A simple habit, like drinking liquids to wash down your food could be the key player in your digestion issues. If you experience indigestion, heartburn, irritability, bloating, fatigue, headaches, food cravings, difficulty losing weight or depression – then maybe this is one habit you need to reconsider.

Drinking fluids with your meal. Most of us our guilty of “washing down our food” with fluids to allow us to eat those last few morsels on our plate. But what most of us don’t realize is that this is actually terrible for our digestion and could trigger any of the symptoms mentioned above. Something as simple as drinking fluids could result in an inability to lose weight.

While this goes against our soda/juice/ice water sponsored meals, we need to break the habit of drinking and eating simultaneously. When you stop drinking to ease your swallowing, you end up eating more mindfully. This means that you chew your food more thoroughly, and as a result you feel fuller faster. Which means, that you will no longer be overeating and your caloric intake will naturally decrease.

Digestion is a long process that begins in the mouth; so chewing properly means your saliva glands will start breaking food down better and hence better digestion. When you drink liquids while eating, this interferes with the production of saliva glands, your digestive enzymes and stomach acid – which makes your digestion incomplete and thus your excretion will be delayed. This could create trouble losing weight and getting rid of toxins, which then end up building in the digestive organ, and inhibit the body’s ability to break down fat.

Vani Hari, a food expert, discussed in her book The Food Babe Way the best times to drink your fluids

  • Drink water or other liquids twenty minutes before meals
    That way the liquid won’t interfere with digestion. According to one study, people who drank two glasses of water before their meals lost around fifteen pounds over a three-month period. Research suggests that doing this makes you feel more full and reduces your caloric intake
  • Drink fluids after a meal
    This is the second-best time to drink your fluids, but wait at least thirty minutes so your food is well on its way along the digestion process.
  • If you must drink with meals, sip on warm beverages
    Herbal tea and warm water with lemon are good options for this. When your beverage’s temperature is closer to your body it eases digestion rather than disturb it. For more on this, read our article about The Worst Thing to Drink with Your Meals

To help your body attain a healthy digestive system, plan your liquid intake to work with your digestion and not against it. Next time you eat, ditch the beverages and let your saliva ease your swallowing like nature intended it to.