We're all pretty set in our ways. Whether it's propping our feet up the second we get home from work, or taking a hot bath right after our evening meal, we all have certain habits that bring us joy.
What we don't know, however, is that many of these daily habits may cause our bodies harm in very subtle ways — like our delicate digestive system, which needs particular care to keep healthy.
In an exclusive look below, we consult research featured on Health Xchange and done by PositiveMed, and evaluate some of the key things you absolutely should not do right after eating a meal.
Many of these actions could take heat and energy away from your stomach, and as a result, slow down the process of digestion, causing you problems in the future.
Scroll further to see which things you've hopefully been doing right, and what things you should ideally avoid doing after a meal.
Do you do any of these after a meal? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments section below!
BAD: Going out for a stroll
Most people believe that taking a walk after directly eating may help get the stomach juices flowing and aid digestion.
However, the reality is quite the opposite. Activities like walking after a meal can produce acid reflux and indigestion.
Walking is a good way to burn energy, though. Ideally, you should not walk for more than 10 minutes, and only begin walking at least 30 minutes after you've finished eating.
BAD: Eating fruit
Many people go on to eat fruit right after they finish their meal. It turns out, there is an appropriate time to eat fruits.
It's good to know that almost all fruits are easily digested because they contain simple sugars. However, when you eat fruits right after a meal, the fruit can't pass swiftly along into the intestine to be digested.
Instead, it will be "stuck" together with the contents of your meal. That's why you really shouldn't eat any fruit within the first hour after finishing your meal.
BAD: Drinking tea
Many teas have strong anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties that greatly benefit our health.
However, many nutritionists don't recommend ingesting either of these drinks after eating.
Tea contains something called polyphenols and tannins, components that bind the iron in plant foods. This makes it slightly harder for us to absorb any iron that may have been in our meals.
That's why you should ideally start drinking tea at least an hour after finishing up your meal. Pay attention if you are iron-deficient!
BAD: Taking a nap
Many people probably already know this one, but there's no harm in reiterating: laying down to sleep right after eating is bad for you, because a small amount of the digestive juices will flow back up from the stomach and into your food pipe.
Because the juices are acidic by nature, they will burn the inner layer of your food pipe. This is why some people experience a light burning sensation when they lay down right after finishing their meal.
To avoid this, only start sleeping at least two hours after you've had your meal.
BAD: Taking a bath
When we take a warm shower or bath, the temperature in our body rises. In order to lower this temperature, our bodies pump more blood outward toward the surface of our skin, in order for the heat to be released.
As a result, the blood and energy that would otherwise have been used by the stomach to digest our food, is not being properly used.
Ideally, only start showering after waiting for 30 minutes.
For many, smoking has become a communal activity after meals. Meaning, you'll have a cigarette with your friends, coworkers, or family only after having a meal.
And though the primary risks involved with smoking include cancer and emphysema (which causes shortness of breath), it has also been known to really worsen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and to cause stomach ulcers.
Smoking also negatively affects the muscles of the colon, or the large intestine, which is the last part of the digestive system.
GOOD: Drinking warm water
For the first hour immediately after you've eaten a meal, your stomach will need blood, energy, and heat to break down the food into molecules, to past along for digestion.
Therefore, it would be wise to not spend your energy doing any other activities that would potentially disturb this process.
Ideally, you should avoid all cold foods, like ice cream and cold water. This will "kill" the heat in your stomach, and the acidic reactions that go into digestion.
GOOD: Chatting with family or friends
To preserve a good rate of blood flow in your body, and not to disturb digestion, avoid physically and mentally strenuous activities.
What you can do is have a light, mild conversation with your family or friends. This shouldn't be strenuous or rigorous at all, and therefore won't negatively affect digestion in your body.
GOOD: Wearing loose clothes
In order to prevent gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), avoid wearing tight clothing, belts, or anything that would potentially constrict your stomach and waist.
It's good to remember to wear loose-fitting clothes both before and after you eat a meal.
Did you learn something new about the things you shouldn't do directly after eating a meal?
Let us know in the comments, and please SHARE these tips to remember with family and friends!
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