How to Drink More Water for Better Digestion
While most people know that they should drink more water throughout the day, up to 75 percent of the US population are estimated to be chronically dehydrated.
This isn’t really surprising, with Americans now buying more diuretic soda than water, but this dehydration extracts a heavy cost on both your wellness and your appearance.
Here’s how to drink more water with a simple practice that ensures you keep well hydrated throughout the day.
If you follow this easy rule, and start drinking more water throughout the day, it will quickly improve your digestive health and can even help reduce hunger and aid in losing extra weight.
The Dehydration Epidemic
Water is vital for cellular hydration, communication and normal functioning; proper digestion, nutrient assimilation and delivery; body temperature regulation; liver and kidney detoxification; immune system function and many other important processes that keep your body alive and working.
Usual early warning signs of dehydration include tiredness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, headaches and lightheadedness. Unfortunately, many people misinterpret these symptoms and instead reach for food or coffee instead of the water their body needs.
Dehydration is also a common cause of poor digestion as your body needs plenty of water for saliva, digestive juices and to keep food moving through your entire gastrointestinal tract.
Intestinal cramps may also be caused by a lack of water. Constipation is often directly due to dehydration as well.
Clearly, if you are suffering from digestive problems the last thing you want to do is compound the problem by not drinking enough water.
Hunger or Thirst?
Many people confuse being thirsty with the feeling of being hungry. Aside from being a major contributor to weight gain, this can have a very negative effects on your appearance.
The internal mechanisms that trigger thirst in your body are similar to the ones that trigger hunger. With junk foods so addictive these days, it’s not hard to see why you might reach for a salty snack instead of a glass of water.
All that salt draws fluids out of your cells and increases dehydration even more within your body. You finally get thirsty, but a soda seems more appealing than water, so you flood your system with excessive amounts of sugar, which also stimulates more hunger. And so it goes on.
The best way to break this vicious cycle and get the water your body needs to operate at its best is to follow a basic, yet powerful rule — the Drink Water First rule.
The Drink Water First Rule
The key to increasing your water intake is to use your hunger, not initially as a signal to eat, but as a signal to drink more water.
To follow the Drink Water First rule simply make a pact with yourself to always have a glass of water before you eat — no exceptions.
The Drink Water First rule is so simple that many people discount it. If you want a healthier digestive system, a slimmer waistline and a higher level of wellness and wellbeing then you won’t be one of them.
Let’s look at what makes this rule so powerful and why drinking water just before a meal is the best time to hydrate your body.
3 Reasons to Drink Water Before a Meal
1. Reduces Your Hunger
The first reason is that it’s very likely that you are actually thirsty rather than hungry.
By drinking a big glass of water just before you eat you can satisfy that thirst and feel much less like overeating in the following meal.
Once they implement this rule in their lives, many people find they naturally lose weight, even without deliberately dieting. They’re just not as hungry as they used to be.
The Drink Water First rule helps to reduce snacking as well.
By having a glass of water first, before reaching for a snack, you’ll often find you don’t need it after all. It was just misplaced thirst and you feel fine after drinking your water.
This study found that drinking water before a meal for 12 weeks resulted in significant weight loss in overweight people. The researchers praised the simplicity of this method and said it had the potential to make a real contribution to public health.
2. Improves Digestive Function
Drinking a big glass of water right before a meal is also a great way to improve assimilation of your food. It prepares your gastrointestinal tract for the meal to come and enhances gastric secretions for proper nutrient breakdown.
Importantly, you’ll be much less likely to drink large amounts of liquid during or just after your meal as well. Drinking beverages during a meal generally isn’t recommended as it can dilute stomach acid and impair digestive processes.
3. Make it a Habit
By always following the Drink Water First rule you are getting into the habit of drinking the water you need each day on autopilot.
This is very beneficial as dehydration can quickly catch up with a person who doesn’t have a strategy like this for remembering to drink water regularly.
Once you make this a strong habit you won’t have to remember to have water when you’re busy or wonder whether you’re really hungry or just thirsty. If you feel either hunger or thirst then you always have a big glass of water first.
4 Ways to Enhance Your Water
If you don’t like plain water then try these 4 tips to change the taste and improve its cleansing effects even more.
1. Make Lemon Water in the Morning
Squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon and add it to a glass of water. This simple beverage is a potent detoxifier with many beneficial nutrients.
The best time to have your lemon water is first thing in the morning, soon after you wake up and before you eat.
Combining this morning ritual with the Drink Water First rule can make a real improvement, both the way you look and the way you feel, in a few short weeks.
2. Have Apple Cider Vinegar in Water Before Meals
Raw apple cider vinegar is an excellent digestive aid and is full of many nutritional compounds. It can do wonders for your skin and is also helpful for reducing hunger and promoting higher metabolism for natural weight loss.
Add a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar with the mother like this to a big glass of water before every meal of the day and drink it all before eating any food.
3. Replace Soda with Fruit Concentrate and Sparkling Water
For those who find it hard to kick the soda or sugary drink habit, try this similar tasting but much healthier soda alternative.
First get a bottle of sparkling water and one of these superfruit concentrates on Amazon. Mix the two in a glass with ice for a great tasting replacement to fattening soda that does your body good.
4. Revitalize Your Water with Trace Mineral Drops
Throughout the centuries, drinking water from natural sources like streams has been one of the primary ways that humans receive minerals, particularly difficult to get trace minerals. Modern water supplies remove these but there is an easy way to put them back in.
ConcenTrace mineral drops, derived from the great salt lake of Utah, are concentrated ionic minerals with the sodium removed. It’s a rich source of vital magnesium, but also contains 72 ionically-charged trace minerals that are highly soluble in water.
These trace minerals are needed for your body to run at its best and many people report an increase in their energy levels when they start taking ionic minerals in their water each day.
In the morning and before bed is the best time to take trace minerals. They are also particularly good after exercise to replenish lost mineral stores.
Why You Should Always Drink Before Not During a Meal
If you’re thirsty, it’s best to drink before eating. Saliva should be what moistens the food in our mouth. Washing each mouthful you eat down with a drink minimizes its important functions.
Too much liquid taken into the stomach during a meal also dilutes the digestive juices that are supposed to be working on breaking down the food.
Drinks, and high liquid foods like watermelon, should be had before meals, not with them. They can then pass quickly through your stomach, rather than getting trapped with the digesting food and messing up the whole process.
A small amount of water or a healthy herbal tea, like peppermint or fennel, with a meal is probably fine. But gulping down a super sized soda or large processed juice is highly likely to impair digestion and lead to intestinal issues later on.
Drinking plenty of water between meals, before and at least an hour (preferably two) after, is good for digestion, and therefore for preventing belly bloat and flatulence.
It can also help you to eat less and lose excess weight, as many of us confuse dehydration with hunger.
If it’s not time for a meal but you feel like a snack, try a big glass of water first. It’s very possible you were just thirsty rather than hungry.
Start Drinking More Water for Better Digestion Today
The Drink Water First rule is a simple yet very healthy habit to get into. I’d highly recommend starting it today, before your very next meal.
Get a water pitcher, preferably with a special filter to remove toxins like this, and a favorite glass and keep them on the kitchen table or on your desk at work. Make sure they are highly visible and much easier to reach for than snacks or sugary drinks.
Really focus on following the Drink Water First rule and having a big glass of water before each meal for the next 2 weeks.
Before long you’ll find drinking more water becomes a natural habit, and one that can have a dramatic effect on how good you look and feel each day.