Every food we take in is crucial for our overall heath but also of utmost importance are the things we do afterwards. Many people have developed very bad and unhealthy after-meal habits, and one of the most difficult thing for anyone to do is to change a habit. Most people have come to accept some of these dangerous habits as normal because its consequences are slow in coming. For most people, an after lunch-siesta is difficult to resist. For others, it is an after-meal cup of tea/coffee or some fruits which they believe will help in the digestive process. Some other folks would prefer to smoke a stick of cigarette or two immediately after a meal. But no matter how enjoyable and mentally satisfying these habits may seem, they harm our body and hence should be avoided.
Plus, if you want to improve your health and avoid unnecessary fat (obesity), try to wait at least half an hour to one hour before you do the following ten things after a meal:
1. It’s not a good idea to “stroll” after a meal
There is a an opinion that “taking a little stroll” after a meal will lengthen and refresh your life. Even as this is true, the timing is very important. Taking a walk immediately after eating will, instead of prolong your life, cut it short due to indigestion and stomach upsets. It can also result in acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, taking a 10-minute walk about half an hour after food is very good for the body as it is a good way to burn energy. Again, it will help you sleep faster and deeper. The point to note is the best time to walk.
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2. Never rush to the shower after a meal
I think the emphasis here is on the kind of water. A warm bath before or immediately after a good meal is a no no and here is why. When you eat, the stomach requires a good amount of blood for digestion process to properly occur. But a warm bath reduces the amount of blood available to the stomach because it raises the temperature of our body and in order to cool the body there is more blood flow near the skin to allow the heat to be released. So to be on the safe side, wait about half an hour after your meal before going into the bathroom to shower.
3. The habit of loosening the belt before or after a meal, may be wrong
Even though there is no known body defect or disease associated with loosening your belt after eating, I don’t think there is a side-effect worst than obesity…yes! This is what you may be toying with if you loosen your belt before or after eating. It creates more room for more food which is not healthy. There is a popular saying that says “one should always leave the dining table with a half-full stomach.” This is true and your tightened belt helps you do that. so the advice is: eat only to the extent that you can be comfortable without loosening your belt.
4. Avoid cold water after a meal
The reason is very simple: Ice water does not let the food digest properly because it causes clumping of food. Hot/warm water helps absorb nutrients better.
5. Eat your fruits before, not after a meal
Most fruits contain simple sugars hence, they are easily digested and are broken down in the intestine. Because fruits reach the intestines faster that food, eating them within an hour after a meal will make them get stuck in the stomach for longer periods and as such, “spoiling” the food and nullifying the fruits nutritional value. This can also cause bloating and GI distress. And even though, it is almost a normal thing in most homes to serve fruits right after a meal as a dessert, it is not a good thing for the health. The best time to have your fruits is as an appetizer before breakfast. This way, the body can best harness all the nutrients in the fruits and get enough energy that will be put to good use throughout the day.
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6. Never drink tea or coffee immediately after a meal
There are persons so addicted to tea and coffee that they will always use it as water after every meal, if not, they feel like they did not eat or that the food will not digest. But even though tea/coffee have tremendous benefits which may include reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease to putting off diabetes and providing anti-oxidants that will help your body fight aging, nutrition experts say it’s not good to be taken after a meal. This is because tea/coffee contains substances that can absorb the essence of your food. Polyphenols and tannins found in tea/coffee can inhibit iron absorption by binding the iron in the foods, which can lead to iron deficiency or anemia. Tea/coffee also has high acidic content which will cause the protein in the food to be hardened and so, difficult to digest. So, for “tea addicts,” drink your tea at least an hour after the meal.
7. Never smoke after a meal
A stick of cigarette contains sickening ingredients like nicotine, hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, tar, ammonia and as many as 60 carcinogens. Smoking a cigarette right after your meal is equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes which worsens the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), increases the risk of lung cancer, emphysema (a lung disease that causes shortness of breath), ulcerative colitis (a stomach ulcer) and other type of cancer associated with smoking. It also has a bad effect on muscles of the colon.
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8. Dancing immediately after eating is a no no
It is as it is. You don’t need a lecture on that. Moving or dancing too much after your meal will make it tough to absorb the nutrients in the intestine. You may even throw up or suffer a stomach upset or puffiness. So, no matter how “interesting” the next music that comes on is or how itchy your legs are, take some rest, maybe for an hour, before you step on the dance floor.
9. Never go to bed after a meal
I wonder who is not guilty of this. picture a perfect scenario. You come back from work (or wherever), so hungry and very exhausted. You managed to get to the kitchen, then to the fridge and you ‘down’ a bottle of mineral (or water). Then you gain some energy to put your food in the microwave, get to the room and get your clothes off. You now probably have your bath (because you have read on Buzz Nigeria that you should not bathe after a meal). The next thing is, you rush to the microwave, get the food out, bring it to the room (not dining) and descend on it. And as soon as you are done, you fall back on the bed and…off you go. Familiar, right?
This is certainly not good for health because as you lie down, there is excessive pressure put on the diaphragm because of the food that is still in the stomach this causes snoring and even sleep apnea. Also, some amount of digestive juices from the stomach which are acidic in nature, flows back to the esophagus because of the body posture and burns the inner layer. It also leads to obesity. So you should be disciplined enough to stay up for at least two hours after your meal before you sleep.
10. Lastly, never go to the gym (exercise) after a meal
It will be utter foolishness to hit the gym immediately after a meal as that will be counterproductive to the body. As in the case with dancing (as mentioned above), it may result in vomiting, puffiness, nausea, etc.