Water is absolutely essential for good health. Water helps to break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients. Drinking water before meals is necessary for good digestion.
There is a hypothesis going around that drinking water before or while you eat dilutes digestive juices. This, in turn, allegedly interferes with the normal breakdown of food, impairing nutrient absorption.
I did my own research into the issue and found it is “totally a lie”.
The argument against drinking water with meals seems to be logical, but it is actually based on faulty assumptions of how the body works.
How Digestive process works?
Let’s check our digestive process: Digestion starts in the mouth where the meal is chewed and softened by the enzymes in saliva. The food then enters the stomach, where it is broken down by gastric juices.
The resulting mixture then moves into the small intestine, where it is combined with bile acids and enzymes. About 75 percent of nutrients are absorbed in this stage.
The small intestine is an organ in the gastrointestinal tract where most of the end absorption of nutrients and minerals from food takes place. This process takes less than 72 hours.
Does water really dilute the digestive juices?
Yes, drinking a few liters before a meal will certainly change the pH of the stomach by a small amount. However, since our stomach is very acidic, drinking water before or during meals will not dilute it significantly.
Also, there are systems in place that send signals to the stomach when its acidity changes, and it consequently starts producing more acid to maintain its normal pH level.
How does water help in digestion?
Our stomach contains hydrochloric acid. This is a highly corrosive substance, meant to protect against harmful bacteria.
A thick and wet mucous layer forms a protective shield for stomach walls against this acid. Without a protective mucous layer, the stomach could be digested by its own juices.
This effective mechanism depends on one thing: water. Without it, our mucous membrane dries out and acid can puncture the protective wall. If this happens, a stomach ulcer is formed.
Bacteria, that dwell in our intestines can easily infect the ulcer. Our stomach secretes up to 1.5 liters of gastric juices daily.
Drinking adequate amounts of water provides sufficient fluid for gastric juices.
Does water prevent constipation thus reducing the chances of hemorrhoids?
Water will prevent chronic constipation only if dehydrated.
However, a daily fiber intake of 30 g can increase stool frequency in people with chronic constipation, and this effect can be significantly boosted by increasing water intake to 2.0 liter/day.
I tested myself by drinking water before meals and it significantly increased my digestion and I felt more energetic.
I think you should check yourself by drinking water with meals.