Water is important for most stages of digestion. If you don’t drink enough water during the day you might notice some digestive side effects like constipation.
Stages of digestion
The process of digestion begins as soon as food enters your mouth. The saliva you produce is a digestive juice which helps to moisten and soften the food, so it can travel down your oesophagus easily to the stomach. Although it contains important substances to help break down food, 98% of saliva is made of water.
Once food enters the stomach, gastric acid, water and digestive enzymes are released to help make chyme (food mixed with gastric juices).
The chyme then moves to your small intestine where pancreatic digestive enzymes and bile help break it down further. Nutrients from the food are then absorbed into your bloodstream via the small intestine.
What is left carries on to your large intestine or colon where the remainder of nutrients are absorbed and the leftover material is excreted as faeces. The process can take anywhere between 24 and 48 hours to be completed.
The role of water
Water is a major component throughout digestion, and so, it is important to stay adequately hydrated. If we do not take on enough water then it can result in our stools being hard and difficult to pass resulting in pain and discomfort.
Some research shows that drinking water before or during meals can help to keep digestion smooth, help to fill you up and keep you hydrated.
It could prevent excess calorie intake
A study carried out in the US in 2010 found that people trying to lose weight lost an average of 5lb more if they drank 2 glasses of water before a meal, 3 times per day. The beauty of water is it has no calories, unlike other drinks. So, you can drink water and it can make you feel full but you’ve taken in no calories.
Water, therefore, fills your stomach with liquid so you feel full. Plus, unlike other popular beverages, water also has no sugar and is much better for your health. Although, drinking too much water can also be dangerous, using your Hydratem8 tracker bottle is a great way to make sure you are taking in enough water and also makes it easier to monitor just how much you are drinking.
Water is an important part of our digestive process from breaking down the food the moment it enters our mouth to helping it pass out of our bodies with as little discomfort as possible. Constipation is often caused by not drinking enough fluids and therefore, increasing your water intake (and avoiding alcohol) can help make toileting more comfortable.
Equally, if you’re trying to lose weight or want to avoid taking on extra calories try drinking 1-2 glasses of water. We often mistake being hungry for being thirsty, so quenching your thirst will help to establish which you are feeling.