Our busy schedules dictate our daily lives: school, work, lessons, sports trainings, family obligations etc.
These habits and routines make our life seem safe and normal, but we don’t even realize that some of them are bad for our health. They can affect our general health in many ways from our digestion and energy levels to even hormonal balance.
Digestion is an area that greatly impacts every aspect of our health, so it is very important that we address this issue first. When the digestion is thrown off balance, the body can’t absorb the nutrients properly, we get the feeling of sluggishness and tiredness, and in many cases we cannot get through the day in the way that we liked.
There are many things that can impact our digestion, and what we do before or after the meals can have the biggest impact on how well our body can process the food. By making these tiny changes, you will feel much, much better.
Four things you shouldn’t do after eating
- Sleep immediately after eating
You may prefer that you take a long nap right after a big meal, but you should know that this is a very bad habit and you may want to reconsider in the future. According to a study that was conducted in Greece, those who went to bed right after eating had a higher risk of having a stroke than those who didn’t. Those who waited an hour after the meal reduced their chances of stroke by 2/3, and those who waited additional 20 minutes lowered their risk by another 10%.
There are a couple of reasons why this may be happening. The first reason is that sleeping right after eating can increase the risk of acid reflux. This is associated with sleep apnea, and this in turn is a significant risk factor for a stroke.
Other reasons are the changes of cholesterol and blood sugar levels in your body.
The conclusion here is that you should wait for the food to be digested, before going to sleep, because this habit will significantly lower the risk of some bigger issues like stroke.
- Drink tea after a meal
Even though there are some evidence suggesting that teas help with the process of digestion, there is a downside to it. Drinks like black teas, coffee, cocoa, green teas and herbal teas, prevent your body from absorbing iron. The reason for that is because these drinks contain large amounts of polyphenolic compounds. These compounds are very good for the human body, but not immediately after a large meal, because they prevent the absorption of iron. Iron deficiency is very common nutrient deficiency in women that live in North America.
Herbal teas are still a better choice than coffee or black tea and some teas like ginger, peppermint or fennel can help with the digestion process.
The bottom line here is that you should avoid coffee and teas immediately after meals, because they prevent iron absorption and they are generally bad for the digestion process. If you want to have tea or coffee, at least wait for half an hour after the meal.
- Workout after eating
Our parent always told us not to swim immediately after lunch, and there is a good reason for it. This habit puts you in danger of developing cramps and it can affect the quality of your digestion.
In order to digest the food, the digestive tract needs a large amount of blood flow. When exercising, the body directs 80% of your blood flow in the working muscles. When you decide to workout immediately after your meal, the working muscles and your digestive tract compete with each other for blood flow, which in turn decreases the quality of both digestion and training.
The working muscles will also use the sugars from the meal that you have just ingested, instead of taking energy from your body’s reserves. Please remember that all of this does not mean that you should workout on an empty stomach.
The conclusion here is that you should wait at least 60 minutes after you have eaten, to start with your exercise. This will help you get the most out of your workout and digestion, and will also prevent camps.
- Smoke after a meal
Smoking is a terrible habit that severely damages our health. The reasons why you should stop smoking are overwhelming, but if you smoke immediately after a meal, the cigarette takes away most of the nutrition. Smoking is connected with lower vegetable and fruit intakes and it also affects the usage of many minerals and vitamins. Smoking decreases the levels of antioxidants in the body and it robs it of vitamin C. This is the reason why smoking causes cancer, because it takes away the body’s natural defenses against the free-radicals.
Cigarettes also affect vitamin D absorption, which is connected with the proper absorption of calcium. This can lead to osteoporosis.
In short, smoking is a dangerous habit that you should get rid of. It affects the ability of your body to absorb nutrients and it leads to terrible diseases and conditions.