Did you know that drinking more water can improve your digestion? Here are some suprising reason why! Making sure you’re well hydrated is actually a simple way to take care of your gut health.
Saliva and stomach acid
When you’re dehydrated you make less saliva. That’s not a good start of the digestive process. There are enzymes in your saliva that start the breakdown of sugars and starches. And saliva helps the food glide down easily down the esophagus.
And as you probably know by now from my previous posts here and here it’s important that your stomach acid is really acidic. Well, your body actually needs water to produce that stomach acid at the proper pH. And I mean water in the body, so not water in the stomach. So when you don’t drink enough water you can’t make enough stomach acid and that affects how well you break down your food.
On top of that the mucus lining of the stomach needs water to be thick, plush and mucousy. When you don’t drink enough that mucus lining – that protects your stomach against the acid! – can become thinner. The result: you’re more susceptible to stomach ulcers.
The small intestine also has a mucus lining and dehydration can com promise that lining. And you want that lining to be healthy because it is your barrier against toxins, bacteria and undigested foods. Once that lining is compromised for some time you can start to have leaky gut and the immune system issues that come with it.
You also want to be fully hydrated if you want to make sure your large intestine works well. Those important and beneficial bacteria in your gut need some water too. Plus: when you’re dehydrated the body will extract water from the colon. With the water it also extracts the toxins you want to get rid of. Yikes! It leads also to hard and dry stools and constipation.
How much to drink?
How much you need to drink is not the same for everyone. You obviously need more when you exercise, when it’s hot and when you’re overweight. Here are some general guidelines:
- About 2 litres = 8 glasses a day.
- Urine is pale, no strong colour
- Mainly water
- Can be herbal tea, water with lemon
- Fruit juices, energy drinks, fizzy drinks, coffee or black tea don’t count
Some drink-more-water tricks
If you are one of the many people who forget to drink water – or doesn’t like it! – one or more of these tricks can help:
- Invest in a water filter and a water bottle – steel is best
- Start the day with a big glass of warm water
- Use an app to track your water intake
- Leave a jug of water in sight
- Use the reminders on your phone
- Add some cucumber, lemon, orange slices to your water
- Drink it hot, sparkly or (ice) cold
- Make a herbal tea: use fresh mint, lemon, ginger
Are you struggling with gas, bloating, acid reflux, diarrhea or constipation? Those are red flags that your gut needs some attention. I can help you with that in different ways. Just book a free 30 minute call with me so I can hear a bit more and share what working together can look like. You can book yourself in or send me a message here