Certain myths about activities that aid and prevent digestion have been doing the rounds since decades – while some are undoubtedly little more than old wives’ tales, there is a certain amount of truth to some warnings about activities that need to be avoided after a meal.
DO NOT go to sleep or take a nap immediately after eating. A heavy meal can have an irresistibly soporific effect on the human body, and you may be tempted to take a short nap. However, sleeping immediately after a meal can cause gastric problems and infections in the intestine, as the body is not given the opportunity to digest the food properly. In addition, sleeping right after eating can lead to irregular heartbeat, and obesity.
DO NOT indulge in exercise, post-meal. Strenuous activity, or even simply walking about after a meal, can be harmful for the body, as the energy that the stomach requires to digest the food is diverted to the physical activity taking place. It also renders the body powerless to absorb any nutrition from the food that has just been consumed.
DO NOT smoke after eating. While smoking is bad enough as it is, it can be ten times worse if done immediately after a meal. After eating, the body’s absorption rate is higher than normal, and the bad effects of any tobacco (nicotine) that is inhaled are heightened, increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Wait around an hour after a meal before you light up, or better still, quit altogether.
DO NOT take a shower right after a meal. One of the most popular myths about things to avoid after eating, there is actually some truth in the warning to refrain from bathing directly after eating. After a meal, the body’s digestive system requires a regular blood flow, to break down the food that has been consumed. However, a shower, especially a warm one, can divert the blood flow to the hands, feet, and the remainder of the body, leaving the digestive system to take a hit.
DO NOT ease any pressure or strain you might be feeling near the waistband area. Popular theory is that this causes the intestine to become twisted and blocked – while this is false, it is advisable to refrain from loosening your belt, or changing into more comfortable clothes after a meal. The tightness and pressure will remind you that you have eaten enough, and will effectively keep you from overeating.