Water & digestion

Digestion allows the body to absorb nutrients from the food we eat and to pass them through intestinal wall and into our bloodstream, which in turn brings the vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and carbohydrates to the rest of the body.

Drinking water is part of that process and if taken prior to eating can help improve digestion. Our bodies cannot digest food without adequate water. The process known as hydrolysis, changes starches, proteins and fats into smaller molecules of nutrients that cells need. In the intestines, water helps the body absorb solids and pass waste through for elimination.

Saliva that initiates digestion of starches with the enzyme amylase also consists mainly of water. It is well known that the entire digestive system works more efficiently when it’s well-hydrated, but drinking while eating can interfere with natural levels of stomach acid and bile needed in the stomach to properly digest food.

Drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal helps us to better digest our food. This is because water helps starts mucus production in the stomach. Stomachs also contain acid and enzymes that digests protein and the mucous lining protects our stomach tissue from these.

Equally, there is no concern that water will dilute the digestive juices or interfere with digestion. In fact, sipping water slowly during or after a meal will also aid digestion, as water and other liquids help break down food so that our bodies can absorb the nutrients. Water can also help manage our weight and in that way, plays another key role in digestion.

Put simply, water takes up space in the stomach. This means that drinking a glass of water before eating can help us eat less overall. Having experimented with this theory for the past couple of weeks myself, I have to say it works. My digestion is better and I’m not overeating at meal times.


5 Oct, 2014

6 thoughts on “Water & digestion

  1. Great post and information. We all need to know how our digestion works.

    We also need to know the importance of water with our digestion. Water also helps keep us regular. Without adequate water we tend to suffer with constipation.

    1. Thanks Lisa. Yes you’re right, water together with a good diet and exercise helps us stay regular. I tend to see it as the whole package. Water clearly has its benefits.

  2. Very interesting article. I think I will have to start doing this before each meal.

    It is true that drinking water before a meals fills you up, which in turn makes you eat less… a win win all round!

    1. Thanks Claudia. Having started it already a couple of weeks ago, I know it works. My digestion is a lot better. I can eat food now that I couldn’t before I started to drink water before a meal.

      t agree it’s a win win situation all round. We should all get something from it.

  3. This is an interesting blog. I would have assumed that drinking before eating would dilute stomach acid and enzymes, thereby reducing the efficiency of our digestion system, but this seems not to be the case.

    I’ll have to give it a go.

    1. I think we probably all have either heard or assumed this ourselves over the years.

      It’s what I was told by my mum, but these things are also out there in the media. As times move on, thoughts change about how to do things and as thoughts change we begin to learn new things about our health.

      Drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal, I know how much it helps me.

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