stomach. Fermentation is nothing but the decomposition of food. This decomposition of food creates the following poisons in our body.
What are these Poisonous substances?
1. Uric acid:
First poison is the increase in Uric acid levels. Symptoms of increase in uric acid levels are:
Pain in knee, shoulder and waist joints.
Swelling and pain in the ankles, feet, wrists or elbows.
2. LDL (low-density lipoproteins) / Bad cholesterol:
Second poison is the increase in LDL cholesterol levels. We all know that when level of LDL cholesterol increases in our body it becomes difficult for the blood to flow through the veins of heart. This increases blood pressure. If this poison continues to increase everyday it blocks the heart veins. Ultimately it will cause heart attack.
3. VLDL (Very low density lipoproteins):
This type of cholesterol is more dangerous than the LDL type of cholesterol. If the level of this cholesterol increases, it is life threatening.
4. Increase in triglycerides levels:
High triglycerides levels increases the risk of heart diseases. Very high triglycerides may cause blocking of the blood supply to the heart or the brain.
So from above information, we can say that many of the heart and blood related problems could be caused by our daily habit of drinking water immediately after a meal. Next time if someone says that their cholesterol, triglycerides or uric acid levels have increased, know that their body is not digesting the food properly. “Digestion of food is more important than eating it”
How long should you wait to drink water after a meal?
- You can take one or two sips of water immediately after having a meal just to rinse/clear your mouth and esophagus (tube that carries food, liquids and saliva from your mouth to the stomach)
- According to Ayurveda, one should drink water after 1 hour 48 minutes of having a meal. This much time is required for the digestion of the food in our stomach. After this time duration the digestive fire naturally slows down. At this time our body requires water to circulate this digested food throughout the body. You can drink as much water as you want after this time.
(I know It is very difficult to wait 1 hour 48 minutes after a meal to drink water. So it might not be possible for everyone to wait that long. But still you should try to wait at least 45 minutes to 1 hour before you drink water. Once you are used to this habit, you can gradually increase the time.)
- People with higher metabolism (if you do more physical activities or any kind of heavy exercises) can drink water after 1 hour of having their meal. As higher metabolism digests the food faster.
These simple lifestyle or habit changes can protect you from major life threatening diseases. The National Cholesterol Education Program advises that everyone have a lipid profile every five years starting at age 20. Take charge of your health and Remember this “prevention is always better than cure”.