Is it bad to shower after eating?
You have just finished eating a delicious meal and the next thing on your mind is to retire for the night but you really wish to have a long, relaxing shower. Well, this may not be possible as you may have been told that showering after eating is not good for you.
Have you ever wondered why it is bad for you to shower after eating. It is true that this is bad for your health as there may be complications like stomach cramps and indigestion because of how the body works. Read on to understand the reason why it is bad to shower after eating.
WHY IS IT BAD TO SHOWER AFTER EATING?
There is no straightforward answer to this question. When you eat, your body’s temperature is slightly increased. You will be gentle warmth in your body after eating, that is your body directing the increased blood flow to your digestive organs. This means that any time you put food into your mouth and start chewing, the saliva starts to work on the food by breaking it down. The food passes through the esophagus down to the stomach where acid dilutes the food.
This process is very important, as it breaks down the food and prepare the content of the stomach to enter into the intestines for the nutrients to be absorbed. After eating, you will feel your lower abdomen being warm, this is caused by the natural process the body goes through during digestion
Taking a shower or bath anytime can cause your body to go through a process known as hyperthermic action, this is stimulated by your body. Hyperthermic action causes your internal body temperature to rise by a degree or two. This process is good for your body.
A study published by the National Institute of Health in 2018 listed some of the benefits of hyperthermic action to the body:
- Supplying of more oxygen and nutrients to the periphery
- Increase blood flow
- Induce vasodilatation (dilation of blood vessels)
- Stimulate the immune system
- Keep the nervous system relaxed
- Stimulate the sweat glands to get rid of toxins.
Having a shower can increase the rate of your heart and this makes you to feel uncomfortable when you have a full stomach. Based on reports or testimonies, many people said taking a shower or bathing after eating makes the body to be confused because instead of the increased blood flow being directed to your digestive organs, your body will be going through hyperthermic action causes by the water.
Based on theories, the confusion will slow down and disrupt your body’s digestive process thereby leading to sluggishness. The brain will want to send signals to cool the temperature, the warmth from the digestion process will be interrupted. The flow of blood directed to the stomach to help digest food will be interrupted as it will now be redirected to the other parts of the body to regulate temperature.
This pressurizes the body and can trigger heartburn and cramps. Currently, there is no conclusive scientific evidence to back up this theory. However, it is important to avoid taking a shower after eating or try considering the food you have eaten before deciding if you will shower or not.
Eating food that has much protein, heavy fiber content, lots of fat, or refined carbohydrates may cause your stomach to bloat during the digestion process. This creates a situation that does not only put pressure on your chest but also cause heartburn and stomach cramps. Also, if the theory of eating heavy foods and causing digestive problems is true, then you may have to take a shower after eating light food like salad, fruits and broth.
EFFECTS OF SHOWERING AFTER EATING MEALS
From the above explanation, the effects of showering after eating include:
- Sluggishness in the body
- Increase in body temperature by 1 or 2 degrees
- Bloating of the body
- Pressure on the chest
- Increase in the risk of having cramps and heartburn
- Disruption of the body’s digestive process
CAN YOU TAKE A COLD SHOWER AFTER EATING?
When we talk about showering after eating, there is no specific temperature. But, if you must really shower after eating, then it is advisable you take use cold or lukewarm water instead of using hot shower.
Cold shower does not increase the body’s core temperature nor will it redirect blood flow from your digestive organs. Also cold shower can quickly improve your metabolism and help you to burn more fat from the food you just ate. However, this does not cancel out the fact that there may be digestive issues and a little pain but immune problems or diseases can be prevented.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU WAIT TO TAKE A BATH OR SHOWER AFTER EATING?
If you are worried about disrupting your body’s digestive process and causing effects like heartburn, cramps and pressure on the chest, you will have to wait for some time before you take that long and relaxing shower. You are expected to wait for 20 minutes after eating before taking a shower, this is because it can interrupt your body’s natural digestive process.
During the winter season when taking warm shower is common, you can take the shower half an hour early to be safe. The exact time to wait before showering is not definite and cannot be distinguished as there are different rate of digestion for different people.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD YOU AVOID AROUND AFTER EATING
1. Brushing your Teeth
You are advised to brush your teeth twice in a day – morning and night but there is no specific time to do the brushing. However, you should not brush your teeth after you have eaten. This is because brushing can cover your enamel with leftover of the acidic food and makes the teeth weak. So, brushing can be bad for your teeth immediately after you finish eating.
After eating ,you are expected to wait for 30 minutes or an hour before brushing so as to protect your teeth and not tamper with your enamel. According to the American Dental Association, you should wait for 60 minutes after eating before you brush.
Currently, there is not a lot of evidences to support the claim or suggest that you need to wait after eating before you swim especially if the swimming is casual. Swimming in cold water does not increase your heart rate, also the body’s core temperature is not increased rather it is brought down. There is a much volume of blood in your body to digest the food you have eaten and also support swimming at the same time.
There is a hot debate if it is good to exercise after eating. Exercising or working out after you have finished eating can help to improve your performance during workout or exercise. However, it is not advisable to hit the gym immediately after eating food especially if there is lot of calories. It is recommended that you wait for at least 45 minutes after eating a heavy meal before you work out, this is very important for your digestion.
Another hot debate is if you should sleep after eating. Lying down after eating is not good for you as it can affect the lining of your esophagus. You should allow your body to digest the food properly, move the food to the intestines before you sleep. This will also help to avoid or prevent acid reflux from the stomach to the intestines.
Most people who smoke cigarettes like to do it after eating, this is very dangerous as you are damaging your whole body. Smoking a cigarette after eating is like smoking 10 cigarettes at a time. Smoking irritates the intestines and disrupts the activity of oxygen in the blood, remember the blood helps in the digestive process.
Drinking tea after eating, especially dinner will impede or obstruct the digestion of food. Tea has a chemical property on as tannin and this interferes with the absorption of iron. You can wait for few minutes after eating before you take tea.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE EATING
1. Drink Water
It is recommended that you drink a glass of lukewarm water, this will help your body to digest the food properly and also prevent overeating.
2. Wear Loose and Comfortable Clothes
Wearing tight fitted and uncomfortable clothes can put pressure on the abdomen and cause swallowed food to come up again in your mouth (regurgitation) thereby leading to heartburn. So, you should wear loose and comfortable clothes while eating.
3. Do not Wear a Tight Belt
Wearing a tight belt is not advisable especially when eating, you should make sure the belt is not tight. This is because tight belt can narrow your stomach and cause digestion problems. It is better you do not wear a belt at all while eating than to wear a tight one.
Showering after eating is not recommended as there are effects like heartburn, cramps and pressure on the chest. Showering after eating interrupts with the body’s natural digestive process and cooling of the temperature. Allow your body to be for 30 to an hour after eating before you shower. If you must shower after eating, use lukewarm or hot water.