Sometimes after a wonderful meal, when you feel ready to continue the rest of your day, your pants suddenly feel tighter or your stomach feels twice its normal size! We’ve all been through this. You may even experience cramps, gas and belching after a while. These all are classical signs of bloating and indigestion. While some underlying health conditions sometimes do cause bloating, it’s a common occurrence and can be rectified with small but significant changes.
I recently learned about these while researching on my sprouts article. I’ve been following this since more than a month now and I’ve already started noticing big changes in terms of digestion, bloating and other general stomach issues. I wanted to share this with all of you too.
So here are some things you can consider not doing, right after eating a meal, to help you avoid those uncomfortable stomach related episodes.
TAKING A NAP
We often find ourselves plunging into bed after a heavy meal. Yes, we all have been through that irresistible urge. But have you noticed, waking up still feeling full from the meal? That’s because the meal has not been digested at all! When you lie down immediately after eating, the digestive juices from the stomach rise up to the food pipe causing heartburns and this can often cause various health issues like discomfort, gas pains, and even bad sleep. Another reason is that sleeping on a full stomach exerts pressure on the diaphragm resulting in snoring and sleep apnea. When you lie down, the digestive juices travel in opposite direction. This leads to increase in the acid reflux or can cause acid reflux. The burning sensation in the chest which you get when you lie down after a meal is because of the corroding of the inner layer of your food pipe. A short nap post eating doesn’t even feel relaxing after waking up. Studies also show that going to bed hours after having a meal reduces the chances of having a stroke or heart attack. So it is better to fight off the sleepiness and don’t give in to falling asleep until at least two hours after the meal is eaten.
TAKING A SHOWER
As shocking as it may sound, taking a shower after a meal is a very bad idea. When we take a shower, the blood around the stomach flows to the other parts of the body, instead of helping with digestion, which incapacitates the body to absorb the necessary ingredients, thereby weakening the process of digestion. Ideally after a meal, your stomach is craving for most blood flow to be focussed on it for digestion purpose, and by showering you end up doing just the opposite. Our body also requires optimal blood circulation for proper bodily functions. When you shower, the blood tends to rush to the skin in order to regulate the temperature of the body which often creates digestive problems as well. To digest your food properly, you need sufficient energy and a good amount of blood flow toward the stomach. So no matter how tempting a bath post meal may sound, you should wait for at least an hour before jumping into the shower.
It is healthy habit for every person to drink enough water everyday to flush out toxins and stay healthy. Staying hydrated should always be your priority but having a drink right after your meals is not really helpful. Most of us gulp down glasses of water right after eating a meal or even take sips during meals. This practice may disrupt digestion. Consuming water after meals dilute your gastric juice secretion and enzymes, which is a major trigger for acidity. Drinking water during or after a meal may interfere with the natural levels of acid and bile that are essential for proper digestion of food. Furthermore, drinking cold water might slow down your normal digestion and may lead to cramping in some people. Resist the urge of drinking water for at least an hour after a meal and also avoid sipping water with food.
DRINKING TEA & COFFEE
This is a tricky one since there are conflicting opinions on drinking tea right after meals. Tea leaves are acidic in nature. If you consume protein in a meal, the acid from the tea will harden the protein content, making it difficult to digest. Tea which also contains phenolic compounds, inhibits the absorption of iron in the body. Drinking tea immediately after a meal also has been proven to interfere with iron absorption by the body, reducing upto 87% which overtime can lead to anemia, pale skin, cold hands and feet, dizziness and loss of appetite in many people. The same goes with Coffee. However, some studies claim that drinking tea helps in digestion by reducing the chances of gas formation. So if you would still like to have that cup of tea, opt for green tea, herbal teas or ginger tea. Wait at least an hour after any meal for tea, coffee or any other liquids for that matter.
Just like showering, if you exercise right after eating a heavy meal, it can hamper your digestion process. This goes for swimming as well or any other heavy physical activity as a full stomach can cause stomach cramps, vomiting, stomach puffiness and even loose motions. Your body needs some time to digest food before you can exercise. It is not just climbing rocks or running, even walking right after having a meal is a bad idea. Most of us believe that walking after a meal aids digestion. But you will be surprised to know that it can result in serious acid reflux and indigestion. However, walking about half an hour after meals is considered perfectly healthy. But for all other heavy physical activity, wait for at least a few hours.
Smoking at any cost is injurious to your health. That goes without saying. However it can do even more harm when one smokes right after a meal. Cigarettes contain at least sixty carcinogens (the substances that can cause cancer). It is claimed that if you smoke right after a meal, nicotine binds with the oxygen required in the digestion, making your body absorb more carcinogens. Scientists have warned that one cigarette after a meal can dramatically increase the risk of certain cancers – such as bowel cancer and lung cancer. It may also worsen irritable bowel syndrome and cause ulcerative colitis. It is said that smoking after a meal is equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes. No matter how true or false this is, there is no scientific evidence yet, but smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your health and you should not smoke anyhow.
Undoubtedly, fresh fruits are among the healthiest foods on this planet, but timing is key for it be effective. We all know that different foods take varying amounts of time to digest. Fruits are by far the easiest to digest as they take just 20 minutes to travel from your stomach to your intestines. Which is why, they should always be eaten first, preferably on an empty stomach or at least an hour before a meal or two hours after a meal. If eaten directly after a meal, fruits will not only remain undigested, but you also won’t get essential nutrients from them. Fruits have simple sugars which easily digest but when consumed after a meal, they tend to just sit along with the food you’ve just eaten. Instead of reaching the intestine where they are processed, they decompose in the stomach and aids formation of gas. If you experience symptoms like indigestion, heartburn, burping and other digestive discomforts, don’t blame the meal! Most cases, it could just be a bad food combination like in this case, the fermentation of food with fruits being the cause for your stomach to act weird.
Sprouts are living foods and immense care needs to be taken when you consume them. It’s not just the timing that needs to be considered. I’ve written an extensive well researched article on this. You can click here to read.
Brushing before sleeping is a very healthy routine, however it is not a good idea to brush your teeth immediately after dinner or after any other meal for that matter. Brushing after eating will scrub away the layers of enamel on the teeth. Furthermore, when you eat or drink acidic food, or those with a lot of sugar, it is extremely harmful for your teeth. To protect your teeth enamel, wait for at least 30 minutes, and allow the mouth to produce sufficient saliva to neutralize the acidity of the food that soften the tooth enamel.
TIGHT CLOTHES OR LOOSENING BELT
This is a common told saying that don’t loosen the belt immediately after a heavy meal. For starters, it’s a sign that you’ve eaten a lot more than was necessary. Your meal shouldn’t really be making you experience discomfort. And secondly, although there is lack of scientific evidence, it is believed that loosening the waist belt immediately after eating might cause the intestines to get tangled and blocked, hampering the process of digestion. To prevent this, remember to loosen the belt prior to every meal. Also avoid wearing tight clothes after eating because they can put pressure on your abdomen and cause pain in the digestive system. Try to wear comfortable pants that allow you to move and sit easily.
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