Digestion allows the body to absorb nutrients from the food we eat, to pass them through the 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.