Go to any restaurant and you will be asked “what would you like to drink what that?” Menus at restaurants have a long list of drinks to include with our meal and 85% of them are cold with extra ice and full of sugar (though sugar is another topic). This is not limited to restaurants, when people eat at home, most would not consider having a meal without a tall glass of water (usually cold) or some other liquid. Unfortunately, this habit is contributing to poor digestion.
A few signs of a sluggish digestion:
- Gas or bloating
- Sluggishness after eating
- Constipation (or irregular bowel movements)
Good digestion is critical part of a well function body. Digestion takes place in the stomach; this is where enzymes, bile and everything else comes together to break down the food solids that we have ingested. After chewing (hopefully slowing and properly) the body then gets to work to get the solids moving through the intestines. When we drink a full glass of water with the meal we are diluting the enzymes and stomach acid needed for digestion. Without this strong concentration of enzymes and stomach acid, the stomach cannot properly digest the food, leading to the discomforts listed above. Add to this mix ice-cold liquids and it slows down digestion even more. Think of your digestion like a fire (agni as they call it in Ayurveda). Fire and water don’t mix very well, especially cold water.
Don’t worry, you can still have liquids, just make sure you sip them throughout the meal. Favor warm or hot liquids, such as hot water, tea or just drink room temperature water. If wine is important for you, just sip and enjoy it slowly. Also, don’t drink a big glass before your meal or about an hour after.